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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.
Although the Campaign will be officially launched in Brussels on 27 May 2014, The Concrete Initiative is already engaging with relevant stakeholders in this field, and the Stakeholders' Debate on 27 March was a key part of this. Not only has this debate provided our sector with valuable food for thought, it has enabled a real exchange on the challenges which need to be tackled to ensure the sustainable construction can be achieved across Europe. Our sector has already initiated an internal reflection on what we believe we have to offer under the three pillars of sustainable construction, namely society, the economy and the environment. However, this debate has allowed us to launch a much more long-term reflection process which aims to challenge conventional wisdom and see how we can go further, including by collaboration with other actors. Many important issues were raised which need to be considered in relation to sustainable construction. For example, which skills and what type of training will workers in the sector need to acquire? How can we convince the financial sector to invest in sustainable buildings and infrastructure? How can we make sure that in designing these new building we don't forget fire safety elements?
All of these valuable points will now provide the basis for further interaction as we move forward. This debate is much larger that the concrete sector alone, therefore we will continue to engage with key actors on the Brussels scene - So watch this space for the official launch of The Concrete Initiative on 27 May!

Koen Coppenholle,
CEMBUREAU Chief Executive

debate, stakeholders, challenges, sustainable construction, skills, finance, fire safety

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