Concrete and construction – an engine for growth
Construction drives economic growth, innovation and jobs. It is the largest single economic activity and the greatest industrial employer in Europe with some 20 million jobs. The concrete industry as a whole employs some 550 000 people in the EU and generates approximately €65 000 added value per employed capita per annum. A European Commission analysis has concluded that one job created in construction means two additional jobs are created elsewhere. Therefore the construction sector, including concrete, is fundamental to stimulating Europe's recovery. However, it needs the right economic incentives to encourage innovation, create local jobs and ensure the right skills levels in the next generation.
The sector plays a significant role in promoting economic growth, particularly through its links with other manufacturing sectors. For example, the transport industry relies on concrete for metro systems and railways. Concrete can help grow Europe's "Smart Cities" of the future by constructing and improving both buildings and infrastructure.
Positive economic aspects also lead to social and environmental benefits - demonstrating how the three pillars of sustainability are interlinked and interdependent.
Concrete is a local business, employing local people. Money and investment in construction are pumped back into the local economy.
The components that go into making concrete – aggregates, cement, and water - are also sourced locally. The production value also remains local. Most ready-mixed concrete is only transported around 20 to 30km from the production site. Some high-value manufactured concrete products are transported up to 200km. With this heavy emphasis on the local, the sector is vitally important to the strengthening of local economies and delivering a stable, continuous source of jobs and economic activity - local European products for the local European market.
Concrete is a main enabler of modern construction. It has limitless potential for innovation and new ways to enhance the performance of the material, which provide ever greater returns on small investments, which make a big difference to our everyday lives. Innovations include pervious concrete, which replicates the natural infiltration of water into soil thereby reducing flooding and the negative impacts of soil sealing. Meanwhile photocatalytic concretes can remove pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide from the air - they are "smog-eating" and self-cleaning!
Best buy, beautiful and bountiful!
Concrete is widely available and affordable without compromising on quality and strength. It offers versatility and stunning aesthetic qualities. As concrete can be poured on-site to any required shape, it allows architects and engineers to express complex, dynamic and attractive forms. Innovation over the past 30 years in high-strength concrete gives designers even more flexibility than ever before. In addition, the strength, colour and finish can also be specified.