The aim: To help public procurers reach their environmental goals by using their buying power to stimulate a circular approach to work wear.
The expected outcome: Helping to direct change and set an example to other buyers, especially in the private sector.
Why take action
Public sector buyers of work wear frequently make decisions on what to buy and from where. They have great buying power so can help set an example to other buyers, especially in the private sector.
For example, the Dutch Ministry of Defence signed contracts for 100,000 towels and 53,000 overalls with 36% and 14% recycled post-consumer textiles. Like many European governments, they are taking an important step towards supporting sustainable work wear.
About this action
For this action we researched the current drivers and barriers for circular procurement of workwear in Europe; not only in legislation, but also on the more tactical and operational level for customers and suppliers.
We developed a best practice guide for circular workwear and organised masterclasses in several countries for procurers about the steps they can take in their own procurement projects to stimulate circularity in their workwear. We have also we made recommendations for the European Commission on what actions they could undertake to stimulate circular textiles on a European level.
We have produced a number of reports which outline the role of public procurers in developing circularity in this sector.
Part one gives insight into the development of circular work wear in north-western European industry countries. European Textiles and Workwear Market Report .
Part two Embedding Circular Procurement in purchasing of workwear explores the opportunities and barriers to sharing and implementing circular procurement principles to workwear across Europe.
Circular and sustainable procurement criteria for textiles
The European Union has developed a green public procurement criteria to facilitate sustainable requirements in public tender documents. These are used by public procurers across Europe.
As part of the ECAP, the Dutch agency Rijkswaterstaat helped develop a new Criteria-for-Sustainable-Procurement-in-Workwear which was shared with the European Commission to include in the green public procurement criteria.
These criteria can also help or inspire both workwear companies and fashion brands to make their procurement more circular and sustainable.
The Green Deal Circular Procurement report
We also were featured in a report from The Green Deal Circular Procurement, an initiative to help encourage the purchase of circular goods. The report comes as a result of work between 45 public and private sector participants to identify how to best use the procurement process to shape more circular procurement. Rijkswaterstaat is referenced for both its work on the ECAP project and on REBus.
You can read the report here: ENG Green Deal_Circular Procurement Magazine.
For governments that would like to start with procuring workwear and textiles in a circular way, Rijkswaterstaat has developed a masterclass.
Masterclasses have now taken place in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London and Malmö . To view a sample of the presentations used at the masterclasses go here.
Recommendations to European Commission Advisory Group
Based on our findings from our research and experiences of procurers, we made recommendations for the European Commission on what actions they could undertake to stimulate circular textiles on a European level.
We also presented these recommendations for the Advisory Group of the European Commission on government public procurement and they were received with great interest. With our approach we hope to have given the commission a solid basis and the instruments to develop an integral policy towards circular workwear in Europe and to set an example for the entire textile industry.
Interested in our recommendations? Go here.