Holcim Strengthens Leadership in Circular Construction by Joining Circularity Task Force Initiative at COP28

Subscribe To Download This Insight

By Alexander McQueen | 1Q 2024 | IN-7210

COP28 saw the introduction of a Circularity Task Force aimed at providing guidance to introduce circular practices into corporate strategies. Founding member Holcim is a leading example of how circularity can be used to create sustainable building products for the urban environment.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.


COP28 Births the Circularity Task Force


This year’s COP28 in Dubai saw the launch of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s (SMI) Circularity Task Force, a group of organizations seeking to accelerate the global shift to a circular economy. The Task Force will focus on creating value by embedding circular practices in all sectors, closing material loops, and preserving natural resources. The Circularity Task Force aims to:

  • Provide guidance to private and public sector organizations on incorporating circularity into corporate strategies and operational activities
  • Leverage partner expertise and support collaboration to build and share best practices, leading strategies, and supportive guidance to action circularity across the private sector
  • Support the acceleration of the circular economy transition across the value chain

Holcim, a global leader in sustainable construction and building materials, became a founding member of the Circularity Task Force, and is responsible for scaling up sustainable and circular construction. The company provides innovative building solutions, including a range of low-carbon cement and concrete. Cement and concrete provide the foundation to the built environment, but contribute 30% of building materials-related emissions and 7% of global emissions. Demand has tripled over the last two decades as global populations and urbanization have increased, highlighting the growing need for more sustainable construction materials and practices.

Holcim at the Forefront of Circular Building Materials


Circularity is at the core of Holcim’s operations and the company has been supporting global efforts to increase the recycling of concrete and the manufacture of low-carbon building products. The company achieves this through its proprietary circular technology platform, ECOCycle, which launched in April 2023. The platform works by efficiently distributing, processing, grinding, and recycling construction demolition materials to develop new sustainable building materials, including decarbonized raw materials for cement production and recycled aggregates for concrete. Using ECOCycle, the company currently recycles around 7 million tons of construction demolition materials per year. By 2030, Holcim aims to increase this to 20 million tons by scaling up its ECOCycle technology to 150 sites throughout Europe.

ECOCycle can recycle between 10% and 100% of demolition materials across a range of applications. The result is a range of sustainable construction materials with a lower carbon footprint and no compromise in strength or performance, including ECOPact and ECOPlanet. ECOPact is the company’s low-carbon concrete range, and ECOPlant is its low-carbon cement range, both offering at least 30% fewer Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to their traditional counterparts.

Using its circular technologies and products, Holcim has begun developing sustainable construction projects globally, supporting the integration of circularity in urban developments. Earlier in 2023, Holcim announced plans to build the world’s first fully recycled building, a 220-unit housing complex outside Paris. The project is to use 100% recycled cement and concrete, saving around 6,000 tons of natural resources that would have been mined from quarries. Major construction projects are being launched throughout Europe, Latin America, and Africa, accelerating the use of green building solutions globally.

Circularity Is Key for Decarbonizing Cement


The cement sector is one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize due to its high energy and heat requirements, and the high levels of CO2 emitted during processing and manufacturing. As the world continues to urbanize, we must look to reduce the environmental impact of the physical environment. Circularity will be pivotal to making this happen at scale in the short and long term, as other decarbonization technologies, such as green hydrogen and carbon capture, continue to develop.

The launch of the Circularity Task Force serves as a positive step in supporting a range of sectors in accelerating and streamlining corporate circularity and waste reduction efforts. By enabling cross-sector collaboration, Holcim and the other founding members, which include Gemini Corp, Dubai Airports, Investcorp, and LGT Group, will promote scalable circular business strategies and provide information on supporting policy frameworks. In addition to Holcim, companies like CEMEX and CarbonCure Technologies are also providing sustainable construction materials both by recycling waste concrete and by injecting CO2 into cement mixtures. Both the new Circularity Task Force initiative and technology suppliers will enable a general sharing of best practices and growth in the number of construction projects using sustainable building materials.

COP28 also provided the global cement industry the opportunity to launch a new report that aims to plan and track progress in reducing carbon emissions in the industry. The Cement Industry Net Zero Progress Report 2023, launched by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), will examine initiatives aimed at reducing industry emissions. These include transitioning to renewable energy sources, carbon capture and storage, adopting new materials, and other technologies that support the decarbonization of the cement industry and wider built environment.


Companies Mentioned