New circular economy toolkit for construction industry published

Construction site

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published a new toolkit to enable the construction industry to accelerate the shift from a linear to a regenerative, circular economy.

Published today (1 February), UKGBC’s new toolkit titled “System Enablers for a Circular Economy” highlights “systemic barriers and the policy and market-based solutions” to enable the built environment industry to shift from a linear to a circular system.

It identifies eight enablers that the UKGBC says will encourage the shift from the current linear economic system and build a “foundation” upon which a circular economy across the built environment can become the default way of operating.

The toolkit advocates for:

  1. Greater collaboration and early engagement between industry stakeholders
  2. Establishing a marketplace for secondary construction materials
  3. Architecture practices characterised by circular economy design principles.
  4. Expanding the use of green contracts and leases
  5. Tax, legislation, and policy systems that direct industry and markets towards circularity.
  6. Scaling up green finance to stimulate business support for a circular economy.
  7. Enabling the industry to measure progress by having a set of consistent metrics, benchmarks and indicators.
  8. Educating practitioners and decision-makers with the necessary knowledge to be able to implement circular economy more widely.

The toolkit also highlights how the transition to a circular economy will require a fundamental change in the economy.

It says that “all levels” of government, industry and society will need to rally behind the common goal to shift from the current linear economy towards a regenerative, circular one. The toolkit also says that many of the solutions needed to deliver a circular economy available exist in today’s market and can be “implemented immediately”.

In addition to national and local governments, the guidance also sets out a multitude of actions for the industry to adopt. From architects and contractors to the insurance and finance sectors, the UKGBC says the toolkit provides “practical guidance” for how different sub-sectors can play their roles.

Industry can either keep trying to tweak business-as-usual and make minor improvements to a failing system, or we can make fundamental, systems-level changes.

The UKGBC says the guidance has been designed to be relevant for a wide range of stakeholders in the built environment including national and local authorities, clients and developers, asset owners, designers, product manufacturers, builders, insurers/underwriters, demolition contractors and recyclers.

Commenting on the toolkit, Yetunde Abdul, Head of Climate Action at UKGBC, said: “Our built environment currently relies on a linear economy, where a take-make-dispose approach to construction is common practice.

“This approach is accelerating the climate and biodiversity crises and actively contributing to higher emissions, unsustainable levels of resource use and unnecessary levels of waste.

“Industry can either keep trying to tweak business-as-usual and make minor improvements to a failing system, or we can make fundamental, systems-level changes and create a resilient, collaborative, and thriving construction sector fit for the future.

“UKGBC’s new guidance aims to catalyse this change through confronting some of the key barriers that exist in today’s market and signpost industry and government to the practical steps they can take to support a circular economy.”

Send this to a friend