Transforming the Construction Industry for a Better Planet

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The construction industry significantly impacts sustainability, with one-third of global energy consumption and half of waste generation attributed to its activities. Carsten Rieck, International Business Development Manager at Kiwa, discusses the importance of sustainability, particularly when it comes to concrete and our critical role in prioritizing the environment.

Shaping up concrete certification & ESG services

Carsten brings over 18 years of experience within Kiwa and is at the forefront of concrete developments for Kiwa’s Built Environment market. He explains the importance of this substance that we’ve come to be so reliant on: “Concrete, a primary construction material, is widely used as a construction material globally and known for its strength, durability, and versatility. However, the material seriously impacts the environment, including substantial CO2 emissions from its production. That’s why at Kiwa, we’ve been working hard to ensure concrete certification services for a better and more sustainable planet."

At Kiwa, we assess and facilitate concrete assessments not only at the company level, considering factors like company carbon footprints, ESG practices, and supply chain management, but also at the product level. Product-level assessments encompass life cycle analysis (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Carsten underscores the importance of product-level EDP assessments, which are vital for gauging and conveying products' environmental effects, offering insights into energy usage and emissions throughout their life cycle: "EPDs calculate impact, providing independent proof of environmental footprint and a baseline for improvement for our clients.”

Fostering sustainable growth through concrete partnerships

In addition, our company has been a founding member of the Concrete Sustainability Council (CSC) since 2017, and we play a crucial role in this certification. “The CSC framework, to which our clients need to adhere, is very transparent and comprehensive,” underlines Carsten. “The CSC scheme has grown substantially, certifying over 1000 projects in 21 countries. Kiwa is key in supporting organizations seeking CSC certification for their concrete products. Furthermore, integrating CSC certification with sustainable building requirements is significant as it aligns with points and credits in building certification schemes like LEED or BREEAM. Also, the recycling of concrete is covered by the scheme.”

Going for gold

At Kiwa, our certification process starts with client assessments and on-site inspections. Levels are determined based on points and renewed every three years. Concrete certification ranges from Bronze to Platinum, with thorough assessments. Supply chain examination targets ready-mix concrete, precast concrete, aggregates, and cement.
“Our clients frequently inquire about the impact of using EPD or CSC-certified products on their building certification schemes. They really want to do better and pursue higher certifications, fostering competition among cement and concrete producers for better environmental standards,” highlights Carsten.

Sustainability product passports — the future of product sustainability

Carsten also touches upon Kiwa's latest endeavor, the Sustainability Product Passport (SPP), as an innovative addition addressing clients' inquiries on product sustainability impact. “The SPP uses the data of EPDs of building materials to align with established sustainability rating systems like LEED and BREEAM. It is transforming sustainability assessments in construction by providing detailed insights into a product's environmental performance, streamlining certification processes, and facilitating informed decision-making for manufacturers, architects, and builders in the construction industry.”


Ensuring certification of concrete globally

Carsten tells us about the global expansion to 20 countries supported by Kiwa’s International Sustainability Platform: “Looking ahead, our global sustainability services expansion is pivotal to our strategy at Kiwa. Just look at our Sustainability Team in Berlin — it’s the fastest-growing team we have, and we need more and more skilled sustainability experts. Kiwa aligns with global initiatives like the EU’s Construction Products Regulation (CPR). Part of our global strategy is to ensure an international network of knowledgeable individuals and teams built through comprehensive training and collaboration. For example, we recently trained 14 LCA experts in China and emphasized local expertise.”

"Sustainability drives our mission at Kiwa, and we’re excited to offer valuable concrete sustainability services. What is special for us is that we have the technical expertise and quickly gain environmental knowledge. This means we can significantly impact the construction industry for the betterment of the planet. This topic is where my heart is," concludes Carsten.

For further information about our ESG services in the construction industry, please contact us via email: