A RESPONSIBLE FUTURE FOR MATERIALS

Author: Stefan van Uffelen, Director Madaster Foundation

Circularity is becoming an increasingly important theme. First of all, ofcourse, to reduce the environmental burden of the use of materials. But ofcourse also to give the economy a future in response to the threat of scarcity as a result of geopolitical tensions. When companies want to continue producing in the long term, they will have to make an analysis of the future-proofness of the necessary raw materials. A solution is to go as circularly as possible and organize return or reuse. Madaster is an important initiative to secure the future of products and materials.

The last three years I did a deep dive in the concrete supply chain. Within the Concrete Sustainability Council we have developed a responsible sourcing certification system for concrete, cement and aggregates. If you look upstream in the supply chain there are a lot of systems that can and should be in place to know the source of your materials.: an environmental management system, a chain of custody administration, minimum amounts of traceable materials, etc. In the supply chain you want to know a lot of environmental and social aspects. Biodiversity, energy efficiency, land use, site restoration, people rights in the supply chain, just to mention a few.

At the building and infrastructure we are increasing the quality levels in terms of energy efficiency, safety, water efficiency and ecology. Occupiers, investors and governments demand higher and higher standards such as energy labelling, BREEAM, LEED, DGNB and Well. Also for infrastructure standards are emerging like Envision and DuboCalc.

However, little to nothing is known downstream. Where do materials go? What is the effect on the environment and health? What could their value have been in the future? The result is that we still burn waste or let it flow to the ocean. Before 2050 the amount of plastic is higher than the amount of fish. Without creating value and ownership for all materials, these processes are impossible to stop.

A management system of the future of materials is needed. Madaster enables this by storing used materials and support tracing this. We enable that new functionalities, businessmodels, regulations, etc. can be developed.

I want to work together with you and support you on creating the world of possibilities so we give material a future.

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