The project ChemClimCircle equips municipalities with training modules to apply circular procurement and, by this, to use non-toxic and climate-neutral products.
European municipalities procure services and goods on a large scale, as they are responsible for various public facilities in the fields of child and elderly care, construction, education, or traffic. For this reason, they have great potential to use the procurement process to achieve environmental goals. Green Public Procurement (GPP) can stimulate demand for more sustainable services and goods, thus promoting a regenerative circular economy and helping to support a toxic-free environment. Another benefit: financial savings for the public sector can also be achieved when the purchasing patterns are investigated more thoroughly.
On a positive note, several municipalities in the European Union have already started to develop Green Public Procurement (GPP) schemes. However, many of them are still in the early stages of this process and face various challenges, ranging from a lack of management support to a lack of knowledge in the organisation – concerning everything from market dialogues and requirements in the municipal units to selection of criteria and follow up processes. One of the greatest difficulties is the lack of a holistic approach: procurement managers often focus on individual goals such as climate neutrality while the topic of avoiding hazardous substances in the procured services and goods has received far too little attention so far.
And this is exactly where ChemClimCircle comes in: It combines the topics of chemicals, climate and circularity and will help municipalities to further develop their procurement strategy. The aim is to consider all three aspects already in the planning phase and to create an organisational structure that makes it possible to include more than just one sustainability goal in the procurement process.
Specifically, the ChemClimCircle approach will include the following levels:
Strategic level – development of an overarching strategy and resulting action plan that supports the application of inclusive procurement criteria.
Operational level – development of an appropriate structure in the municipality that is aligned with the overall culture, goals, and strategy of the organisation.
Procurement level – development of a procurement practice that incorporates tox-free, climate-neutral, and circular criteria into the process.
As a forerunner, The City of Stockholm has both a Chemicals centre, a Centre for circularity and climate experts at The Environment and Health Administration, involving and integrating these expert functions is proving to be a success factor in the implementation of the ChemClimCircle approach in procurement processes. Thanks to the Interreg support, the ChemClimCircle approach will be elaborated during this small project and can then be used effectively as a clear way of spreading the message further to other organisations.
The ChemClimCircle project is implemented between October 2022 - September 2024, and the latest publications are available on its web page.
UBC Sustainable Cities Commission is an associated partner of this project and supports the project transfer activities.