Circular procurement of ICT

Computers, laptops and monitors have a huge impact on the environment. The potential for smarter and circular solutions is great, but underutilized. Circular procurement can be an important tool to change this.

Questions that are central during the online event Circular Economy Lab # 22- organized by the Utrecht Sustainability Institute and the Amsterdam Economic Board: How can we make circular solutions for ICT in the workplace accessible and scalable? How can we provide buyers with tools so that they can purchase circular solutions?

Circular products

In the first panel discussion, it becomes clear how circular products come within reach. Lowi Vervoorn of Schiphol Group let its light shine on display as a service and the importance of top level commitment and internal support. And more interaction is needed with suppliers, for example. Also read the booklet ‘ Circular Procurement: this is how Schiphol does it ‘ .

Robbert Hoeffnagel of the Green IT Amsterdam Foundation advocates solutions such as a professional marketplace, where you can offer (no longer) used products and receive good information to support purchases, and the introduction of deposits to encourage the intake of old appliances

Christina Geierlehner, Sustainability Manager at HP Inc ., sees that sustainability is becoming increasingly important for customers. The organization works on solutions in collaboration with customers and partners and tries to stimulate the demand for circular solutions through the exchange of (sustainability) information.

What is already possible in the short term?

Robbert and Lowi see reuse as an important step. What is now being replaced can often still be used. In addition, it will help to ask for transparency from suppliers, for example what happens to waste equipment. And does it really always have to be the latest of the newest? According to Robbert, that is not always better. HP offers end-of-lif e options so that customers can return their old equipment of all brands ( device recovery service ). By using energy and sustainability labels, you can quickly see which device is more energy-efficient.


In order to be able to take major steps towards circular solutions, redesign plays an important role, because only then will innovative products come onto the market ( redesign ). Products must be able to return easily to the individual components for the reuse and recovery of critical metals. But above all, it is also a combination of supply and demand. Purchasing organizations have to ask for it and suppliers have to offer it. The market has a great responsibility in achieving the ambitions. Policy has been developed at European level for the circular redesign of products, the Ecodesign Directive – for example by setting requirements for reparability. It is one of the pillars of the European circular policy. It is important to lobby for this with the industry, among others, because there is a lot of resistance there.

Handles for buyers

The second panel discussion offers buyers concrete tools in the procurement process of circular products and how the circular procurement of ICT can be accelerated.

New MVI criteria for ICT hardware

Klaas van der Sterren of Rijkswaterstaat presents the sustainable purchasing criteria for workplace equipment that will be updated by the national government at the end of 2020. The MVI criteria are directly applicable in a tendering process.

Guide to Sustainable Procurement Information Provision

Sybren Bosch from Copper8 has developed the Sustainable Procurement Information Provision Guide together with Metabolic. The guide offers a deeper understanding of four product groups and insight into where an impact can be made and thus targeted recommendations for sustainable procurement. It is complementary to the MVI criteria instrument and is free to download, so you can get started right away as a buyer.

Experiences with circular procurement

Rudie de Vries from the municipality of Haarlem has experience with circular procurement of data servers and with circular solutions for desktops and mobile hardware. Good market consultation was the starting point and provided valuable insights. A bridge must be built with the budget holder because the level of knowledge and understanding of the subject often differ greatly. It also helps to have ambitions set at the administrative level – which is the case in Haarlem – and to put more pressure on nationwide by making SRI criteria mandatory.

Michel Strijker of the municipality of Almere drew up an IT sustainability plan last year. Bringing colleagues along turned out to be essential. That only works if the internal client knows what he wants. Sustainable purchasing is a complex process. As a buyer you have to deal with many rules, so it only goes in small steps.

High Impact Procurement

The Amsterdam Economic Board is working on a movement for High Impact Procurement throughout the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area; for every euro you spend on purchasing, you choose the fair and sustainable alternative. For the circular procurement of ICT, the Board is also taking a directing role in order to join forces with De Buyer Group ICT and partners in the Amsterdam region, among others, to create an accessible guide or instrument that buyers can use immediately.


If you also want to join High Impact Procurement or want to know more about circular purchasing of ICT, please contact Claire Teurlings , Challenge Lead Circular Economy.

Read here the detailed report of the Circular Economy Lab or watch the film recording of this meeting.

Circular Economy Lab # 23 – Energy savings of data servers

The next lab is on December 1 and is about energy saving of data servers.

23 October 2020

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