The importance of sustainability in the construction chemicals industry
Interview with Eric Dehasque, President of the European Federation for Construction Chemicals (EFCC)
One of the main reasons for the revision of the European Construction Products Regulation was to better address sustainability challenges: improve the sustainability performance of construction products and enable the construction ecosystem's contribution to meeting climate and sustainability goals. Considering sustainability is not new to the European construction chemicals industry, EFCC members have been committed for many years to delivering sustainable, safe and resource efficient solutions. Below Mr Dehasque talks about his experience on how sustainability is perceived in the construction chemicals sector.
As president of EFCC and at the same time a leading person at Sika, what is your experience how is sustainability perceived in the construction chemicals sector?
I have been working over 20 years in the construction sector and I have seen that addressing sustainability is becoming more and more important in the sector. We are moving to more sustainable products for several reasons, on one hand there is an increasing demand from our customers, on the other hand regulations are also becoming more and more demanding in terms of sustainability.
For many years we, Sika, have issued annual sustainability reports and our sustainability evaluation of our products demonstrates that more sustainable and a better performance go hand in hand.
Over the past years we have developed and will continue to develop products that meet the needs of our customers in terms of sustainability.
Emissions from buildings and infrastructure represent a big part of the global GHG emission, approximately 40%. According to you what is the ambition of the construction chemicals sector in the context of net-zero and meeting the Paris climate goals?
The construction materials industry keeps taking advantage of technology to make site operations and construction management more sustainable and more efficient. Several trends have emerged in the construction sector over the past years. For example, including construction robotics, building information modeling (BIM), modular building, 3D printing, and the utilisation of advanced building materials.
EFCC aims to support the construction chemicals industry to move towards ever more sustainable approaches, increasing the awareness and demand for advanced materials and sustainable technologies to complement the latest construction trends in terms of sustainability.
It is our ambition to contribute to sustainable construction, which meets the demands of an expanding population and supports a low carbon economy in the long-term.
The shift towards a Net Zero future, more decarbonization and less emissions are among the key challenges companies are facing. Are there any key developments in this quest for more sustainability EFCC is prioritising?
EFCC’s objective is to help our company members to deliver advanced solutions that can meet higher and higher customised requirements of the construction sector and its stakeholders.
Advanced building materials and advanced technologies can give decisive answers to the constantly increasing requests for quality, consistency, sustainability and meet emerging human, social and environmental expectations.
In this context, just to give an example, EFCC together with Deutsche Bauchemie e.V. (DBC), Industrieverband Klebstoffe (IVK) and the Association of the European Adhesive & Sealant Industry (FEICA), undertook a joint project to revise and extend the Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and extend the scope to include additional substances and formulations.
European Model EPDs are available to the members of EFCC.
A variety of alternative building materials is available. Materials that provide efficient, durable and cost-effective construction solutions, and also ensure the use of available resources with least possible degradation of environment, for example by enabling the use of recycled construction materials.
Furthermore, EFCC publishes good practice case studies & sustainable solutions. Such case studies offer an insight to how our members are delivering sustainable, safe and resource efficient solutions with the objective of creating a healthy and sustainable Built Environment.
How can the members of the EFCC further benefit from the expertise of the association?
Besides case studies and Model EPDs, we keep our members up to date on the latest legislative developments and initiatives related to sustainability and relevant for the construction chemicals industry.
EFCC represents its members vis-à-vis the European institutions and works closely with other European Associations and actively influences policy developments in accordance with members’ needs. For example, in the case of the Safe and Sustainable by Design ambition of the European Commission, articulated in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.
EFCC is one of the value chain partners of a partnership project sponsored by the European Commission under the HORIZON Programme, called IRISS. IRISS will help to identify and develop suitable criteria for the EU’s Safe and Sustainable by Design programme. In IRISS, EFCC is the value chain partner responsible for the construction eco-system.
How do you think where will the construction industry evolve in the future?
In today’s world, manufacturers of construction chemicals are in the position of having a big and positive impact on the decarbonisation of the industry. This shift towards more sustainability and towards net zero is happening within the context of the objectives set by the ‘European Green Deal’.
Now there is a need to cooperate and share efforts in the direction of using advanced materials.
Very interesting insights. Thank you for the interview.
Based in Brussels, the European Federation for Construction Chemicals (EFCC) represents construction chemical companies, both raw materials producers for construction chemicals and formulators of construction chemicals, and national construction chemicals federations in Europe.