Improving purchasing procedures for circular IT

Understanding and minimizing the impacts of the IT production system

This guide for the Dutch department of waterways, Rijkswaterstaat, evaluated different purchasing criteria for IT equipment, aiming to reduce environmental impacts across the equipment’s life cycle.

1
Challenge

Reducing the impact of electronic waste from IT services

Every year, nearly 50 million tons of electronic waste is produced worldwide. In the Netherlands, every inhabitant is on average responsible for 24kg of e-waste. The speed of technological developments and the increasing market saturation in Western economies, means that most IT products have a very short lifetime. The way products are currently designed makes them hard to repair or disassemble and the often untransparent supply chain makes it difficult to achieve a truly circular IT supply chain. With Rijkswaterstaats aim to become fully circular by 2030, we looked at how to minimize the impact of IT through informed purchasing decisions.

Challenge
2
Approach

Analyzing the market for sustainable purchases

We scanned the current purchasing framework of Rijkswaterstaat to identify hotspots in the production system of IT equipment. Armed with this knowledge, it becomes much easier to pinpoint a selection of criteria that can reduce environmental impacts, in the most effective way possible. The material use, energy use, CO2 emissions, land use, and toxicity were all taken into account. The resulting guide makes it possible to ask the right questions during a tender. It puts sustainability front and centre and ensures functional demands, suitability, contractual accountability, and general requirements.

Approach
3
Outcomes

Informed IT purchasing decisions and strong partnerships

We provided a clear handbook with rules and criteria to make a significant impact to select the most sustainable options out there. Yet to have more systemic impact and demand a new production method, national and or international collaboration is necessary.

Outcomes

”Copper8 and Metabolic took up the challenge together with us and executed it in a sublime way.”

- Erik van Meurs, Procurement Advisor at Rijkswaterstaat

Consultant & Industries Team Lead

ANY QUESTIONS?

For more information about this project, please get in touch.