Sustainability: the greatest driver for innovation

Created: December 6, 2018. Updated: December 6, 2018.

The potential for innovation in the construction material sector is huge. Some key issues to look at are the waste phase and the reuse of materials as well as policy innovations and extending knowledge in the sector.

Mats Wendel, Innovation Advisor at Swerock AB/Peab Asfalt AB in Sweden, thinks that the greatest driver for innovation right now is the sustainability issue.

“Looking at the future innovations that are needed, we have to be smarter with materials and be responsible in their reuse. We need to make sure that we also use a binder that will work in the long run. So, the technical lifetime of a pavement is really important as well as reducing the emissions at the production site,” he says.

You also need to look into the waste phase. Especially when it comes to asphalt there shouldn’t even be a waste phase. The material is 100 percent recyclable.

“We really need to make sure that we reuse the material and that we know the material from the beginning when it is delivered to us. If we have a traceable source we can split the material and make sure we reuse it for the best purpose.”

There is also a need for policy innovations in order to be able to leverage on the reuse materials.

“There are a few barriers in the market demand today. A lot of them are concerning the fact that the knowledge isn’t there. We need to disseminate knowledge about how to reduce carbon emissions. In some cases we haven’t figured out how to leverage the innovations that are out there. We can do a lot if we have the right incentives. What we have to do to overcome the barriers is to really go in for the change and make sure that isn’t business as usual. That is the way to zero carbon emissions in the future,” says Mats Wendel, Innovation Advisor at Swerock AB/Peab Asfalt AB.


The episode is also released on CCC YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Construction Climate Talks series by the Construction Climate Challenge initiative highlights some of the most important issues in climate sustainability today. See all the previous episodes here:

The Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) is an initiative hosted by Volvo Construction Equipment to promote sustainability throughout the entire construction industry value chain and provide funding for environmental research. The Construction Climate Challenge is a part of the Volvo CE commitment to WWF’s Climate Savers Program. Volvo Construction Equipment is a Corporate Advisory Board member of the World Green Building Council.

Latest Construction Climate Talks