6. Monitor the effects

Monitor the effects according to your definition of the circular economy and ambitions. Important reasons for doing this are:

  • You can learn from these procurement projects so that you can make adjustments to subsequent projects.
  • You can show the internal organisation that circular procurement makes sense and has impact.
  • This motivates people to include circular principles more frequently.
  • It can lead to new insights, such as into which product groups have high impact.
  • It can also provide insights at organisational level: to how many procurement processes have you applied circular principles? At what level of reuse (repair, repurposing, recycling)? How many products or raw materials have been saved, and what has been the environmental impact?

6.1 Process and effect monitoring

To measure performance, you can monitor both the process and the effect.

  • Monitor the process: the are two areas in which to monitor the process. First, effort, i.e. whether you have tested your circular ambition with a market consultation. Second, performance: are circular ambitions included in a call for tender, for example? And have award criteria been formulated for circularity?
  • Monitor the effects: monitoring the effects is all about the outcome. Consider the quantity of materials consumed, or the quantity of CO2 emitted. An environmental footprint can provide insight into the environmental impact of a purchased product. You can find out what this footprint is with a life cycle analysis or LCA. Also ask for a materials passport, which will list the composition of a product.

Process monitoring takes place during preparation and after completion of the tendering phase. Effect monitoring can only take place after the actual delivery of the product or service, or after returns and processing.

In line with national objectives, it’s a good idea to carry out effect monitoring wherever possible. For The Netherlands, organisational tips can be found in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management’s guide on monitoring and contractual assurance of SRP.

6.2 Effect monitoring at product level

Effect monitoring can only take place when there is an impact on the physical environment. In some product groups, this will occur primarily when the product is procured. An example would be if you buy a meeting table made from local waste wood. In other product groups, this will occur primarily during the term of an agreement. An example would be a catering contract that uses a development path to work towards lower environmental impact. In this second product group, effect monitoring can help to reduce the footprint over the term of the agreement.

Effect monitoring requires a longer time horizon than just the procurement process. The long-term effect may still be the outcome of the procurement process at the very beginning. Make sound agreements with your supplier on what data you want to receive in order to have good insight into the effects.

6.2.1 More advice in effect monitoring

  • Use the 80/20 rule of thumb: endeavour to monitor the greater part (80%) with only limited effort (20%). Monitoring all impacts throughout the chain and the overall process is difficult, time consuming and often of only limited efficacy. You can often gain the most from limited and clearly defined monitoring.
  • Report overall progress at organisational level: if you do this on a regular basis, you will create support for future procurement processes.

6.3 Use SRP self-assessment tools

Work at a Dutch public organisation? Then you can measure progress with the SRP self-assessment tool. In the SRP self-assessment tool, you can indicate the topics for which you have set ambitions for each procurement process. These include circular ambitions as well as social or bio-based ambitions. The tool is linked to TenderNed, the procurement system of the Dutch government, so that all tenders are visible. From there, you can create a report at organisational level.

The self-assessment tool is a form of process monitoring: it clarifies what ambitions have been set in each procurement process. A first attempt has been made to use the tool for effect monitoring as well. At present, effect measurements have been calculated for two product groups – energy procurement (gas and electricity) and mobility/transport procurement (own fleet and transport services).

Go to the SRP self-evaulation tool

Points for action

  • For each procurement process, determine how effect monitoring should be shaped.
  • Make agreements with suppliers on what data you need.
  • If you’re part of a public organisation, use the SRP self-assessment tool to measure your progress at organisational level.

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