9 lessons learned from the Green Deal Circular Procurement
Make sure the useful life of equipment depends on the performance required for the specific user, rather than the period in which it is amortised or average useful life. The useful life can be extended by making agreements about repair and maintenance.
Specify needs in terms of the software required (functionality), rather than the processor, RAM, etc. (technical). You can create user profiles for this.
Choose devices with universal parts that are easy to disassemble or replace, as this can significantly extend the service life.
Next stage in the loop after end-of-use. There are lots of options for reusing, refurbishing or properly recycling IT material, where data security guarantees can be requested. Circularity only effectively exists if the loop can be closed.
When purchasing refurbished equipment, quality guarantees can be requested that are comparable to those for new material. The idea that the quality of this material is inferior is incorrect. By choosing refurbished, buyers can boost this market.
Leasing ICT equipment or as-a-service contracts are not necessarily circular. To be circular, there has to be transparency about what happens to the equipment after it’s taken back by the supplier. Even so, extending the lifespan, for example through repairs and maintenance guarantees, can also have a positive impact.
Besides circularity, the IT chain also faces a whole range of sustainability challenges. Transparency throughout the chain is important for both aspects. Fair ICT Flanders, TCO-certified and Electronics Watch, among others, can help here. Obtaining labels is often expensive for refurbishers, although you can get round this making by requiring a label, but exempting refurbishment.
It’s important that your contract documents state whether this is an eligibility criterion (pass or fail) or a descriptive criterion. You can also include an introduction to the contract documents in which you explain your organisation’s circular ambitions.
Don’t forget to make agreements about the packaging material and transport. For example, this could be done by delivering in backpacks or bags to avoid waste, making the take-back and recycling of the packaging material obligatory, or requesting minimum recycled content.