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Bouygues Construction and the circular economy

“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.” Lavoisier's Law points to an alternative to our flagging economic model. Bouygues Construction, a socially engaged and responsible company, has chosen to place the circular economy at the heart of its strategy.

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The circular economy, what is it ?

By July 2017, humanity had consumed all the resources the planet can renew in a year. We are living "on credit" until 31 December. The circular economy appears to be one of the best solutions for adapting our current economic model without harming the environment or violating social and societal values. What is the circular economy, and can this approach play a role in the group's strategy? The term "circular economy" refers to a set of simple principles that contrast sharply with those we follow today. Specifically, these practices involve using renewable resources and avoiding the production of non-recyclable waste.

The sand is becoming exhausted more and more all around the globe

Through its seven action pillars, the circular economy promises to optimise the use of resources, minimise waste, extend the lifespan of products and buildings, and redirect society towards a zero-waste philosophy through environmentally friendly design and the development of closed production loops (repair, reuse, and recycle). In an effort to apply circular economy principles, many industries, including the food, automobile, and household appliance sectors, have started adopting innovative business methods, including responsible sourcing, the creation of synergies between local economic actors, and the functional economy, in which the use of a product is sold rather than the product itself (a car-sharing service is one example).

Reduce, Repair, Reuse, and Recycle
Which is sometimes referred to as the 4Rs (reduce, repair, reuse, and recycle), was just added to the French dictionary Petit Larousse, where it is defined as "an economic system based on frugality, limited consumption, and the recycling of materials and services".
Construction sites, focal point of experimentation

Over 70% of the waste produced in France comes from the building and civil works sector. However, because only 50% of this waste is recycled, stricter regulations have been put in place. The Energy transition law of 18 August 2015, which works to promote the circular economy, set a goal of "recovering resources from 70% of the waste produced by the building and civil works sector in 2020".

Black Swans Tours - Strasbourg - Bouygues Bâtiment Nord-Est
Expert views
Marie-Luce Godinot
Director of Innovation and Sustainable Development for Bouygues Construction
There are recycling industries that are profitable, and teams have run experiments, but it has to become a habit, an automatic choice for the employees. After all, the circular economy is not just a way to protect the environment. It represents an economic, social, and commercial opportunity for Bouygues Construction.
Stéphanie Barrault
Circular economy project manager at Bouygues Entreprises France-Europe
Progress in this area and the resulting gains are very promising, especially with respect to productivity levels at our construction sites.
Virginie Allain
Circular economy project manager at Bouygues Construction
At Bouygues Construction, many of us are already participating in the circular economy without realising it. We're not starting from scratch.

The group's circular economy policy is now fully a part of its sustainable development strategy. The issue is also gaining traction outside of the company. The French government just started work on creating a circular economy road map, and more and more of our customers have started asking for circular solutions. For example, in Marseille, Bouygues Entreprises France-Europe is finishing up work on the Prado, the first shopping centre to earn Cradle to Cradle certification (a label that recognises buildings designed according to the principles of the circular economy), for Klépierre. In the Paris region, Société du Grand Paris has committed to a circular management strategy for the 43 million tonnes of spoil produced during the construction of the Grand Paris transit network.

The Prado - Marseille - Bouygues Bâtiment Sud-Est
We are participating in the circular economy

The ideas behind the circular economy can seem new and complicated, but they actually include a number of practices we already apply in our business lines, including the use of excavated material, layouts, prefabrication, and the recovery of waste heat. Many employees implement day-to-day circular economy techniques by combining them with industrialization approaches and solutions, lean management and BIM. The drive to be a leading building and civil works company that respects the environment, its employees, and the resources it uses is certainly a part of the zeitgeist but more importantly is included in Bouygues Construction's strategy.

La Colline des Mathurins - Bagneux - Linkcity Ile de France
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