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A Grounded Theory on Sustainable Circular Public Procurement in Germany: Specific Product Case and Strategies

Wurster, Simone; Schulze, Rita; Simon, Ramona G.; Hoyer, Stefan

By using its purchasing power to procure environmentally friendly goods and services, the public sector can significantly contribute to sustainability in production and consumption. The sector’s support is also needed for the development of a circular economy (CE), but the absence of a suitable procurement practice often constitutes a barrier. A pressing example for a global need to develop the CE further exists in the tyre context. By the end of 2030, the number of end-of-life tyres (ELT) is expected to rise significantly. This article analyses the role and situation of public procurement and the necessity of quality infrastructure elements to support a sustainable tyre CE in the European Union’s member state Germany. It relies on a multiple case case study-based Grounded Theory approach and 22 interviews with public procurement professionals. Five types of barriers for sustainable circular tyre procurement were identified, concerning regulatory, technical, social, market, and ecological aspects. Possible strategies to overcome them were developed, leading to 14 recommendations for German policymakers and public procurement organisations. In particular, the recommendations focus on the two quality infrastructure elements ‘standards’ and ‘labelling’, with four standardization aspects and eight labelling topics in total.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su132413525, MDPI