Edited by Charles Edquist, Nicholas S Vonortas, Jon M Zabala-Iturriagagoitia and Jakob Edler
Chapter 9: Closing the loop: examining the case of the procurement of a sustainable innovation
The potential of public procurement of innovation to address ‘grand challenges’, such as sustainability, is increasingly acknowledged in both policy and academic circles (Edler and Georghiou, 2007; Edquist and Zabala-Iturriagagoitia, 2012). Procurement is indeed increasingly being used to address multiple policy agendas and objectives, be these social, environmental or otherwise (Erridge, 2004; McCrudden, 2004). This chapter explores the potential of the public sector to pursue specific sustainability goals through the procurement of innovation. This is done through an examination of a UK government initiative to collect and recover its own paper waste and produce a ‘closed-loop’ recycled copier paper. The model involves the shredding of confidential paper waste on-site, and the subsequent processing of this waste into recycled copier paper off-site, which is then sold back to government departments for their use. A key innovation in this process is the earmarking of paper supply for return to the (contributing) client organization. Creating a ‘closed loop’, the paper introduced traceability into waste disposal, ensured data security, stabilized expenditure on paper, reduced associated costs, and enabled both supplier and government client to capitalize on a burgeoning paper market. We detail how the parties involved also stimulated organizational, environmental and supply chain innovation through their procurement (purchasing) activities to achieve a more efficient, more sustainable and more cost-effective outcome. This chapter therefore deals with the process leading to the development and co-design of the ‘closed loop’, and addresses the main drivers and barriers influencing this particular innovation.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.