Achieving a low-carbon, circular economy in which every person shares a good quality life will require innovative and collaborative thinking.
R&D and innovation
Our customers, employees and communities increasingly want to work with a company that can foresee their needs, and increasingly this is about sustainable development. Therefore, when we design improvements to our products or our processes, we must make them inherently more sustainable. With nothing less than a transformation of our society needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must design solutions for low-carbon mobility, households and infrastructure, whilst using less raw materials, producing less emissions and ensuring all by-products are reusable.
Like us, many of our customers are looking across their whole value chains to ensure that their suppliers meet or exceed their robust environmental and social standards. We see this as a great opportunity to reassure our customers that we’re actively and effectively managing our own operations and our supply chain - which is why we're continuing to lead our industry in developing sustainability assurance standards.
Circularity is quietly becoming more prevalent in the construction industry. "We have started life cycle analyses (LCA) for all our concrete elements. These analyses look at how the element is constructed, how it scores in terms of energy and environmental technology, as well as how much can be recycled and how it is transported. These figures feed into Environment Product Declarations (EPD), documents that indicate the environmental impact. We will normally do about a hundred LCAs. So there is still some work to do.", Kris Vanrenterghem, Chief Sustainability Officer.
In addition, energy efficiency is also very important within the Willy Naessens Group. "After all, a lot of energy goes into our processes. All our concrete plants are fully electric and run on 60 to 70 percent renewable energy. Via the quarterly data from the meters and our own developed software running on artificial intelligence, we make trend analyses. So we know in advance where our energy consumption will be. Even more, we link our data to NASA's climate data. There are mathematical models that are already predicting to the hour the temperature in 2030."