Assess risks and opportunities

Mapping out relevant risks and opportunities for your current sourcing need

Your city government can promote procurement strategies that are circular and deliver on other policy objectives. To achieve that, your city government can map out the environmental, social, and economic risks of your public procurement strategy to avoid negative externalities. Circular economy risks and opportunities can vary significantly from one type of goods or service to another and from one supplier base to another. When considering the total cost of ownership, you can assess the long term financial impacts on budgets. Your municipality can also develop decision tools that can help staff assess risks and opportunities against circular principles. Understanding the costs, benefits, and other impacts of incorporating circular economy in procurement processes will help to inform the decision making processes.

Questions to consider:

  • What are the potential unintended consequences of implementing circular public procurement practices? How can these risks be mitigated?

  • What due diligence or data collection do you need to conduct for circular products and services during the contract management phase?

  • How could you avoid blind spots and prevent potential socially and environmentally harmful practices in your supply chains?


The City of Ghent won an award in 2019 for a pilot project where the city worked in partnership with suppliers to procure ethically produced workwear in line with the socially responsible requirements in its procurement policy. Following this pilot project, the City of Ghent published a toolkit on the responsible public procurement of workwear.


  • The report Avoiding Blind Spots: Promoting Circular & Fair Business Models by Circle Economy, the European Environmental Bureau, and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office maps out the potential unintended consequences of circular business models and their value chains. Based on these insights, the report provides recommendations for businesses, policymakers, public procurers, and civil society to ensure they can avoid blindspots and build business models that are not only circular, but also just and fair.

  • The criteria document How to procure fair ICT hardware by ICLEI Europe and Electronics Watch aims to support experienced procurers in leveraging public purchases of Information and Communication Technology hardware to positively impact working conditions across the electronics supply-chain. The criteria set covers guidance on subject matter, selection and award criteria, technical specifications as well as contract clauses.

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