Concrete pavements, a flagship industry of the circular economy

On 3 December 2015, EUPAVE held its traditional Christmas dinner debate themed “Circular Economy and Transport Infrastructure” in the restaurant Les Brigittines, Brussels. The event, which gathered members and partners of the association, had as special guest the European Commission, represented by DG Environment's Director General Mr. Daniel Calleja.

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Mr. Daniel Calleja,
Director General DG Environment,
the European Commission

EUPAVE President Stéphane Nicoud thanked participants for attending and praised the outstanding achievements of the association in 2015.

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As the European Commission had launched its new Circular Economy package the day before, President Nicoud emphasised how roads built using cement and concrete solutions embody circular economy principles due to their durability and recyclability, thereby enhancing resource efficiency.

But in order to fully capitalise on these benefits, he insisted on the need to take a whole-life approach when planning transport infrastructure and tendering the related public contracts. Thus, President Nicoud encouraged the Commission to make the most of Green Public Procurement in general and in particular for road construction. He suggested working together to invite Member States to take a more innovative approach in public procurement, and avoid focusing on lowest initial costs so that public spending efficiency is increased.

Acknowledging that life-cycle costs and durability are essential aspects for the Circular Economy, Director-General Daniel Calleja had also some words of appreciation regarding EUPAVE's pro-activeness and “excellent input” to the dossiers under the competence of DG Environment. He praised EUPAVE for putting sustainability at the core of its aims. “You cannot conduct a business in a durable way without being sustainable; otherwise you do not deliver”, he noted. Mr. Calleja explained that his priorities for EU environment policy are to create green growth, to improve the quality of life of citizens and to have real enforcement and smart compliance of the existing rules.

Mr. Calleja also presented the Circular Economy package and highlighted that the Commission had quantified the benefits of a circular economy in terms of savings, jobs, emissions and turnover in comparison with the business-as-usual scenario. Director-General Daniel Calleja agreed on the importance of Green Public Procurement for the Circular Economy and announced than an action will be launched in 2016 to support Member States to effectively implement Green Public Procurement.

Mr. Calleja agreed that our industry embodies circular economy principles and that, furthermore, “concrete pavements have all the attributes to be a flagship and a leading sector in the Circular Economy. We have a great opportunity to work with your industry to generate green growth. It is a challenge for Europe. Let's do it together”, he concluded.

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Mr. Daniel Calleja, Director General DG Environment, the European Commission (left)
Mr. Stéphane Nicoud, EUPAVE President (right)

Members of EUPAVE contributed to the debate and enjoyed a friendly evening which served to put an end to another prosperous and promising year for EUPAVE. 

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Mr. Daniel Calleja, Director General DG Environment, the EC and EUPAVE Members