The Concrete Initiative - sustainable construction

CEMBUREAU Quartely Economic Report now available (Q4 2014)

Published by CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association, this Quarterly Economic Report (QER) provides an overview of economic conditions across Europe.  It includes information on macroeconomic conditions, GDP, industrial activity and construction.  Country specific summaries are also included for Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Cement and Concrete Industry: Multiplier Effect on the Economy and their Contribution to a Low Carbon Economy

On 19 November, The Concrete Initiative launched the results of a study by consulting group Le Bipe, focusing on the multiplier effect of the cement and concrete industry on Europe's economy.  The study clearly concludes that this inportant industry contributes to local growth and jobs in a low carbon economy.  in fact, for every € generated in this sector, €2.8 are generated elsewhere in the economy. Here you will find a brief summary of the results of this study as well as adirect link to the study itself.

Commission consults on impacts of legislation on construction

Is European legislation having a negative impact on the competitiveness of the construction sector?  This is the question behind the recently launched European Commission consultation, which aims to gather feedback on the impact of EU legislation on the construction sector. It covers 15 pieces of EU legislation in the following policy fields: Internal Market, Energy Efficiency, Environment and Health & Safety.

Concrete Dialogue 2017: Renewing Europe’s infrastructure ( Presentations & Summary)

From water supplies to energy production, roads to bridges, infrastructure plays an essential role in our day-to-day lives. Without finding ways to improve it, we will not be able to face future environmental concerns. That is why Concrete Dialogue 2017: Renewing Europe’s infrastructure: needs, challenges and opportunities debated and addressed the infrastructure challenges in Europe and identified sustainable solutions for the future.

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.

Driving sustainable building practices

With the aim of supporting sustainable property development,  the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Europe Regional Network of the World Green Building Council (WGBC) have joined forces to work on improving energy and resource efficiency, whilst at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

EPBD review consultation launched

On 1 July 2015, the European Commission (DG Energy) launched a public consultation on the review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). 

Networking dinner with the newly elected European Parliament

On 26 November 2014, The Concrete Initiative will be organising a networking dinner at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with recently elected MEPs. This event will be kindly hosted by MEP Julie Girling (European Conservatives and Reformists Group, UK) and aims to raise awareness about The Concrete Initiative and it input to the sustainable construction debate.

The role of cement and concrete in the circular economy

Cement and concrete play a central role in the circular economy. But in order to fully unleash the potential of these two sectors, which are essential to society, we need to define, develop and implement the right policy framework. Perhaps I should start by highlighting why we are essential, as this point often seems to be overlooked when discussing policies, regulation and legislation. Cement and concrete ensure that we have homes and offices, schools and hospitals, as well as transport infrastructure. Not only that, we are a European industry – our entire life cycle is based in Europe and we hope to stay that way!

The strategic importance of Europe’s construction sector

18 million direct jobs. 9% of GDP. These are just some of the key figures highlighted in a new European Commission report on the importance of Europe’s construction sector.  However, as indicated in the report, the contribution of Europe’s construction industry goes way beyond these economic and growth priorities. 

To what extent should authorities promote the use of recycled aggregates for concrete?

Over the last ten years, politicians and stakeholders alike have focused on better production and use of energy. Nevertheless, energy is not the only resource which can have environmental, economic and geopolitical impacts. All raw materials can play a role, albeit to a different extent. For example, whilst rare earths are scarce in Europe, many other raw materials, such as limestone and aggregates are abundantly available.  In my view, it is therefore wrong to consider that a strategy which is valid for one material can apply to all others. In addition, to consider recycling as the objective for “resource efficiency” would also lead to erroneous decisions. This is why policies should promote the efficient use of locally available materials for a desired purpose.

Using innovative materials to reduce road emissions

On 19 November 2015, the DG Environment publication "Science for Environment Policy" published an article concerning a study entitled “Carbon footprint comparison of innovative techniques in the construction and maintenance of road infrastructure in The Netherlands”. 

WEF 2015 Global Risks Report: risks of rapid an unplanned urbanisation in developing countries

Ahead of the World Economic Forum Annual meeting in Davos, the Global Risks 2015 Report was issued by the organisers. One of the chapters from the report is dedicated to the risks of rapid and unplanned urbanisation in developing countries. The report starts off by reminding us that, by 2050, city dwellers are expected to account for more than two-thirds of the world’s population. It emphasises that urbanisation can bring important benefits for development as cities are an efficient way of organizing people’s lives: they enable economies of scale and network effects, reduce the need for transportation and thereby make economic activity more environment-friendly. However, a large part of the chapter focuses on the need to manage risks in the face of four major challenges: infrastructure, health, climate change and social instability. The rapid expansion of cities, especially in developing countries, requires adequate global infrastructure and here the Report calls for public-private collaboration to involve the private sector in the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure. It emphasises the negative effects of air pollution, mostly caused by cars, to health of citizens. The report also calls for leadership of the private sector with local governments which it considers at the heart of urban mitigation and adaptation to climate change.  Finally, the Report states that moving to a city offers individuals more opportunities and improves their living conditions but it also warns that the high costs of living and competition for livelihoods can trap people in poverty and lead to social instability.
As private actors that contribute to building the sustainable cities and infrastructure of tomorrow, we should not be deterred by these risks but consider them as an opportunity to engage on a scale which goes beyond the specific product we produce and makes us reach out to society at large. 
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