Sustainable construction: making the most of our resources

Construction & demolition waste (C&DW) clearly needs to be tackled at EU level.  According to the European Commission, it accounts for 25% of the EU’s total waste production per year, amounting to 500 million tonnes, 320 to 380 million of which is concrete. Tackling such waste will contribute to ensuring a sustainable use of natural resources, resource efficiency and, of course, sustainable construction.

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Concrete & construction - an engine for growth!

The financial crisis has taken its toll on Europe and its citizens and, although there are some glimpses of growth, the EU still has a long way to go.  It is therefore essential for the EU to focus on key sectors which can contribute towards job creation and economic growth.  In this respect, the construction sector clearly has a lot to offer.  It is the greatest industrial employer in Europe with some 20 million jobs – this is an important figure particularly when taking into account a recent European Commission analysis which concludes that one job created in construction translates into the creation of two additional jobs elsewhere. In addition, the construction sector is the largest single economic activity in Europe.  Indeed, for every €1 spent on construction output a total of €3 are generated in total economic activity (GDP increase).

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In a world where resources are becoming more and more scarce, the European Union needs to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by becoming a resource efficient economy.
Buildings use a significant share of our resources in materials, energy, water and land, and at the end of their lives they make up a third of all waste; therefore they play an important part in this transition. If we want the European building sector to become more competitive and more viable in the future, we need to attain higher resource efficiency levels. The potential to make savings in both costs and materials and to reduce the impact on the environment in the buildings sector is an important one.

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Concrete: the backbone of sustainable construction

March was an important month for our work in the field of sustainable construction, culminating in a Stakeholders' Debate on 27 March on how we can tackle the challenges for the future. This is just the first building block of an exciting new campaign at EU level: The Concrete Initiative! For us, as representatives of the concrete industry, the primary goal is to engage with key stakeholders at EU level on what is needed to achieve sustainable construction, what do we have to offer, and what policy framework is required. Under the emblem of The Concrete Initiative, we have joined forces with BIBM (the European Federation for Precast Concrete) and ERMCO (the European Ready-Mixed Concrete Organisation) to initiate a reflection on what solutions we, as a sector, can provide, and what is expected from us.

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