Study on measuring the application of circular approaches in the construction industry ecosystem

Chloé Brincat, Indira de Graaf, Cleónice León Vargas, Andreas Mitsios and Nina Neubauer and Katherine Adams and Gilli Hobbs

The construction ecosystem contributes some 11.5% of the EU’s Gross Value Added and employs almost 25 million people in over 5 million firms, most of which are SMEs. In line with the Circular Economy Action Plan, the transition to a circular economy in construction has the potential to enable more value to be retained within the industry’s value chains and offer new opportunities for innovation, as well as reducing environmental impacts. This study presents new insights on the uptake of circularity approaches, obtained from 300+ stakeholders from across the EU construction ecosystem. The work found that while the vast majority of construction ecosystem stakeholders consider the transition to a circular economy to be a priority, only a minority of them (below 25% on average) actively measure their own circular approaches. To facilitate this transition, barriers need to be overcome, including the lack of standardisation and interoperability of data and measurement approaches, as well as data availability issues across value chains. Drivers can be explored to counteract these barriers, including harmonising data formats across the EU/industry, encouraging circular business opportunities, and regulating in support of the circular transition. To support future measurement of the uptake of circular approaches in construction, the report recommends indicators that construction ecosystem actors could use at four different levels: product/material; building/infrastructure; organisation/process; and urban.

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