Define criteria for circularity

Once the specifications are clear, the value chain has been made transparent and the procedure has been selected, you can formulate your criteria for circularity. In case there is a selection stage, these criteria are applied at supplier level. For the award stage these criteria are applied at proposal level. These criteria for circularity apply in addition to award criteria based on other relevant (sustainability) topics. However, you must make sure that your criteria have a clear focus: using too many different criteria makes it harder for parties to make a difference.

Determine what makes a particular party the best possible supplier for you (in case there is a selection stage) and what would be the best possible proposal for you. Use the outcomes to define your requirements and criteria for the selection stage (if there is one) and the award stage. Try to measure (quantitative) as well as evaluate (qualitative) circularity. There are several methodologies you can use to measure circularity.

Make sure you maintain the right price to quality ratio when you define your criteria. You should aim for a ratio of 10-30% price versus 70-90% quality. This allows market players to distinguish themselves in terms of quality, which includes circular ambitions. You could consider setting a ceiling price and maybe a floor price.

Desirable price to quality ratio. Source: PHI Factory (2017) Preliminary study circular procurement criteria

Desirable price to quality ratio. Source: PHI Factory (2017) Preliminary study circular procurement criteria


  • Give sufficient weight to quality in the price to quality ratio.
  • Use criteria relating to circularity in both the selection stage and the award stage.
  • Make sure to define clearly targeted criteria to ensure market players can distinguish themselves.
  • Use a measuring method that has been agreed with market players in that sector. Validate this with a market consultation.

Inspiring Examples

Background Information

Tool - MVIcriteria

The website offers standard criteria for sustainable procurement of various product groups, at different levels.

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