Construction at the core of the transition to a sustainable society


The built environment is responsible for over a third of the EU’s total waste generation, for 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and for 36% of the EU’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, a large share of which stem from heating and cooling.

The implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan, of the Renovation Wave, of the Fit for 55 package, and of other initiatives under the European Green Deal will boost sustainable construction practices. The European construction sector will continue to lead the green transition of the EU economy and industry and help the EU reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

As regards the proposed ‘Blue Deal’ initiative, it is important to remind that the construction sector plays a fundamental role in providing the necessary infrastructure for water treatment and supply, as well as for facing water-related challenges such as droughts and floods.


The EU’s new circular economy and decarbonisation policies represent a huge business opportunity for the construction sector. However, striking the right balance between an ambitious green agenda and flexibility for the industry remains essential.

The European construction sector must be granted enough time to become more circular, switch to low-carbon construction materials and low-emission fuels, and to embrace new whole life cycle approaches. Adequate financial support is required to cope with the enormous efforts it takes to decarbonise the entire construction value chain (e.g. construction companies, planners, product manufacturers, suppliers, construction equipment.).

The construction sector is willing to further accelerate its transition to a fully-fledged circular economy, but this transition can only be done gradually. The European Commission should further support investments in research and development and facilitate the development of standards for low-carbon construction materials and circular solutions. Current problems, such as the limited availability of recycling facilities or of secondary materials in many countries, need to be addressed more effectively.

Construction and demolition waste must be reduced and managed in an environmentally sound way. The Commission must set the right framework conditions for reaching greater levels of recycling and material recovery of construction and demolition waste and for re-using products, including those that cross borders.

The Commission should also continue working on strengthening the EU’s overall strategic independence from non-EU countries and secure the availability of critical raw materials. It should continue to invest in net-zero manufacturing capacities, green products, and clean technologies, thereby fostering a competitive construction industry.

Climate change will affect the availability, quality and quantity of water, with far-reaching implications for the EU’s society, economy, industry and environment. A new European Blue Deal must lay the foundations for sustainable practices across several sectors, including the construction sector, to reduce water consumption. At the same time, the access for the construction industry to water must be secured.

Research policies should sufficiently cover the development of low-carbon construction materials and circular solutions and research into climate change should also cover the development of innovative and digital construction methods that can be useful in decarbonising construction activities.

The European Commission should also ensure the development of tools and storage areas for digital twins and databases generated by the construction industry, with the aim of preserving the digital sovereignty of the EU and its members.