Circular procurement has an effect, also with the CO2 Performance Ladder

Together with Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research and the environmental consultancy CE Delft, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has developed a method to determine the effect of circular procurement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving resources.

The method has calculated that in 2017 and 2018 the Dutch authorities saved almost 300,000 tons of raw material by means of circular purchasing of roads and office furniture. As a result, 27,000 tons less greenhouse gas is also emitted. The CO2 Performance Ladder is a purchasing instrument that demonstrably leads to more circularity.

CO2 Performance Ladder leads to more circularity
The CO2 Performance Ladder was included in this study as a circular purchasing tool because during the study it appeared that the Ladder can result in a product that is more circular than the market standard. Roads were mainly asked for recycled raw materials, the separate removal of waste streams and life-extending measures.

In the investigated tenders where the CO 2 Performance Ladder was used as a circular purchasing tool, this resulted in:

• use of asphalt with more than average recycled content in the intermediate and top layers.
• a lifespan extension of approximately three years. The effect of both measures has been calculated and quantified.

The effect of Circular Purchasing (CI) on roads in 2017-2018 is estimated at 290,000 tons of avoided material use and a reduction of 24,000 tons of CO 2 eq. (for office furniture this was 470 tonnes of material use and 3,000 tonnes of CO 2 eq).

The CO 2 Performance Ladder is an effective and versatile instrument that can be used to structurally reduce CO 2 in order to implement a socially responsible procurement policy through tenders . More than 150 contracting authorities use the CO 2 Performance Ladder for tenders such as infrastructure, IT, waste, office furniture   and the healthcare sector.


The RIVM has also calculated what could potentially be saved with circular procurement. If all governments were to use all calculated measures for these two product groups in full, 654,000 tonnes less greenhouse gases would be emitted each year and almost 12 Megatons of material saved. So there is still much to be gained. This concerns the measures to extend lifespan, use of recycled material and refurbishes. Other measures could not be expressed in numbers. For example, because it remained unclear whether the situation really changes with the measure. If a government concludes a repair contract, does that mean more repairs in practice, and if so how much?

Worldwide more and more people use energy, raw materials, land and water, but the stocks of these are becoming smaller. This use also releases greenhouse gases that cause climate change. With circular procurement, governments are trying to do something about it. This means that they purchase products or services that are made with fewer raw materials. This is possible, for example, by using products for longer. But also by buying second-hand products, repairing broken products instead of replacing them or recycling raw materials when products can no longer be used.

  You can download the full report (DUtch) here