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Limburg construction sector signs manifesto for circular construction


A manifesto for the circular transition of the Limburg construction sector was signed today at the Construction Campus in the presence of Flemish Minister for Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture Jo Brouns. At the initiative of POM Limburg and Embuild Limburg, some 20 companies and organisations are committing to putting circular construction higher on the agenda. 

Limburg has traditionally had a strong construction sector. With an annual turnover of over 7 billion, construction accounts for 13% of total turnover in Limburg. At the same time, the sector faces tough challenges, such as reducing CO2 emissions and the acute shortage of labour and raw materials. Managing Director of Embuild Limburg, Chris Slaets: “In order to be future-proof, the whole construction sector chain will have to evolve from linear to circular. That means thinking differently, in terms of value retention rather than value loss, which requires much more cooperation within the sector. Only by collaborating more can new business models emerge and innovative construction techniques find their way. Business leaders, private and public clients need to invest in circular solutions now and dare to take the lead. That is also why this manifesto is such an important step.”

Making the switch
On the initiative of POM Limburg and Embuild Limburg, some 20 companies and organisations officially signed the ‘Manifesto for Circular Construction Limburg’ today. Together with the Government of Flanders, they are committed to initiating the transition to circular construction. Tom Vandeput, Deputy for the Economy and Chairman of POM Limburg: “The construction sector is very important for Limburg’s economy. Our province has proportionally more turnover, employers and workers in construction than any other Flemish province. With material scarcity and CO2 issues in mind, we need to make the switch to circularity rather sooner than later.  Only by continuing to lead the charge in terms of innovation can our construction sector remain competitive.”

On-site interviews
The manifesto came about in collaboration with some 20 partners, including construction companies, knowledge institutions and government partners. Dutch consulting firm Volantis toured the site and conducted interviews with Limburg construction companies. Collaborators included Vandersanden, Bioterra and Gijbels. Based on that feedback, obstacles and opportunities were identified. Chris Slaets: “This manifesto provides guidance to contractors and other construction players. It helps to make the catch-all term ‘circular construction’ more concrete, so that the sector can work with it. Circular construction is made manageable by dividing it into different aspects, such as materials, circular design, energy, environmental impact and management. We provide a number of practical tools that the sector can use. Thus, circularity becomes not only an end in itself, but also a means to realise construction projects.”

Circular construction economy by 2050
With the Flemish Working Agenda on Circular Construction, the Government of Flanders aspires to a fully circular building economy by 2050. Among other things, with new business models and adjusted taxation, the government wants to encourage circular construction. Flemish Minister of Economy Jo Brouns: “This manifesto fits perfectly with the ambitions of the Flemish Government in the sustainable transition to a circular economy, including in the construction sector. We are facing a massive renovation wave to make our homes less dependent on fossil fuel gas. At the same time, commodity prices have never been higher. Therefore, now is the time to play the circular economy card by reusing more waste and residual streams. For example, we create new products by converting surplus wood into new planks for use in the construction industry. With this manifesto, we are putting Limburg on the map as an inspiration for the whole of Flanders.”

First province
The signing of the manifesto is an important step in getting everyone on the same page. “Limburg is the first province to put an official declaration of commitment on the table,” says Tom Vandeput. “We therefore want to play an exemplary role in Flanders, with this manifesto, but also with our new Construction Campus. There, too, we put maximum effort into circularity, sustainability and digitalisation. In the construction of the campus itself, but also in the details. The Construction Campus will be a meeting place for all construction players, from students to startups and mature industries. In other words, an ideal breeding ground for innovations in the construction sector.”

© POM Limburg 2024
POM Limburg implements the socio-economic policy of the province of Limburg.

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