Resource transition programme – Approach

Focus of the authorities in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

In 2016, the AMA Government Agenda 2016-2020 was published, describing a number of high-impact directions for development. The section ‘Accelerating the transition to a clean economy’, and more specifically the actions directed at ‘Improved utilisation of resources’ were produced in collaboration with the Amsterdam Economic Board, with a central role for the material transition programme established by the Board in 2015.

In the spring of 2018, this resulted in a detailed development plan taking a programmatic approach. Two programme directors, Jolein Baidenmann and Marten Boels of the AMA Bureau, and a regional circular economy working group are cooperating to achieve the aims set out in this plan. In the development plan, government policy focuses on three interconnected tracks that support and reinforce one another: 1) circular purchasing and procurement, 2) material flows (textile, plastics, e-waste, construction and demolition, diapers / incontinence pads, biomass), 3) interventions. The Board works on the same themes in collaboration with the resource directors.


For each of the 14 material flows, separate strategies are prepared in cooperation with industry, universities and government, establishing what conditions are necessary for a transition to high-grade recycling to become economically viable, and how roles should be allocated. The conditions may relate to issues such as security of volume and sales, gathering insights, cooperation among companies with the same kind of waste flows and/or input, or new revenue models.

For each material flow, we explore the existing situation and identify where loss of value occurs in the chain. We then bring together the parties that have the willingness and ability to change in order to create new ecosystems around innovation. Often these ecosystems combine the public and public sectors. In the consortiums, we jointly define objectives and the actions needed to achieve them. The partnership is defined and formalised with the signature of Circular Commitments, which is marked by a celebratory event – after all, progress is something to celebrate. Since the programme has started, three Circular Commitment events have taken place. This is the point at which the ecosystem takes over and moves forward, and the Board withdraws. The aim of this approach is to create movement in an existing market in cooperation with frontrunners, to demonstrate that new partnerships are valuable and lead to innovation, and to ensure that sufficient alternatives are developed in relation to the existing system.

Circular Purchasing and Procurement

The Amsterdam Economic Board’s philosophy is that the only way to get a circular economy up and running is by stimulating and substantially increasing the demand for products that have been designed and produced for circularity. Since 2016, the Board has been working to promote circular purchasing and procurement. More than 50 organisations are now participating, including Schiphol Airport, Nuon, BAM, AM, Rabobank, ABN AMRO, the City of Amsterdam, the Municipalities of Zaanstad, Haarlemmermeer, Purmerend and Almere, the Port of Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, InHolland University of Applied Sciences, Nova College, Royal FloraHolland and the Province of Noord-Holland. Circular purchasing and procurement was also the central theme of Acts of the Region 2018 – and with fantastic results, too. See photos of this event.

Circular Purchasing and Procurement Community of Practice

By learning together and sharing experience, organisations and purchasers become stronger. A tried and tested learning method is a Community of Practice, an open and experimental learning environment in which the participants have a common task. For a certain period, participants come together regularly, the composition of the group remains unchanged, and discussions are confidential. The six sessions over eight months are led by an independent chairperson and the participants determine the agenda. External experts are invited where this is appropriate to the demands of the participants.

In two previous Communities of Practice (2016–2018), the participants explored possibilities, examined the process of purchasing and procurement from start to finish, learnt to identify and avoid pitfalls, and found ways to achieve this both internally and externally. The result was a solid network of frontrunners with close ties.


Because of the success of previous Communities of Practice, the Board is offering a third community to Network Council members, starting in January 2019, led by former minister Jacqueline Cramer. Board members can enrol by contacting Marjolein Brasz. Non-members can also participate, and should contact Marjan Schrama.

Milestones in 2018

At the State of the Region event on 20 June 2018, 10 companies, local authorities and universities signed 19 commitments to circular purchasing and procurement to a value of more than 150 million euros. In addition, 32 alderpersons from the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, two members of the Provincial Executive and the Transport Authority Amsterdam signed a firm Declaration of Intent on Circular Purchasing and Procurement: 10% circular procurement by 2022, at least 50% by 2025 and 100% as soon as possible.