Circular disruption in the buildings value chain

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In recent months, the buildings value chain has experienced increased emphasis on the transition to a circular economy. The transition has always been impeded by inconsistent definition – and thus understanding, the lack of a tangible business case and inadequate regulatory drivers.

The definition, however, is now becoming clearer. This has been made possible by new regulation such as the EU taxonomy and the EU’s Sustainable Products Initiative, which includes both a revision of the construction products regulation and the new Eco-design for Sustainable Products Regulation.

An increased pressure on the investment community is also being witnessed via the application of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), which is forcing investors to clearly label investments with respect to their sustainable impact. The transition to a circular economy is part of the EU taxonomy and thus “labeled” as having a sustainable impact with respect to influencing and guiding investment decisions.

When the above is coupled with the recognition that it is virtually impossible to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement without transitioning to a circular economy, significant disruption across the buildings value chain is now expected that will make integration of circular economy principles into the different actors of the buildings value chain shift from a ‘nice-to-do’ to a ‘must-do’.

The ripple effect of aggressive regulation coupled with investor and customer expectations means that no actor within the buildings value chain will be unaffected by the anticipated circular disruption with all actors being pressured to deliver upon the value chains necessity to transition to a circular economy.

The figure below illustrates the key actors within the value chain and the interconnectivity. In the following paragraphs some key issues that each actor will face are further elaborated upon.

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