ICT hardware has a very large social and environmental impact, both in the production, use and processing of e-waste. Fair ICT Flanders' infographics show that the biggest impact is in the production phase. As a result, extending the useful life is the most important circular objective to focus on. The largest budget goes to operating costs, partly due to the high energy consumption. It is therefore advantageous to choose LCC as a price assessment when purchasing IT equipment.
In short, plenty of reasons to invest in the circular procurement of ICT!
Recognized labels for IT hardware are TCO-certified and EPEAT (bronze, silver, gold). Both have a large market share, EPEAT is mainly active in the US. You can include these labels in your specifications as a technical condition, if you mention 'or an equivalent quality label'. This means that a supplier may demonstrate that he can also guarantee the criteria of the label through a dossier. The advantage of using labels is that the purchaser is sure that the conditions are complied with. The disadvantage is that it excludes smaller companies, such as refurbishers, because obtaining a label is often expensive and time-consuming. You can overcome this by demanding the label, unless it concerns refurbishment.
This product group faces many ethical challenges. Transparency about respecting ILO conventions and human rights throughout the chain is important, but not self-evident. The law on public procurement (art.7) allows to explicitly require that any person acting as a subcontractor (at any stage) and any person who employs staff for the execution of the contract, is subject to all social and labor legislation where both international, European or national in force. You can adress this by adding ethical clauses to your tenders. Organizations such as Fair ICT Flanders, TCO-certified and Electronics Watch can advise on this.
Public procurement law obliges to award to the most economically advantageous bidder (MEAT). The cost price may be calculated on the basis of the life cycle cost of the product. In addition to the acquisition cost, the operating and disposal costs are charged (Total Cost of Ownership). But also the external costs for the environment and society. For ICT hardware, electricity bills, repair costs and upgrading make up a very large part of the operating costs. So it's definitely worth using LCC analysis to choose the most cost-effective quote. The EU GPP tool for LCC of computers and monitors and the accompanying guide will help you on your way.
Information about circular procument and example cases per specific product category.