Office furnishings and lighting

The needs for office space change regularly, which is why it is important to make circular choices during the procurement process. This can be done by thinking ahead and opting for modular, flexible and upgradeable solutions. Also when refurbishing or moving. In addition, the operational costs for office furniture are low and the lifespan is often much longer than the standard contract terms. The Life Cycle Cost is mainly influenced by the useful life, so avoid early discarding of products.

Circular Strategies for Office Furnishings

- Internal sharing: Design workspaces efficiently and flexible. Take into account the actual needs of the users, the actual occupancy on the floor and the furniture already available. You can also outsource this process to a circular market player.
- Peer to peer sharing: Make a shared inventory of available furniture. And check if it is feasible to also share across different locations.
Rental: There are as-a-service models for lighting (LAAS) and carpet tiles (FAAS), among other things. Check whether the TCO is economically more advantageous than purchase. Ask AAS services for guarantees for circularity.
- Reuse, refurbishing: Choose second-hand or refurbished products, or have your own pieces refurbish. For the latter, make an inventory of your furniture stock (or outsource this) to add to your tender. Ask for warranty periods that are commensurate with the value of the piece. Refurbished furniture is not necessarily cheaper than new, but of course the LCC is more advantagious.

- Insight into the proportion of recycled, biobased and virgin materials:  For office furniture, the materials manly make up the environmental impact. Opting for recycled content, renewable raw materials and wear-resistant materials can reduce this impact.
Increase the proportion of recycled content: A market dialogue or RFI will give you an idea of what percentage of recycled content is realistic to ask in your specifications.

- Stretch warranties: Determine the contract duration and warranties in proportion to the average lifespan of the product. Award points for each additional year of warranty on top of the stated minimum, or require a longer (degressive) warranty period.
- Contractual agreements for maintenance and repair: Include maintenance and repair in your contract or conclude a separate contract for this. Choose a fixed frequency or performance-oriented maintenance. For the latter, have a baseline measurement performed and set your expectations. For repairs, you agree on a realistic waiting period and you determine whether the repair must be done on site or not.
- Repairability and maintainability: Request a price list and the provision of spare parts for a period commensurate with the product lifetime. eg. 10 years for office chairs. If you have your own maintenance team, ask for instructions or training.
Upgradable products: Where relevant, choose products that are adaptable to future innovations, especially if they have a long lifespan. Consider, for example, the evolution in lamp technology where it is best to opt for adaptable fixtures now that incandescent and halogen lamps are making way for LED.
Designs for longevity: Choose robust materials and products. For furniture, for example, there are European quality standards for scratch resistance, tensile strength, lightfastness, rubbing resistance and compression deformation.
- Modular/change-oriented design: Consider meeting changing needs in the future. For example, by choosing fixtures and partitions that are easy to move if the office layout changes.
Contractual incentives to extend the duration of use: Part of the contract can contain support from the supplier in case of change in lay out.
Optimization of use by supplier: Training or instructions for the users ensures correct use and longer lifespan. 

- Design for dissasembly: Choose products that are easy to disassemble, not glued or stapled. This makes it easier to repair or replace parts. Also ask for disassembly instructions.
Modular design: Modular products are easier to adapt according to changing needs, which increases the chance of reuse.
Standardized Design: Standard dimensions make it easier to reuse products internally or externally.
Contractual take-back and reuse agreements: include agreements in your contract for take-back (or buy back) by the supplier with guarantees for reuse.
- Stimulate circular business models: As an alternative, you can conclude a contract with a recognized collector. They will remove what is suitable for reuse after visual inspection and provide guarantees for reuse. In both cases, the entire product is preferably reused, if need be after repair. If that is not possible, choose to reuse components.

- Design for recycling: Choose products whose parts consist as much as possible of mono-materials that are easy to separate from each other.
Insight into materials: ask for a materials passport or clear marking on the parts. This way the different materials can be recycled correctly.
Contractual agreements on take-back and recycling: include the take-back (or buy back) in your specifications at the time of purchase. Request guarantees for high-quality recycling if reuse is not possible.
- Stimulate circular business models: As an alternative, you can conclude a contract with a recognized collector that disposes of the products that are no longer reusable, in separate material flows for guaranteed high-quality recycling. 
- Reducing toxicity:  the presence of toxic substances can have a negative influence on the indoor climate of the office and the health of staff. In addition, they also probibit materials from beying recycled. Therefore it is important to adress in your tender. In particular for these products: adhesives and finishing materials, fluorescent lamps, fillings and upholstery materials for furniture, chrome-plated or galvanized metals, treated, coated or glued wood. You will find guide values ​​and labels for your specifications in the EU GPP criteria.

Circular procurement projects

Office furnishings


Thursday 21 April 2022

The City of Leuven and AG Stadsontwikkeling Leuven (AGSL) together save no less than 77,280 kg CO2 eq. emissions by using the framework contracts for refurbished furniture of the Flemish Government. …


Thursday 3 February 2022

Zonnige Kempen is a social housing company. They have had sustainability and circularity in their DNA from the start and are therefore strongly committed to circularity of products and materials. In …


Wednesday 6 January 2021

At the beginning of 2019, VVSG, the association of Flemish cities and towns, moved their offices to the Madou builiding in Brussels. Resolute circular choices were made for the renovation of the offi…

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Wednesday 18 December 2019

Aerocircular is a full-service provider that helps owners of large fleets to deal with aircraft that have reached their end-of-life. In the first place, the company helps fleet managers decide which …


Wednesday 18 December 2019

The library in Kortrijk is the first building in Belgium to be equipped with circular lighting. In this business model, the supplier (Philips Lighting) is engaged as the partner for supplying light, …


Tuesday 17 December 2019

The City of Mechelen was the first customer for ETAP's lighting-as-a-service (LAAS).  In a LAAS model, lamps aren’t sold, but light. ETAP is responsible for providing the City of Mechelen with goo…

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Circular procurement of offfice furnishings on screen

Circular procurement of lighting on screen

Publications about circular office furnishings


The second publication from the Interreg NSR project ProCirc discusses leasing as a replacement for the traditional ownership model. It contains interviews with users and a supplier.


This is an English translation of short case descriptions that are part of a larger report on Circular Procurement and Strategies among Norwegian Municipalities, developed by Inventura AS on behalf o…


Within the Interreg NSR project ProCirc a webinar was organised about circular office furniture. Experiences from suppliers as well as buyers are shared.


The European furniture industry welcomes the new Circular Economy Action Plan of the European Commission, strongly supports the transition to a circular economy and is ready to be involved in making …


This document analyses the current status of the circular economy within the furniture sector in Europe and Spain (some other EU countries will follow), it mainly focuses on the level of deployment o…


With support from the Circular Flanders Open Call, the 3 C  platform made an overview of existing labels and certificates for sustainable and circular office furniture.


The EU GPP criteria are developed to facilitate the inclusion of green requirements in public tender documents. While the adopted EU GPP criteria aim to reach a good balance between environmental per…


Rijkswaterstaat (The Netherlands) is actively working on the transition towards a circular economy. Together with Rebus, Pianoo the goverment and TurnToo a first step was taken.

Publications about Circular Lighting


The European Commission has developped a series of sector specific LCC calculation tools which aim to facilitate the use of LCC amongst public procurers. This is the user guide for the LCC for GPP fo…


The European Commission has developped a series of sector specific LCC calculation tools which aim to facilitate the use of LCC amongst public procurers. This is the LCC tool for GPP for Indoor Light…

Overview of product categories

Information about circular procument and example cases per specific product category.





office furniture design and lighting
Office Furnishings and Lighting

PAPIER & KANTOOR- MATERIAALPaper & Office Supplies

Health Care
Health Care