Effect reporting is important to show your internal organisation that circular procurement is a sensible thing to do, and that it has impact. You report on the effects based on your definition of the circular economy and your ambitions in this regard. If they see the effects, people become aware of the impact of their efforts, which will motivate them even more to apply circular principles. Mapping the effects can also provide new insights, for instance which product groups have a high sustainability impact.
Once a circular procurement project is completed you should, therefore, try to make clear what the impact is, both in terms of environmental impact and material usage. Requesting the environmental footprint, for instance by means of an LCA, may provide insight in the environmental impact of a procured product. Requesting a material passport detailing the composition of a product is also helpful in this respect. Having measurement data at your disposal may help you to make adjustments in the contract phase.
Insights from procurement projects help to make the progress transparent at the organisational level. How many procurement projects did you make circular? What is the current level of reuse of the initiatives (e.g. repair, repurposing, recycling)? How many products have been saved, or how much raw material? And what has been the environmental impact?
To measure performance, you can monitor either the input or the impact. Monitoring input is about the efforts that have been made. You can check, for instance, whether circular ambitions have been included in the tender or if award criteria regarding circularity have been used. Monitoring impact is about output, such as the amount of material used, or the amount of CO2 emitted.
Input versus impact monitoring: input monitoring looks at the efforts made at the start of the procurement process, while impact monitoring looks at the results once the procurement process is completed. (source: RIVM, 2018)
This means that input monitoring can take place once the tender has been completed, while impact monitoring can only take place after delivery of the product or service, or after take-back and processing. In line with national objectives you should try to implement impact monitoring where possible. The figure above indicates which methods and instruments can be used at each stage of the procurement process.
You can only monitor the effect when the physical environment is impacted. In some product groups this occurs when you procure a product, e.g. buying a conference table made from local waste wood. In other product groups the effect mainly occurs in the course of the contract, e.g. procuring a catering contract that includes a growth path towards a lower environmental impact of the food. For this type of product group impact monitoring can help to ensure a lower footprint over the contract period.
This means that effect monitoring requires a longer horizon beyond the procurement process, and the achieved effect can very well be the result of the procurement process that has been followed. Make proper arrangements with your supplier about the data you need to understand the effects.
One of the ways in which public organisations can measure their progress is by using the Self Evaluation Tool for Socially Responsible Procurement (MVI-ZET, Dutch). MVI-ZET allows you to indicate the themes and ambitions per procurement project. Besides ‘circular’ you can also think of ‘social’ or ‘biobased’. MVI-ZET is linked to TenderNed and has access to all your tenders. This enables reporting at the organisational level. MVI-ZET is a form of input monitoring: it shows which ambitions have been incorporated in the procurement project. MVI-ZET is being further developed to include effect monitoring. Currently, effect measurement has been calculated for four topics, i.e. Workwear, ICT, Energy and Mobility (All in Dutch).
- Decide for each procurement project how you want to monitor the effects and make agreements with your suppliers about the data you need from them.
- Use the ‘80/20’ rule of thumb for monitoring: try to monitor the major part (80%) with a limited effort (20%). Monitoring the entire process or all impact in the entire chain is difficult, time-consuming and often only partly effective. Limited monitoring with a clear scope often suffices to produce a high yield.
- Provide regular reports on general progress at the organisational level. This creates support for future procurement projects.
- Focus on communication of visible successes in the physical environment to inspire others to seize the opportunities offered by circular procurement.
To prevent food waste, Rijkswaterstaat has monitored the food wasted at its meeting lunches. The resulting measures caused the waste of sandwiches to fall from 17% to 7%.
You can enter your ambitions in MVI-ZET and create reports showing how your organisation performs on socially responsible procurement.
This report identifies options for effect monitoring of climate-neutral and circular procurement, as well as the challenges facing us in the coming years.
This Roadmap enables you to explore, among other things, the background of circular procurement and formulating an ambition.
This study shows that circular solutions often contribute to the achievement of climate goals, with construction, mobility and food as concrete examples.
This overview shows the various measuring methodologies that can be used at various points in the procurement process to measure circularity.