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Circular economy in construction: Call for an expert platform for circular materials, products and buildings

United in the will to put circular thinking at the heart of the construction sector, major European construction actors come together with environmental and standardisation stakeholders to jointly request a comprehensive strategy on circular economy in construction, that takes into account opportunities and challenges, develops goals with regard to circularity, and builds upon greater coherence of existing policy objectives and initiatives.

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Made up of more than 3 million enterprises, the construction sector generates about 9 % of EU gross domestic product and provides 18 million direct jobs. But the importance of the sector goes even beyond that. Indeed, construction enterprises play a fundamental role for the comfort and well-being of the European population through the way they build and maintain homes and commercial buildings.

At the same time, the sector produces Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) accounting for 25-30 % of all waste created in the EU, making it one of the most important waste streams. A challenge that all the signatories of the declaration "Construction in the circular economy: Towards circular materials, products and buildings" want to face by joining forces and promoting the objective of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan which aims to make the EU economy circular.

Through a number of legislative acts, voluntary initiatives, EU-funded research projects, and the Construction 2020 thematic group on “Sustainable use of natural resources”, the European Union and relevant stakeholders have joined forces to better promote the sustainability of buildings and raise awareness on recycled/reused construction materials and products in recent years.

However, in order to make circular economy a lasting reality in the construction sector, a comprehensive strategy is required that should be developed at an expert platform within the future construction policy initiative (currently “Construction 2020”). The signatories of the declaration make this call and put forward guiding principles for a coherent and engaging multi-stakeholder approach on circular construction and sustainable buildings. Riccardo Viaggi, CECE Secretary General concluded: “By signing this declaration, construction value chain shows once again the strong collaboration between all actors of the construction industry at the EU level in order to engage in strategic steering of a circular construction economy that benefits circularity.

Source: CECE - Committee for European Construction Equipment

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