Leveraging circular procurement practices to improve potential for reparability of products


Objective: inform dialogues on how best to bring more circularity in our economies, by leveraging sustainable procurement practices

By incorporating sustainability requirements into their tenders’ specifications, buyers convey a strong market signal, which can in turn drive down the cost of sustainable products and services. The combination of public and private demand for sustainable products and services can help scale the market for these products and services.

There are multiple approaches and innovative solutions to circular procurement which can be adopted and combined with each other throughout the procurement cycle. In 2018, The United Nations Environment Programme has documented them in: Building circularity into our economies through sustainable procurement.

Buyers may encourage circular supply chains by procuring more circular products, materials and services. For example, circular procurement criteria in tenders’ specifications can incorporate provisions related to the repairability of the purchased products. By requesting suppliers to include repair options and ensure the ease of finding spare parts and maintenance services, buyers can encourage the market to improve the potential for reparatibility of products, and hence contribute to wider uptake of circularity.

Policy makers have a role to play to foster enabling conditions for circularity. For example, In France, a law enforces the availability of spare parts. Article L111-3 of the French Consumption Law, which came into effect in December 2014, requires that customers be informed about the availability of a product’s spare parts. The information needs to contain either a specific period or the end date of availability, and must be delivered by the manufacturer or importer to the vendor and by the vendor to the buyer. In addition, the law specifies that such information must be visible prior to purchase and confirmed in writing after a purchase is made. If needed, the spare parts for a product have to be supplied by the manufacturer to vendors or repair enterprises within two months. This law applies to all products that are placed on the French market since 2015.

More information