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Photo: Topias Dean/Sitra

Published March 12, 2019

Public procurement to accelerate the circular economy

Sustainable use of public funding calls for taking account of the circular economy in public procurement. The KEINO Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement provides public organisations with tools to do this.

Challenge

Public organisations make acquisitions amounting to billions of euros every year. Instead of selecting the cheapest alternative, procurement should be steered to alternatives that are the most sustainable and effective from a societal perspective. At the same time, enterprises need opportunities to show their circular economy competence, and reference projects would help them expand their business.

Solution

Circular economy targets should be more strongly included in public procurement, which would also create demand for new circular economy solutions. There are many ways to promote public procurement in line with the circular economy. The invitation to tender can set minimum requirements for the procurement that the tender must meet. Life-cycle cost analysis can be used instead of price analysis if clear life-cycle-based calculation criteria exist for the procurement in question. Market dialogue makes it possible for enterprises providing novel solutions to discuss with the procurement units, such as towns, about how the tendering process should be implemented to enable the acquisition of the most sustainable and effective alternative.

KEINO Competence Centre (Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement), established in 2018, supports public organisations in the promotion of sustainable and effective public procurement. For example, KEINO sets up groups of developers to promote circular economy goals with the aim of accelerating the generation of concrete acquisitions and the scaling up of best practices. KEINO also strives to encourage organisations to more often see public procurement as a tool for promoting their strategic goals.

Who, what, what else?

Key players: central government, municipalities and cities, enterprises
Case types: Public procurement
Implementers: KEINO, central governments, towns, enterprises
Timetable: 2018–

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