For many companies, the order volumes of public tenders are very compelling; however, insufficient communication on the part of contracting authorities can make bidding seem too complicated and costly. On the other hand, public procurers often lack a comprehensive overview of sustainable offers on the market. The CSCP brought procurers and bidders from the IT and textile sectors to a virtual table to discuss communication issues and the way forward.

Considering the public sector’s high demand, procuring in sustainable ways represents a major lever for achieving more sustainability and promoting fairness throughout the supply chains. Relevant policy frameworks, such as the amended European Public Procurement Directive and the German public procurement law reform, have prioritised social and environmental sustainability criteria in public procurement processes. While many legal issues have been clarified, uncertainties still remain. Deficits in communication between the procuring organisations and the market often hamper a successful implementation of sustainable procurement.

Frequently, companies that are on the offering side lack the right information with respect to sustainability criteria and their relevance for their business. Conversely, many procurers are unaware of sustainable offers or, even after communicating the importance of sustainability criteria, companies that meet the desired criteria submit incomplete or insufficient offers.

As part of the project ‘Impulses for Socially Responsible Public Procurement by Municipalities in Global Value Chains’ of the German Development Institute, the CSCP conducted three virtual stakeholder dialogues between public procurers and businesses from the IT and textile sectors. The aim was to identify key reasons for the existing information deficits and to collect good-practice examples of well-functioning communication between public procurement and the market. Through lively discussions, the participants got to know the challenges that the opposite side faces and voice their viewpoints.

The stakeholder discussions confirmed that involving the bidding companies in a dialog can counteract information deficits and make procurement processes more efficient in terms of procedure and impact. In both product areas, procurers agreed that sufficient resources and improved knowledge transfer are important prerequisites for formulating tender requirements in clear and detailed ways, making it easier to successfully review them. A long-term and goal-oriented dialog after the contract has been awarded was also deemed important.

The complete results of the discussions are summarised in the report “Communicating with the Market for Socially Responsible Sustainable Public Procurement”, which highlights the relevance of promoting early dialog between the parties and ensuring efficient exchanges throughout the process.

For further information, please contact Jana Bauer.

Halfway through its cooperation, the Dialogue Forum for the Reduction of Food Waste in Wholesale and Retail can build upon numerous food waste reduction measures and, for the first time, delivers data on food waste for the entire food retail sector in Germany.

“The food waste community knows: only what is measured can also be reduced”, points out Nora Brüggemann, coordinator of the Dialogue Forum, underlining the need for transparency in order to facilitate impactful solutions.

Until now, studies on food waste quantities in Germany have represented only estimates, making it difficult to rely on them. The joint work of the 21 members of the Dialogue Forum is highly valuable not only in gaining more insights into food waste in the retail and wholesale sector in Germany and in the companies internally, but also in enabling the identification of reduction solutions that can deliver real impact.

Jointly, the retail and wholesale members have laid out the foundation for further analysis and work. All 21 members:

The data collected by the Dialogue Forum for the entire food retail sector, suggests that the extrapolated sales losses for 2019 amount to 4.1 billion euros (1.76 % of food sales), which corresponds to 710 thousand tons of food. Deducting food donations, this results in about 500 thousand tons of food waste. Further details can be found in the Dialogue Forum interim and monitoring reports. The interim report, compiled by the CSCP, provides a comprehensive overview of the activities implemented by the members, while the monitoring report prepared by the forum partner, Thünen-Institute, presents a detailed analysis of the collected data.

“In 2021, we aim to gather similarly high-quality data for the wholesale sector and to improve the data situation on food donations. In addition, we would like to individually analyse the data of interested companies in order to identify effective levers for reduction measures.”, highlights Lia Orr from the Thünen-Institute, the project partner responsible for data aggregation and analysis.

“These activities and the members engagement pave the way for the joint development of a target agreement with which the companies pursue the goal of halving food waste by 2030.”, says Nora Brüggemann, moderator of the Dialogue Forum, heralding the joint development of concrete reduction targets, principles of cooperation as well as measurement and review of progress.

The Dialogue Forum Wholesale and Retail is part of the National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste, adopted by the Germany government in 2019. The forum offers wholesale and retail companies in Germany a platform for their joint commitment to reduce food waste. The project is conducted by the CSCP in partnership with the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut and it is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) .

For further information please contact Nora Brüggemann.

A graduate of economic geography with an interest for online marketing, Felix Schumacher believes that maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue with all groups in society is the key to a sustainable life. As part of the CSCP, he looks forward to mobilising the power of multi-perspective approaches in changing things for good.

Why did you apply to work for the CSCP?

I have a background in geography and economic geography, two fields that gave me access to new viewpoints on sustainability. During my studies, I worked part-time in online content marketing and was looking for a way to link my educational background and work experience in an impactful way. A few months as an intern at the CSCP were proof that this is where impact happens, so here I am.

 What are the projects that you are most excited about?

Already during my internship, I started working on the HOOP project. Being involved right from the start is a unique opportunity to see how a project kicks-off, takes shape, and starts having real impact. We work with eight lighthouse cities and regions in boosting circular, bio-waste economy models, but with very different approaches. Building bridges, managing data, and enhancing stakeholder engagement are all topics that I feel very excited about.

In your view, what are the main ingredients for a sustainable life?

Though there are many facets, I think that being open for dialogue is the main component. People have different needs and face different challenges. To make sustainability work for all, we need to make concepts relatable to all the different groups in society. Finding the right balance and making change happen while considering multiple perspectives is complex and yet one of the main ingredients for a sustainable life.

For further information, get in contact with Felix Schumacher.

Freshly-graduated Livia El-Khawad is the newest member of our SIPS team. She has placed a special focus on circularity and resource management during her studies and is driven by the goal of making circularity not only work, but to do so in a socially responsible way.

How did you decide to join the CSCP?

My decision to pursue a job at the CSCP was rooted in the belief that only through hands-on approaches would I be able to further comprehend what sustainability really means for society, organisations and individuals. Having just finished my studies at the Leuphana University in the field of Environmental Sciences, I felt that I needed a ‘reality check’.  Through the diverse projects that I am working on and the numerous collaborations with various stakeholders, I can better grasp the opportunities at hand and think of creative solutions that move things forward. My main focus will be our circularity projects, a key objective being not only accelerating the transition but also ensuring that it is a fair one for all parties involved.

What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as a consultant for the SIPS team?

A great approach at the CSCP is that no one is put into a thematic box in which they have to spend most of their time. By showing interest and motivation, there are excellent opportunities to explore new areas, grow beyond one’s core expertise, think creatively and connect the dots. That’s exactly what I am looking forward to the most: expanding my horizon. Tapping into knowledge and belief systems beyond one’s comfort zone is, in my view, key for the professional as well as the personal development.

In your view, what are the main ingredients for a sustainable life?

Leading a sustainable life requires perseverance, openness towards new ways of doing things, and on many occasions, creativity. We still live in a world in which the norm is pretty much an unsustainable, resource-intensive way of living. Not choosing the default option always necessitates extra effort on the part of the individual, but it also comes with little joys – like moving to toothpaste tablets, which I proudly did recently. I do sometimes get frustrated if I can’t find sustainable alternatives for perfectly simple things, but then I am so heartened by seeing all the creative solutions already out there.

For further questions, get in touch with Livia El-Khawad.

Faced with a pandemic that challenged the conventional ways of doing business, many Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) had to reinvent themselves in order to keep up with the new dynamics. The conference on Digital Leadership gathered business representatives to discuss new leadership styles and organisational structures in SMEs, not only as a response to the pandemic but also as a vital prerequisite for resilient entrepreneurship.

The virtual conference, which was held in December 2020, focused on a perspective of leadership that adheres to the challenges and opportunities created by digital transformation, sustainability, and crises such as the Coronavirus pandemic.

As part of a panel discussion, Anna Yona, founder of Wilding Shoes, Lars Rückemann, board member of codecentric AG and Dr. Markus Baumanns from company companions presented their strategies and experiences on the role of digital leadership and the inspirational drivers that keep employees motivated, maintain the entrepreneurial spirit, and keep social and environmental sustainability high on the agenda.

From redefining organisational structures and driving decentralisation through to finding creative ways to foster informal exchange in spite of remote working, the panellists shared insights on how digital leadership can help SMEs to remain competitive and thrive.

Central to the discussion was the concept of ‘working with purpose’: how to provide employees the room to identify with their work and empower them to carry collaborative and innovative work regardless of where they are.

Highlights from the panel discussion are summarised in this video.

For the entire discussion, listen to our podcast.

Download the podcast now!

You can also listen to the podcast on Spotify. The panel discussion was followed by a lively exchange with the audience. aims to inform and support SMEs in developing solutions for entrepreneurial challenges in the age of digitalisation and sustainability.

For further information, please contact Anna Hilger.

With remote working turned into a new normal, many organisations are concerned about its potentially adverse side-effects. Team spirit, trust levels, longterm employee satisfaction – the stakes are high. What’s more: how to ensure that digitalisation processes are carried forward in sustainable and inclusive ways? In a recent interview with the Solingen-based IT company, Codecentric we discussed their concept of digital leadership and how it can support companies in succeeding with remote working while keeping environmental and social sustainability on the agenda.

Lars Rückemann, Codecentric CEO and his colleague Jonas Verhoelen, a software developer, explained how they bring digitalisation and sustainability together in their everyday work. They shared that internalising sustainability as the norm by which things are done is a key prerequisite. For this purpose, Codecentric is in the process of developing its own ‘climate manifesto’ in order to set firm targets for climate protection.

On the topic of remote working, Codecentric is trying to come up with formats that nurture a  ‘we’ feeling, in spite of teams sitting in different locations. ‘Remote Coffee Breaks’ or ‘Virtual Wine Tastings’ are in the meanwhile a routine for their employees. “We are a company in which the ‘we’ feeling and constant exchange are very important. We are already experiencing a great challenge due to the current situation, which we are trying to address in this way.”, shared Rückemann.

Watch highlights from the interview in this short video.

For the complete interview, listen to the podcast here or download it here.

The interview was conducted in German.

For further information, please contact Anna Hilger.

From goods as simple as office supplies to services as complex as energy systems – everything has to go through procurement. For the private sector, a company’s commitment to procure in sustainable and circular ways can generate added value at multiple levels: better risk management, more efficiency, long-term cooperation with suppliers, and collaborative development of innovative solutions. On the other hand, the public sector and its high demand could turn procurement into a strategic tool for promoting more sustainability and supporting circular economy systems. This means, for instance, shaping public tendering in ways that ensure the lowest footprint with the highest positive social and environmental impact through circular procurement. Recognising public authorities as major buyers, the European Commission has put Green Public Procurement (GPP) high on the political agenda. Green Public Procurement is not only closely tied to key EU Green Deal targets, but also to the indispensable principle of a just and inclusive transition to the Circular Economy.

Developing circular procurement processes

Put simply, circular procurement is the process by which products and services are purchased in accordance with the principles of the circular economy, and it should function as part of the wider sustainable procurement strategy of a particular organisation. Two main pillars of circular procurement are: boosting circular supply chains by increasing demand for circular products, materials and services and promoting new business models based on innovative and resource-efficient solutions. In designing and implementing successful sustainable and circular procurement strategies, clear guidelines are half of the work. Such guidelines define the scope, identify and link existing processes as well as facilitate the planning and prioritisation of improvement measures. Such measures can take place at any of the implementation levels of circular procurement. For example, on a systems level, it is important that organisations look for collaborations and partnerships as circularity cannot be achieved alone. On a process and supply level, an eye must be on designing for disassembly, improving data exchange systems, or putting into place take-back schemes that work on a consumer level as well. Finally, on a product level, through circular procurement organisations can favour and boost innovative and sustainable materials, as well as circular design.

For public organisations – whether they are government agencies, cities or utilities – it is important to make green public procurement (GPP) more relevant through training, communication and engagement for circularity. With its extensive demand, the public sector can both lead by example and bring about substantial positive changes: improve the social well-being of citizens, create added value and support regenerative circular economy models.

For private companies, identifying relevant questions and addressing those with key stakeholders, internal and external, is the right starting point. The concept of eight steps is useful in that it takes companies through a process of rethinking their procurement models by defining the benefits of circular procurement, identifying relevant internal stakeholders, and finding ways to involve key suppliers in the value chain. Moreover, the process of developing circular procurement strategies should aim to put into place mechanisms for measuring, assessing, and sustaining the circularity of procured goods and services in the long run.

Finding solutions at all levels

Organisations of all types and sizes – private or public, corporations or small and medium-sized enterprises – are faced with various challenges, have to make decisions, and find solutions at all levels of circular procurement: technical, organisational, and financial.

At the technical level, which concerns the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials, organisations have to engage in co-design processes with researchers, start-ups, businesses, and civil society to ensure that products are not only durable, easy to maintain and fit to be repurposed but are also made of renewable and non-toxic recourses.

At the organisational level, an involvement of all partners in the supply chain, from production to end of life product, is key in ensuring circularity. Important questions to be asked include: What opportunities are there available in becoming more circular? Which products and suppliers should be prioritised to achieve a more circular supply? What structure should the contract have in order to establish a long-term relationship with the suppliers and ensure joint product responsibility?

Finally, on the financial level, organisations should make circular solutions financially viable and support measures like put in place financial incentives that ensure circularity both on the supplier side as well as on the customer/consumer side.

Tapping into the strategic power of circular procurement

Integrating circularity criteria and principles into procurement turns the latter into a powerful mechanism not only to optimise investments, but also reach multiple other goals: reduce dependencies and become more resilient, meet regulatory demands and increase the positive social and environmental impact. The CSCP supports private and public organisations in leading more circular and sustainable procurement processes and supply chains at all levels: facilitating collaborations (system level), developing and implementing strategies and new circular business models (process level), and assessing products and product portfolios (product level).

Together with you, we are also keen on going beyond and leveraging other assets, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence or the internet of things, to ensure transparency, increase resource efficiency, and improve the interaction between different productions units – all in favour of smooth and efficient circular procurement processes.

Do you share this vision? Contact us and let’s turn procurement into a strategic tool for circularity – together!

For further information, please contact Cristina Fedato.


Around one hundred participants joined the interactive webinar which focused on food retailer approaches and interventions to support more sustainable food consumption. With a broad participation of EU policymakers, food retailers, and academics, the webinar sparked a constructive discussion about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to fostering sustainable food consumption.

The webinar “Putting Solutions in the Shopping Basket” was held as a side session of the EAT@Home series, a global science-based platform dedicated to transforming global food systems. The webinar addressed these main questions:

Expert speakers and key notes:

The webinar was concluded with a lively Questions & Answers session between participants and the expert panel. A selection of questions and answers is available here.

The webinar “Putting solutions in the shopping basket: food retailer approaches and interventions to support more sustainable food consumption” was held within the framework of the VALUMICS project. VALUMICS focuses on food system dynamics and is a multi-stakeholder consortium funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

For further information, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash



How can we improve take-back schemes in order to motivate consumers to return their old electronics to the right collection points? How can behaviour change interventions support consumers in exercising their right to repair? What are the best ways to enable consumers in choosing repairable electronics? Are you aware of ideas or innovative solutions in addressing these questions? Get in touch with us and let’s foster circular behaviours together!

Electronics have become an indispensable part of people’s lives. Each European generates about 16.6kg e-waste per year, from which less than 40% is recycled*. Carbon emissions, resource depletion, and social implications are among the impacts. You can become a part the solution by supporting the Consumer Insight Action Panel (CIAP) in finding out which solutions support consumers to behave in more circular – and ultimately – sustainable ways.

How can you get involved?

CIAP’s work has been organised in sector-focused clubs. The Electronics Club consists of a group of high-level stakeholders dedicated to exchanging knowledge, benchmarking existing solutions, prototyping and testing behaviour change interventions, and leading the sector when it comes to fostering circular behaviours. The stakeholders include business, start-ups, NGOs, researchers and European policy makers. You can find more details about the clubs here.

The Electronics Club focuses on exploring ways to engage consumers more effectively in the transition towards more circularity and test behaviourally-informed approaches in retail stores, through online shopping, in neighbourhoods and households. The Electronics Club will focus on two main behaviour challenges with regards to the use of smartphones and tablets: take-back and repairing.

Have you or your organisation researched, developed or tested an innovation that helped boost either of these behaviours? Are you aware of existing innovative solutions that might be helpful, be it a new or improved product, service, business model innovation, campaign, initiative, messaging or nudge? Then get in touch with us!

Share your information on innovative solutions by contacting our consumer insights team at until 31 January 2021 with the reference ‘Call for Innovation’!

In your email, please:

Most promising innovations will be analysed by the CIAP team and referenced in the project report and results.

The Consumer Insight Action Panel (CIAP) mobilises and supports frontrunners in advancing the integration of consumer behaviour in all circular economy endeavours. To do that, CIAP connects circular production to consumption, going deeper into understanding the consumer behavioural challenges of the circular transition and unlocking the practical applications of behavioural insights to enable more circularity.

For further information, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Photo by Kilian Seile on Unsplash Unsplash


*EC, 2020

Changing behaviours of people toward acting and consuming more sustainability is complex — a major challenge being the intention-action gap — we intent to be sustainable but our actions don’t reflect that. Tackling this requires generating solutions that make it easier to change habits in long-lasting ways. Our training programme weiter_wirken aims to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in building a community of practice dedicated to achieving more sustainability in North-Rhein Westphalia (NRW).

Twenty-two NGO professionals and volunteers embarked on the four-module workshop training programme, which launched virtually in October 2020. Building upon the success of our international capacity building programme, the Academy of Change (AoC), ‘weiter_wirken’ offers its participants comprehensive training on how to generate greater impact with their sustainability projects and enable their target groups to engage in more sustainable behaviours. At the same time, the programme tries to create a networking and learning space for exchange and knowledge sharing.

The opening workshop offered an introduction on the topic of behaviour change and served as a get-to-know opportunity. The participants introduced themselves and their work through an object of their choice – a creative ice breaker for the virtual meeting. The lively exchange that followed covered a range of topics, from how to foster healthier and more sustainable food consumption practices, promote ethical clothing, or advance social equity and fairness. Throughout the programme, the participants will have the opportunity to apply the gathered input directly to their individual projects and discuss questions and challenges during workshops as well as in smaller working groups.

Further details on the training programme are available on the weiter_wirken website. You can get the latest weiter_wirken news as well as be informed about future calls for participation by subscribing to the programme’s newsletter.

‚weiter_wirken‘ is a non-profit initiative of the CSCP and its cooperating partners Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen and ecosign/ Akademie für Gestaltung. The project is funded by the Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung Nordrhein-Westfalen and runs until summer 2021.

For further questions, please contact Christian Malarciuc.