Estonia has recently been working on three strategic documents, which include circular procurement principles – the white paper on circular economy, national waste plan and strategic principles of public procurement. SEI Tallinn has contributed to the development of all these documents, utilising the knowledge gained from the experience exchange with CircPro project partners. These documents include input from SEI Tallinn and CircPro project – both have thus directly influenced policy change regarding circular procurement in Estonia.
In 2022, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment introduced a white paper on the circular economy. The document includes a chapter on circular procurement, noting that the practice serves as a means for better resource management. The paper notes that green public procurements, including circular procurements, will promote a closed circle of energy and materials in the supply chains. This will minimize or even prevent negative environmental impacts and waste generation during the lifecycle of materials. Furthermore, green procurements can help reduce carbon emissions, reduce resource exploitation, accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy production, and stimulate innovation in the private sector by advancing sustainable products, services and environmental technologies. The white paper stresses that public authorities must foremost set an example and pave the way in sustainability.
Estonia is also in the process of adopting a new national waste management plan 2022-2028. The draft law entails a separate chapter on green and circular procurement. The document states that green public procurement is a powerful tool for achieving policy goals concerning circular economy, climate change, resource use and sustainable consumption and production. This is especially important taken into account the public sector’s significant expenditure on products and services – around 14% of EU’s GDP. The chapter includes a reference to the online version of Estonian regional guidelines on circular procurement, which SEI Tallinn prepared in the CircPro project. Thus, materials prepared in the CircPro project acted as a relevant reference point to promote more sustainable procurements in the main strategic document concerning waste management in Estonia.
Estonia is currently preparing a document on strategic principles of public procurement. Each chapter in the document covers an important value to be taken into consideration in public purchasing – the very first chapter is dedicated to sustainability. Based on the knowledge from the CircPro project, SEI Tallinn’s senior expert Harri Moora has given input to the document. While still in development, the document on strategic principles of public procurement will therefore also feature a chapter on circular procurements.
With all these developments, we can say that CircPro project has been very successful in impacting policy instruments supporting circular procurement.