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Circular Wonderings is an exploration of the role of digital, software and technology in the Circular Economy. Exploration is the key word here. I write regularly, reflecting on my current thoughts and research. Expect typos, incomplete thoughts, varied rambling topics and (hopefully) a journey towards clearer understanding and insight. Subscribe here to join my journey.

Procuring innovation & Risk

Should 'procurement' be used as a tool to stimulate circular innovation, even when this might increase risk to the buyer?

This was a question I asked at the session on circular procurement at the recent Festival of Circular Economy [1].

The panel's answers where, I thought, very good. A few points stood out to me:

There may be no choice, for a business or public sector body looking to improve their circularity and thus reach sustainability or emissions goals. Not all the solutions currently exist. So, if that goal is not just window dressing, then those organisations must work in partnership with suppliers to help innovate and find the solutions.

Given that, they must also accept that not every purchasing decision will be a complete success. The panel really advocated for clear communication and close partnership between buyer and supplier with this in mind.

There is higher risk from not approaching procurement with the bigger goal in mind. Obvious risk to society and the planet, but also risk from missing out on opportunity.

As software developers and entrepreneurs, we are often the supplier in this conversation. I think the question is, therefore, important to consider from our side too.

How can we approach these business relationships in a way that facilitates openness and transparency and encourages innovation while also acknowledging & mitigating the perceived risk?