Essenscia CAN (Circulair Aankopen Netwerk - Circular Procurement Network)

Circular inspiration for companies from the chemical and life sciences sector

Essenscia, the Belgian federation of the chemical and life sciences industry, represents the most important economic sector of the Flemish industry. This means that we have a great deal of leverage to spread the transition to the circular economy on a large scale. In turn, we can inspire sectors of which we are the supplier.

With the essenscia CAN (Circular Purchasing Network) project, we want to stimulate companies in our sector and provide them with tools to embed the circular economy in their business management. It is a sector-specific learning network on circular procurement with various inspiration sessions. During these sessions, we raise awareness among companies about the advantages of circular procurement and present circular business models.

With essenscia CAN we also show how important good cooperation is for the circular economy. We make certain innovations in the field of purchasing policy more transparent and we provide monitoring tools for suppliers. We also highlight the essential role of a company's procurement department in integrating sustainable practices into the supply chain.


  1. We organised sector-specific workshops that provided inspiration through examples of companies already buying/selling circularly, tips & tricks, a clear view on the preconditions of circular procurement and on the opportunities of four innovative circular business models.
  2. The inspiration sessions also focused on possible stumbling blocks in the transition to circular procurement, such as certain standards on the use of recycled materials, customer approval procedures in case of raw material changes, the availability of circular products, etc.
  3. We developed an electronic 'circular procurement' guide with information from the workshops and practical tools for the companies in our sector. This guide is freely available on our website.
  4. We put a lot of effort into communication: via our website, the electronic newsletter and our working groups on sustainable development and communication. Information was also shared via LinkedIn and the Flanders Circular network, and invitations were distributed.


  1. Essenscia CAN gave participants valuable new insights into what circular procurement can mean for their own organisations. We showed that innovations in procurement are possible and that the procurement department plays an important role in integrating sustainable practices into the supply chain.
  2. The project gave interesting insights from the sales side: how customer demand can change, and how a company can gain value from more circular business models.
  3. We noticed that it was difficult to bring buyers themselves to the table. From that side, there was only limited interest in participating in the workshops.
  4. During the inspiration sessions, many new contacts were made between companies (suppliers and buyers) to experiment together with circular economy.
3 sector-specific inspiring events
1 free e-guide on circular procurement
4 innovation circular business models


Essenscia CAN was a subsidised project that has since been terminated, but all our project results will continue to be available via the website.

In addition, our Essenscia Wallonie department has committed itself to participating as a facilitator in the Walloon green deal 'achats durable'. The lessons learned from essenscia CAN will continue to be disseminated, first of all among the Walloon members, but also to the Walloon authorities. In this way, we will be able to broaden the impact of the project to the entire country.