The circular economy: what’s it about?
We are fully aware of the need to tackle resource scarcity and, as such, seek to reduce and optimise the use of raw materials (e.g. aggregates, petrol, metal, etc.) wherever possible right from the design phase of our projects. Ecodesign and materials upcycling are therefore two major focuses of the Group’s circular economy strategy.
That’s why we are changing our working methods, business models and services in line with the circular economy, in order to address the following issues.
- Upstream of production
- Reducing the use of extracted materials such as sand, ore, gypsum, phosphorus and water; global growing demand is leading to overexploitation and disrupting the capacity for natural renewal of resources and consequently the stocks available.
- Combating the fragmentation and depletion of natural habitats, including the division of natural areas and wildlife corridors. Putting pressure on resources reduces the resilience of ecosystems where materials are sourced. The excess of extraction and transformation sites, transportation and waste processing sites are also contributing to fragmenting the natural habitats of plant and animal species. Management of resources (water and pollution treatment for example) can also damage our ecosystems. More details can be found in our Biodiversity action plan.
- Downstream of production
- Reducing soil, water and air pollution.
- Reducing land pressure to combat the problem of excessive land use and achieve “zero net artificialisation.”
- Encouraging upcycling and recycling cycles for materials; replacing the extraction of raw materials with the reuse of existing resources or generating recycled primary materials.
All of these initiatives to help the circular economy contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore make up a large part of our low carbon strategy.
The circular economy charter
Halfway through 2019, a charter outlining Eiffage’s commitments to the circular economy was shared to inform our teams and share best practices within the Group’s various business lines.
The circular economy applied to the Eiffage business lines
Eiffage is one of the 33 major French companies in the national association of private enterprises (AFEP) who made a pledge in 2017 to develop their circular economy approach. They renewed that commitment in the second half of 2019.
To limit the use of raw materials, our teams favour practices that involve reusing and upcycling materials. Crushing waste from deconstruction and reusing it to make recycled gravel (controlling the grain size) to build roads and buildings as part of major urban development projects, recovering materials from projects, obtaining grants for recyclable equipment and tools, engaging in selective deconstruction and sharing heating networks are a few of the numerous virtuous business practices that may soon become the norm. The circular economy is being incorporated into all of the Group’s business lines, creating even greater potential for development.
- Further incorporating recycled and renewable materials in our activities
- Prolonging the lifespan of structures and materials by facilitating reuse and recycling
- Fostering the transition of our manufacturing processes and reducing the amount of unrecoverable waste as much as possible
- Working with professionals, scientists and associations through collaborative development initiatives
The keys to success
- Rolling out a sustainable strategy for resource management
- Developing and accelerating our eco-innovation strategy
- Measuring, directing and controlling the performance of our solutions