Circular concrete: towards a concrete agreement for Flanders
Ambition text with roadmap to more sustainable concrete
There is an increasing demand for circular concrete. That is, for example, concrete with recycled aggregates or alternative binders. The number of companies offering such innovative concrete is growing steadily, yet the big wave of circular concrete projects is still not happening. Two of the system bottlenecks are the lack of sufficient available high-quality concrete aggregates and the reluctance to prescribe circular concrete in tenders and tender documents.
Together with the project partners, Groen Beton Vert wants to remedy this problem through a systematic top-down approach that aims to engage all relevant parties at the Flemish level. By analogy with the Dutch Concrete Agreement, we want to chart a joint ambitious path towards the future.
In co-creation with all stakeholders, we formulate answers to the following major bottlenecks: insufficient integration of sustainable solutions in tenders, the lack of trust and proper chain operation and a shortage of high-quality aggregates. The various project partners are also developing instruments to translate their commitment into concrete results on a technical level (e.g. type specifications for demolition and concrete works) and on a policy level (e.g. incentives).
Groen Beton Vert vzw
PartnersEmbuild Vlaanderen, Buildwise, Vereniging van sloop-, ontmantelings- en recyclingbedrijven (VSOR), Fedbeton
In cocreation with a broad group of stakeholders from the concrete chain, a text of ambitions and a roadmap to make concrete greener and more circular were produced.
We drafted several technical documents to stimulate the supply and demand of circular concrete, such as specifications and guidelines for more thorough selective demolition.
Thanks to various events (presentation at Batibouw, Concrete Day, action day Green Deal Circular Construction...), good communication and the creation of the websitewww.betonakkoord-vlaanderen.be, the theme received wide interest and a lot of press attention.
Support for the Flemish Concrete Agreement is high: the declaration of commitment has already been signed by more than 70 parties (contractors, concrete producers, clients, federations, etc.).
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Seeking consensus is a difficult process, especially over an ambitious text concerning (the many facets of) concrete. It is important to ensure a coherently composed group at the outset, both in terms of parties and individuals.
Sustainable concrete has many facets that are not always easy to reconcile. Do we look at concrete from the material level, application level, building level, or do we focus on CO2 emissions, on the use of primary raw materials ... The safety aspect and standardisation also play a crucial role.
The Flemish Concrete Agreement is dynamic and does not stop at the end of this project. To make the agreement a success story, continued commitment is needed.
The government plays a role that should not be underestimated in the realisation of the concrete agreement and the broadening of the application of circular concrete.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The work is not finished. Follow-up and further resonance are necessary to make the Flemish Concrete Agreement a real success story and broaden the application of circular concrete. The agreement will be included in the Living Lab Circular Concrete for three years. In that project, among other things, the stated ambitions will be monitored and signatories will be motivated to continue working towards more circular concrete.