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Circular Procurement

How can procurers respond to the climate emergency?

Scotland’s huge consumption habit is a major cause of the carbon emissions driving the climate emergency.

80% of Scotland’s carbon footprint is caused by the goods and materials which we produce, consume and often waste.

That means that it is vital that all businesses, organisations, and consumers across Scotland change the way they live and work to become sustainable.

As a public body or private firm responding to the climate emergency, one of the most effective things you can do is reduce your organisation’s consumption of new resources.

The Scottish public and private sector are collectively estimated to spend just over £100 billion each year on products and services.

Around 10% is public sector spending, which across Scotland amounts to about £11 billion (10% of the Scottish GDP) annually.*

Why change to a circular economy model?

Switching to a circular economy is a key part of the solution to the climate emergency. Some studies estimate that making this shift could eradicate almost 20% of Scotland’s carbon footprint by 2050.

Traditionally, we have followed a linear economy of ‘make, use, bin’ which produces a vast amount of waste. A circular economy is one where products, services, and systems are designed to maximise the lifespan of goods and materials to get the most value from our limited resources. Everyday items are first reused then repaired, before being remanufactured and finally recycled to keep them in use for as long as possible.

How can you change the way goods and services are procured and support the transition to a circular economy in Scotland?

Procurement enables and defines how we demand products and services. Changing market demand through integrating circular principles supports innovation and underpins investment within the private sector to create new business models and products. Zero Waste Scotland has estimated that transitioning from a linear to a circular economy could save Scottish businesses at least £3 billion a year. The financial benefits include the competitive edge gained by providing goods as services instead of merely selling them, allowing firms to form valuable, longer-lasting relationships with customers.

What is circular procurement?

Circular procurement is the use of purchasing power to achieve maximum positive ecological, social, and economic impact throughout the life span of products and services. It is a process where you buy change – you look for solutions to the ever-changing, and often temporary, needs of users within the organisation. Instead of always throwing away and replacing, you try dynamic and adaptable products and solutions. Maximum retention of the value of the products, components and materials to be purchased is central to this.

The term ‘Circular Procurement’ is an extension of existing sustainable procurement practices. Circular procurement extends beyond ‘traditional’ sustainable procurement by actively contributing to closing energy and material loops within supply chains, while minimising  any negative environmental impact or waste creation across their whole life cycle.

The principles of circular procurement can be summarised using a Circular Procurement Hierarchy, based on the waste hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover.

What is ProCirc?

Zero Waste Scotland is a key partner in a transnational circular economy procurement project called ProCirc. This three-year project is part-funded by the eco-innovation strand of the European Union North Sea Region Interreg Programme.

Zero Waste Scotland is one of the 11 partners across Europe who’ll work together to scale up the development of circular business models, products, and services through implementing changes to public and private procurement. Lessons learnt from the project will be adopted into mainstream practice internationally.

What does this mean for Scotland?

The Interreg programme provides a Circular Procurement Mentoring Support programme for public and private organisations within eligible areas in Scotland, to help identify and procure products and services that could benefit from a circular approach. See here for areas: www.northsearegion.eu/about-the-programme/background/programme-area

Support focuses on product and service categories previously identified as having the greatest environmental and social benefits from circular buying:

  • Furniture
  • Textiles
  • Construction
  • Infrastructure
  • ICT
  • Common single-use items.

How can your business or organisation get involved?

Starting in January 2020, Zero Waste Scotland will be hosting events for buyers and suppliers in both the public and private sectors to learn more about how ProCirc can help them procure goods and services sustainably to combat the climate emergency.

If you are interested in finding out more, please click here to join our mailing list.

Also, you can contact the ProCirc project manager:

Spela Raposa | Circular Procurement Project Manager
Mobile 07813 992302
Email: Spela.Raposa@zerowastescotland.org.uk

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