Author:Marloes Fischer, Managing Director Madaster Services Switzerland

On 25 September 2020, the Swiss parliament passed the new CO2 law. It provides incentives and creates new potential for climate-neutral construction. In December 2018 the draft was still rejected. Since then, a lot has happened in the construction and real estate industry in the last 20 months.

Switzerland is known for sustainable construction as well as dynamic urban and settlement development.  As the, the Swiss construction and real estate industry is the largest producer of waste in Switzerland and has a significant lever for climate-neutral economic activity. But the transformation to a circular sector is only successful if all players along the value chain cooperate and share the common goal.

In my view, 2018 was the “perfect storm” to successfully bring the online cadastre Madaster from the Netherlands to Switzerland. As a transformation expert in the transport and insurance industry, I have accompanied many change processes and have seen that courageous and determined action is needed from stakeholders. Leadership must set a good example and live the change: Get the planning going, implement it and learn from it. Tools such as digital solutions support the organisation and can accelerate change.

At the end of 2018, the association Madaster Switzerland was founded with the first Swiss Kennedys. The platform enables the circular use of products and materials in the built environment through material passports. Madaster is pursuing a social objective for the whole of society: to make materials available without restriction. We believe that economic success can only be realised if the economy drives it. Therefore, we have contacted economic partners from the very beginning who want to implement the vision of a circular economy. To be able to act beyond the life cycle of a building, we sensitised the network along the value chain. Our Inspiration Circle Events generated great interest. At the end of 2019 we won eleven companies as Kennedys.

Long-term thinking and sustainable economic activity is an issue for our partners. They all have different perspectives, from insurance to banking, property, construction, maintenance and dismantling. Together we identified the needs of the market and defined the structure of the online library in Switzerland. With the first data partners CRB and buildup, a network of partners in the construction industry in the areas of materials, products and classification was launched.

The biggest challenge on the way to the GoLive of the Swiss Madaster platform was to build a solid basis of trust. Embarking on the transformation journey towards circular economy meant that we were united in a visionary goal at the beginning. When the initial enthusiasm for the topic turned into the concrete action of registering a building on the platform, the most important step had been taken. Thanks to the active support of the Madaster team in the Netherlands, we could learn from their many years of experience.

The rethinking in the Swiss construction and real estate industry is in full swing, the action has begun. We are looking forward to more entrepreneurs who support their customers in the realisation of circular business models and the implementation of material passes in construction projects or who offer their (software) solution as an add-on to the Madaster platform.