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Circular Procurement Promoted Via Rental Services for Sustainable Consumption

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On 12 December 2022, the EPA held a press conference in POPOP Taipei to promote sustainable consumption and production in efforts to reduce the environmental impacts from consumption. Among invited attendees were domestic enterprises that provide excellent rental services. Besides the premiere of a promotion video on sustainable procurement, the “Guide on Sustainable Procurement” was preannounced during the event with Rifat, a well-known Turkish influencer, present as the ambassador to advocate sustainable procurement.

Past consumption and production followed the models of a linear economy, leading to resource depletion and carbon emission that has put the Earth under the heightened threat of climate change. Data released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2022 shows that in 2021 global carbon emission reached 36.3 billion metric tons, setting a new historic high. Moreover, the UN’s statistics demonstrate that global resource use has tripled since 1970 with a prediction that by 2060 it will be 1.5 times the present use. The world is now heading toward a shortage of natural resources.

The EPA has been advocating the idea of using instead of owning, and now there are available rental services provided by various enterprises. They range from utensils, clothing, electronic products, motorcycles and vehicles, to furniture, and adopt business models aiming for a circular economy. The circular procurement policy, stipulated this year, includes providing procurement guidelines and formulating mutual supply contracts. Public sectors like government offices and schools will take the lead to implement relevant measures and be the first to put in practice the business model that promote using instead of owning, renting instead of buying. This way a supply chain for circular services can be gradually established with enforcement on environmental education to promote green consumption. With forces on the consumption end joining together, enterprises would be motivated to put modulization, easy disassembly, and easy maintenance into consideration at the stage of product design and also develop services like extended warranty and maintenance. It will extend products’ service life and cut down resource assumption.

“My awareness and understanding of environmental protection began here in Taiwan,” said Rifat, who was greatly impressed by garbage sorting here as Taiwanese participate in environmental protection, starting in their own homes. Also, he shared experiences on maintenance and rental of camera equipment, with which he has had the most personal connection on environmental protection. Friends often told him to purchase new equipment when old ones broke down, yet he preferred maintenance as he thought what he has owned is sufficient and would not want to have more and then leave them used as well. With many rental platforms emerging in recent years, it is convenient and with less burden to rent equipment to satisfy his occasional needs for more advanced gear.

Emphasizing the importance of individual actions, Rifat stated that Taiwan has limited land space and limited resources compared to the enormous amount of garbage generated on a daily basis. He encouraged everyone to strive for a better and more sustainable future and would work on spreading the awareness of sustainable procurement.

Furthermore, invitees at the press conference were many enterprises under the three major categories providing rental options besides purchase, which are food and beverages, home appliances, and technology and electronics. Their rental services cover reusable food containers, beddings, household appliances, home furniture, electronic products, and lighting, etc. The EPA hoped to attract more product and service provides as well as consumers to participate in the promotion of sustainable consumption and production.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, December 2022
Ministry of Environment