As public buyers, we are committed to leveraging procurement as a tool to create change. We aim to transition towards circular Information and Communication Technology (ICT) whilst improving the conditions of workers across the entire value chain. Achieving this ambitious goal, however, requires a multi-actor approach for implementation. Change can only happen through collaboration. We are dedicated to strengthening cooperation between us public buyers, resellers and suppliers as well as relevant partner organisations.

As a response to the urgent task at hand - ensuring fair and safe conditions for workers, we believe that there is power in setting-up actionable ambitions that can be achieved in the foreseeable future. We also acknowledge that existing or already planned framework agreements might impact the timeline of achieving those ambitions. As a major consumer of smartphones, we as a group of cities and regions declare the following ambitions:  

By 2025

  • We are tendering with harmonised criteria and clauses that push for fair and safe working conditions and environmental sustainability across the entire supply chain including raw materials extraction, manufacturing and delivery stages as well as at repairing, reuse, recycling and disposal stages of smartphones and its components.
  • We work with resellers and suppliers on the actionable increase of transparency of the supply chain and end-of-life, including locations and conditions of production. This will be possible also in hardware-as-service agreements.
  • We can apply certification and worker-driven monitoring to contribute to circularity, environmental and social responsibility supported by regular dialogue for continuous improvement.
  • We are able to extend the lifespan of purchased smartphones, including its use-phase, by for example extended service agreements that cover quick and easy repairs or replacement of components, longer warranties, improved battery efficiency performance, durable and modular design, increased timespan for operating systems.
  • We can opt-out of buying accessories such as new headphones or chargers alongside a smartphone.
  • We are able to procure 2nd-life devices, which meet all of our needs, in terms of quantity, quality, and security.
  • We aim to establish processes, internally and in collaboration with suppliers and resellers, to collect 100% of smartphones at the end of life with a view to find a second-life, reuse or remanufacture all smartphones where possible. The remaining smartphones should be recycled, critical raw materials should be safeguarded and as many materials as possible should be reused and recycled for new devices.
  • Our contract management includes capacity to follow-up through a feedback loop that informs us about what happened to components  after the end of life or to products for their 2nd life. 
  • We procure with a focus on human rights due-diligence in the contract management phase.

Background: Fair - Circular
Protecting the environment and worker rights are inextricably intertwined. Slowly but surely our society is transforming from a linear economy to a circular economy. From a sustainability perspective, the most important gains are made when extraction of natural resources is reduced, the lifespan of products is extended and at the end of life, the materials are re-circulated into production, instead of being turned to e-waste. In a circular economy addressing environmental issues must go hand in hand with solving social issues to ensure that circularity of resources does not come at the cost of workers rights, health and safety standards.

Overview of procurement spend on smartphones per year

  • The City of Malmö procures around 6,000-7,000 smartphones.
  • The City of Oslo procures around 6,500-7,000 smartphones.
  • The City of Helsinki procures approximately 6,000-7,000 smartphones.
  • Copenhagen Municipality procures around 6,000-9,000 smartphones.

We welcome other public buyers to join
Collaboration between public buyers draws from collective power to create a market for circular, fair solutions, which can subsequently be adopted by other buyers of smartphones and ultimately other ICT hardware. This Joint Statement is open to other public authorities who support the above-listed ambitions. If you are interested in learning more and to join the group, please contact Josefine Hintz.

Working together we aim to improve how ICT is being produced and consumed - taking action for the improvement of conditions for workers and ecosystems that are part of the complex, global value chain of electronics.


Disclaimer: This statement has been created under the Make ICT Fair project, which has received funding from the European Union’s EuropeAid programme under grant agreement CSO-LA12017/388-226. The sole responsibility for any error or omissions lies with the editor. The content does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Commission. The European Commission is also not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.