The updated EU Industrial Strategy highlights the need to accelerate the green and digital transition of EU industry and its ecosystems. To that end, it proposes working together with industry, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders. This co-creation process will lead to the publication of transition pathways for each ecosystem.
Construction is one of the EU industrial ecosystems that is the most heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine, and face the most important challenges as a result. The construction ecosystem suffers especially from shifts in supply and demand for materials, finished products and a skilled workforce.
Therefore, we are creating a transition pathway in collaboration with MEU countries and stakeholders. Setting a vision for a greener and more resilient construction ecosystem, it will be published by the end of 2022.
The transition pathway will show an analysis of challenges within the ecosystem that stakeholders and policymakers should address to improve the ecosystem’s resilience and set them on a path to a greener and better digital future. Actions to be implemented by different actors are expected to involve entrepreneurs, companies, research organisations, local, regional, national and EU authorities, social and environmental stakeholders, workers and citizens and their organisations.
It is especially important that the industry actors take co-ownership of both the drafting and the implementation of the transition pathway.
The Commission prepared a staff working document (December 2021) outlining scenarios for a transition pathway towards a more resilient, sustainable and innovative construction ecosystem. In terms of background, we also consulted analyses by the ECSO (European Construction Sector Observatory).
This working document invited stakeholders to reflect and contribute to the scenarios for 2030 and list key enablers for the transition of the construction ecosystem. It invited stakeholders to work with each other, EU countries’ authorities and the Commission, and propose concrete actions, commitments and investments at sectoral, national and regional levels. It also asked stakeholders to assess the scale, cost, benefits and conditions of the required actions for the twin transition of the European construction sector.
The HLCF is made up of the Commission, construction organisations, EU countries and other stakeholders in the ecosystem. The HLCF will monitor the implementation of the co-created construction transition pathway towards a green, digital and resilient construction ecosystem.
The first forum took place in September 2021 and attracted 220 participants.
In April 2022, we held the second forum with over 190 participants. Based on the stakeholder consultation that finished in March, we presented 12 key topics to the meeting. The members then chose which of these topics should be the focus in co-chaired thematic sessions, to facilitate more in-depth exchanges about milestones and targets.
In addition to the HLCF, stakeholders convene by theme to discuss more targeted topics on resilience, green or the digital transition. We held the first thematic sessions in autumn 2021. For the construction ecosystem, Resilience covers, for example, climate-adaptation, skills, and new business models. The Green transition includes renovation and decarbonisation of the building stock and the circular economy, whereas the Digital group looks at topics such as data sharing, BIM, standardisation and skills. Some topics concern the whole ecosystem in different ways, such as skills and public procurement.
Of the topics chosen by the second HLCF, the groups focused on point 4 for Resilience, 1 and 2 for Green, and for Digital both points 2 and 5 apply. Stakeholders co-chaired the sessions and the Commission participated.
- Calculating whole lifecycle GHG emissions in construction. HLCF - Meeting Report - Addressing WLC 23 May 2022.
- Expanding and reinforcing digital tools to serve the green transition. HLCF - Meeting Report - Digital tools & green transition 18 May 2022.
- Stabilising the supply of materials and increasing resilience to external shocks, including through circularity. HLCF Meeting Report - Resilient supply chains 13 June 2022.
- Enabling collection, interoperability and sharing of data. HLCF Meeting Report - Data interoperability 31 May 2022.
Blueprint for sectoral cooperation construction
Public procurement – the Big Buyers Initiative (GROW)
Communication 'Resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector'
Until 2020, and together with EU countries, industry and other interested groups, we based our work on the action plan in the 2012 Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises, commonly known as Construction2020. This strategy was part of Europe 2020, and focused on promoting favourable market conditions for sustainable growth in the construction sector. In addition to the High Level Forum, we had 5 thematic groups that focused respectively on Financing and digitalisation; Skills and qualifications; Resource efficiency; the Regulatory framework; and International competition.