• Randi Bech Larsen
4. semester, Samfundsfag (cand.soc.), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Circular economy (CE) is a concept of growing importance in sustainable development due to its focus on reducing waste and maximizing the use of resources. Because of the scale of public procurement, circular public procurement (CPP) is considered a key factor in the transition to a circular economy, as it can drive demand for circular products and services. Public procurement processes constitute an interaction between policy-regulatory frameworks, suppliers, producers, and the public institution. CPP require changes in the complex network of stakeholders throughout the supply chain. CE require fundamental changes in organizations’ business models and increased interaction and cooperation between stakeholders. However, little is known about the interorganizational collaboration required for successful CPP. This is an important gab in knowledge as the technical factors of circularity, such as physical flows in industrial systems for example waste management and other end-of-life considerations, are well researched, but the social and organizational factors, for example the roles of value chain actors in the process of operationalizing circular strategies, are less studied. The textile industry constitutes one of the world’s most environmentally burdensome industries. The public sector consumes large quantities of textiles, for example for work wear, of which only approximately 10 % is recycled. Therefore, public textile procurements are considered particularly relevant in the context of CPP. To address this, the research question of this thesis is:

What opportunities and barriers for circular change arise in the interorganizational cooperation around municipal procurement of textiles?

To answer this research question, the thesis employs a single embedded case study of a value chain for municipal procurement of workwear. Comprising two producers, one supplier, the municipal procurement department, and the end users. The empirical data collected includes five focus group interviews with a total of 11 respondents from the value chain as well as field work from a CPP- workshop in the municipality. A theoretical framework was also developed to understand the logics of and between the organizations in the value chain, drawing on both circular economy theory and new institutional theory on institutional logics.

The study finds that several barriers exist to CPP in the interorganizational cooperation, including disagreement over responsibility for CPP, user preferences, and a lack of knowledge about CE in
the municipal procurement department. In addition, mistrust between producers and suppliers and the municipality has been identified as a barrier to creating common goals and cooperation on circularity. However, the study also identifies several opportunities for promoting CPP in interorganizational collaboration, including reducing the range of clothing, focusing on quality and repair, and partnering with companies that can reuse discarded textiles.
Overall, the study highlights the importance of interorganizational cooperation in promoting CPP and the need for new forms of collaboration that break down barriers and create understanding for different logics across organizations. This could be achieved through strengthening existing collaboration spaces, such as the market dialogue, through interorganizational workshops with a focus on circularity as a common goal or by involving manufacturers in clothing measurement.

Based on the identified opportunities and barriers, the following recommendations are given for supporting the transition to CPP:
1. Strengthen intraorganizational cooperation on circular procurement within the municipality
2. Create new spaces for interorganizational collaboration
3. Involve external stakeholders and enter new partnerships
4. Avoid special assortment and logos
5. Experiment and adapt continuously

A focus on strengthening both intra- and interorganizational relationships can contribute to strengthen the possibilities for circularity in municipal textile procurement which is evident from recommendation 1-3. In addition, a focus on prioritizing standard assortment and avoiding logos on clothing can minimize waste and contribute to intensifying product use. Furthermore, it is recommended that continuous experimentation is carried out to promote circular activities and that circular change is thus considered a learning process. These recommendations aim to strengthen the possibilities for CPP and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy.
Udgivelsesdato30 dec. 2022
Antal sider74
ID: 507423495