Our goal is to consume resources more efficiently and support tackling the waste management challenge that cities, industries and governments have. We seek to bring a local solution to each of our communities. We work with like-minded partners and advocate for certain enablers to accelerate the transition to an economy where waste is minimized and materials are kept in use for longer.
Partnerships & enablers
Holcim is committed to leading the transition towards low-carbon and circular construction by increasing the circularity of our processes and by introducing green products and solutions worldwide. From its ECOPact green concrete all the way to ORIS, the industry’s first digital platform for sustainable road construction, Holcim will accelerate the transition to circular construction with cutting edge innovation. Accelerating this effort requires regulatory environments and building standards that incentivize the use of secondary and recycled materials and lead to greater and faster market uptake of low-carbon and circular products.
Today, the rate of recycled materials in our products is unequally distributed worldwide mainly due to local regulations and standards, some of which limit the use and integration of recycled materials in products. We work with customers, regulators, decision-makers and stakeholders to enable a regulatory framework that will incentivize the increase of recycled content in building products and solutions, build value-chain confidence and create markets in circular solutions. This includes:
- Integrating circularity performance in building codes, public procurement, and product standards, alongside traditional criteria (safety, performance, durability and affordability).
- Ensuring that construction policies and standards integrate harmonized life cycle assessments for buildings to reflect the desired CO2 and circularity performance and to respect the principles of material and technology neutrality.
- Involving actors across the construction value chain in integrating lifecycle carbon performance and circularity principles in business models and in all decision-making processes.
- Enabling the recovery and recycling of residual waste, that would otherwise be assigned to landfill or incinerated, in industrial processes. This requires a strict enforcement of landfill bans, recognition of such processes in international waste convention (e.g. introducing a dedicated R15 “co-processing” code in the Basel Convention), and not limiting to movement of waste within the single market.
Using waste as a resource can be difficult to implement due to the lack of knowledge regarding the quantity and quality of the waste streams. One of the study areas of the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium is to enable circularity across different industries. We actively engage in this study and advocate for the development of market platforms that would:
- provide clarity of all the waste materials available,
- include optimal ways these materials could be recycled,
- find the right synergies between all stakeholders in a certain region.
Striving to increase secondary material use
If we could build with 50% materials from old buildings, we would save 50% of the virgin materials needed from nature and a substantially reduced carbon footprint. For example Susteno in Switzerland is the world’s most circular cement, made with 20% recycled construction and demolition waste. We are now testing the use of up to 50% without compromising performance and safety. Standards must evolve to enable us to do so.