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Holcim, Bloomberg set the bar in circular construction



Holcim has partnered with Bloomberg Media to develop the Circular Cities Barometer, an initiative to advocate for circular construction in fast developing urban settings.

The partnership was announced in an interview between Holcim chief executive officer Jan Jenisch and Bloomberg Green general manager Lauren Kiel at the Bloomberg Year Ahead virtual summit.

Jenisch explained the need to transition the construction economy from a linear to a circular one.

“Circularity is the opportunity of our time. On the world’s growth trajectories, we are set to consume 2.3 planets by 2040,” Jenisch said.

“To make this work for people and the planet, we need to shift from a linear ‘take, make waste’ economy, to a circular ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ one.”

The partnership will see Holcim and Bloomberg unveil their first results of the Barometer at Bloomberg’s Green Earth Summit in April.

Holcim has already positioned itself as a world leader in recycled construction materials and Jenisch listed a few ways it achieved this.

“First, we are recycling materials across all of our products. In 2021 alone, we recycled over 50 million tonnes of materials as one of the biggest waste recyclers in the world. We also set a target to double this by 2030,” Jenisch said.

“Second, we are reducing building materials by empowering smart design. We’re developing an innovative lightweight flooring system, for instance, with the Swiss University ETH.”

The flooring project aims to achieve 50 per cent fewer contained materials and an 80 per cent lower carbon footprint, compared to traditional structures.

“Thirdly, we are repairing and renovating buildings to make them last longer,” Jenisch continued.

“In Europe, 80 per cent of today’s buildings will still be in use by 2050, so we need to make them energy efficient.”

The partnership’s focus on cities was inspired by the world’s exponential growth in urban areas, both in population and construction.

“We expect about 70 per cent of the world’s population to be living in cities by 2050, adding another 2.5 billion people,” Jenisch said.

“This gives them the critical mass to make a difference because that’s where the world is being built at the moment with broad access to recycled materials.”

The partnership will allow Holcim to understand the barriers to achieving a truly circular economy in urban construction, with the help of Bloomberg, researchers and investors.

Jenisch described the kind of world he envisions to mitigate issues of waste which have exacerbated climate change.

“A circular city is many things. They are powered by renewable energy, they’re connected by green mobility, they’re built with smart buildings with nature inside and much more,” he said.

“With Bloomberg, we want to go deeper in our understanding of what makes a city circular, what levers are at play, what works best, what can be replicated and what kind of bottlenecks are in the way.

“By better understanding the fabric of a circular city, we can empower more circular living so that we can all play our part.”

Watch the full interview below: 

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