World Economic Forum 2024

The 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, the theme of which was "Rebuilding Trust", provided a crucial space to focus on the fundamental principles driving trust, including transparency, consistency and accountability. This Annual Meeting welcomed over 100 governments, all major international organizations, 1000 Forum’s Partners, as well as civil society leaders, experts, youth representatives, social entrepreneurs, and news outlets. 

This year’s World Economic Forum was marked by significant recognitions, partnerships and events for Holcim. Our ECOCycle® circular technology was named a “Circularity Lighthouse in the Built Environment”, in a joint initiative between McKinsey & Company and the World Economic Forum. The Circularity Lighthouse designation recognizes pioneering solutions that demonstrate a novel, distinctive circularity approach, proven and substantial impact and value, with significant scale and maturity.

To further accelerate circularity in the built environment, we entered a Network Partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate circularity in the built environment. With this partnership, Holcim aims to support businesses, cities and public authorities in creating a circular economy for the built environment with toolkits, science-based research, advocacy and coalition-building.

Holcim also hosted several events dedicated to decarbonizing the built environment and making our cities circular and resilient.

  • Date:  15 -19 January, 2024
  • Location: Davos, Switzerland

Goals House Dinner - "Building partnerships for circular construction"

The built environment is one of the most powerful engines of the circular economy. Implementing circularity models is a strategic imperative for sustainable and innovative construction practices. Recognizing the leading role of public authorities, it is crucial for cities and businesses to team up to overcome the challenges on the way to circular construction. Together with Goals House, Holcim gathered the movers and doers driving circular construction in cities to showcase partnerships that have delivered progress and to explore how we can accelerate the pace. The discussion brought about many interesting insights and perspectives:

  • Host: Holcim
  • Date: 18 January, 2024


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Rasmus Nørgaard, Co-founder & Board Member of NREP and Founder of Home.Earth

“From a lifecycle perspective the incentive is there to make construction circular. But most real estate investors and developers have a short-term perspective, so circularity seems cumbersome and costly. That’s why we need to create a long-term vision and integrate across the value chain.”

Joe Murphy, Executive Lead, Network, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

“Many design, technological and finance solutions for circular cities are out there, ready. We know we need deep change to the industry to address the root causes, but at the same time, market signals should be driving more traction. At times it can be as simple as developers, investors and construction companies not knowing the solutions are there.”

Katie McGinty, VP & Chief Sustainability, External Relations Officer at Johnson Controls

“Sourcing steel from building materials, scraps, demolition and old equipment enables us to build new equipment with almost 80% less carbon. As we think about how first COVID, then a ship stuck in the Suez Canal, and now unrest in the Red Sea have wreaked havoc on supply chains, sourcing steel from reclaimed materials isn’t just good for the planet, it makes our supply chains much more resilient as well.”

Annie Hills, Senior Advisor, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

“In addition to government incentives to decarbonize building materials such as concrete, you need to know there will be demand for it. On the customer side, people will need to understand and care about the carbon footprint of concrete.”

Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT Senseable City Lab, Founding partner at Carlo Ratti Associati design and innovation office

"It's very important to have events such as WEF to bring different people together, not only architects, to talk about the future of the built environment and try to fast track innovation. Only through innovation can we make our cities more sustainable, circular and liveable."

Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Officer, Holcim

"Building cities from cities is all about engaging across the entire value chain of buildings to align in our actions to move faster together and make construction circular at all stages."

We also spoke to circularity thought leaders and experts for deeper insights into what it will take to make the built environment truly circular:

Holcim x Bloomberg Roundtable - "Profitable Business Models for Decarbonizing the Urban Value Chain"

To accelerate the decarbonization of the built environment, the world will need companies with demonstrably strong business models able to attract investment into sustainable and circular development. Among the industries ripe for transformation is the building materials sector, which could potentially gain €110 billion of annual net value through 2050 by adopting circular systems and technologies, while reducing its carbon footprint by 80 percent, according to McKinsey. What will it take to make decarbonization a driver for profitable growth in hard-to-abate sectors? What does a full life-cycle assessment reveal about the true cost and savings to be achieved from decarbonizing cities? What would it take to ramp up climate investments to support decarbonization roadmaps and circular business models?

This roundtable, hosted by Holcim Chairman and CEO Jan Jenisch, convened a diverse group of executive decision-makers and city experts to build the case for strong business models that can accelerate the low-carbon transition of the global urban value chain.

  • Host: Holcim and Bloomberg Media
  • Date: 17 January, 2024

I'm grateful for the opportunity we get at WEF to engage with public authorities to evolve building norms and regulations to specify more low-carbon and circular products in their building projects procurement standards, as well as the chance to partner with other like-minded companies to accelerate the transition to circular building.

Miljan Gutovic| Region Head Europe

Holcim at other WEF 2024 events

The Right Stuff – A New Relationship with Materials

The equivalent surface area of São Paulo is built every week. Advances in new materials create options to build cities that are circular, affordable and beautiful. 

What innovative approaches to construction materials can lead to more livable places across the globe? 

In this session hosted by WEF, alongside other speakers, Nollaig Forrest explored circular approaches to achieving more sustainable materials through construction and design, manufacturing and supply, and policy and regulation in order to curb the adverse consequences of extraction, production and use and meet the urgent global needs of increased affordability, resilience and quality of places and communities.

  • Host: WEF
  • Date: 16 January, 2024 at 08:15 CET 
  • Holcim speaker: Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Office

Nature Positive Strategy: What should your sector’s priority actions be?

Faced with the intertwined challenges of climate change and nature loss, businesses urgently need to take action to transform and innovate their operations and value chain. While 83% of Fortune Global 500 companies have climate change targets, only 5% of companies have assessed their impacts on nature, with less than 1% understanding their dependencies. A robust nature strategy with sector-specific understanding is the foundation for any companies to meaningfully contribute to halting and reversing nature loss by 2030. 

In the lead-up to UNCBD COP16 in 2024, this session, organized by the World Economic Forum, mobilized business ambition, unpacked the necessary elements of a nature strategy, signposted available resources, and identified key barriers for implementation and uptake. Nollaig Forrest led the discussion on "Built Environment/Cement and Concrete and Manufacturing" to explore what is needed to bring more nature-positive actions and strategies into participants' organizations and the private sector more generally.

  • Host: World Economic Forum, Oliver Wyman, and InTent
  • Date: 18 January, 2024
  • Holcim speaker: Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Office

Get in touch

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Learn more about circular construction

ECOCycle® enables the world's first fully recycled concrete building

A 220-unit social housing complex called “Recygénie” is currently under construction outside Paris, France. Built in partnership with Seqens and using a custom concrete made with Holcim’s ECOCycle® technology, this is the first fully recycled concrete building in the world.

Holcim insulation delivering up to 40% better thermal performance inside world’s largest ‘Passive House’

Holcim’s broad range of solutions, from advanced roofing systems and insulation to concrete thermal activation, are making buildings around the world more sustainable in use.


Discover how to build a circular city



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