ERA sustainability event highlights benefits of rental

By Belinda Smart07 April 2021

The ERA’s recent webinar has highlighted the rental sector as an important contributor to sustainability in the construction sector.

The event, ‘Building a sustainable future – Transitioning towards a circular and low-carbon construction sector’ took place on 31 March, and featured experts from European policy-making and Europe’s construction sector.

The webinar was structured around two panels, with the first, moderated by ERA Manager Carole Bachmann, looking at the policy aspects of construction as a priority sector for promoting circular principles and reducing emissions.

The second, moderated by Murray Pollock from International Rental News, featured a construction industry perspective.

During the first panel, Philippe Moseley, Policy Officer - Sustainable Industrial Policy and Construction - European Commission, said rental has the potential to drive sustainability through its capacity to minimise downtime for machinery. 

“Rental is more sustainable as it increases the amount of time that machinery can be used,” he said.

The rental model also lent itself well to the idea of “products as a service,” he said, citing the example of lifts within buildings, which were increasingly being structured as a service offering. 

He also confirmed construction was key a focus for the European Parliament’s Circular Economy Action Plan, offering a significant potential for circularity.

Meanwhile the second panel saw Douglas McLuckie, Managing Director of Environment, Social & Governance - Ashtead Group, describe the rental industry as a strong potential influencer on OEMs in bringing new and innovative technologies to the market to support sustainability.

McLuckie said more could be done to drive sustainability in the rental industry however, and warned against the dangers of purchasing equipment solely on price. Investing in low cost machinery did not result in good environmental outcomes, he said. 

More broadly, in the first panel’s discussion of policy, Iskra Mihaylova MEP confirmed the construction sector as the priority for reducing carbon emissions in the context of the European Green Deal.

Audrey Nugent, Head of Advocacy, World Green Building Council, highlighted the opportunity for more ambitious targets in the Deal, adding that a need had been identified by the Council for the construction sector to focus on climate action, health and wellbeing, and resources and circularity.

In the second construction industry focused discussion, Sue Arundale, Director, Technical and Environmental Affairs - European Construction Industry Federation, said while the construction industry was committed to sustainability, it faced a number of regulatory barriers. She said construction companies should proactively engage with suppliers to become more resource efficient.

Peter Jordansson, Senior Vice President of Purchasing, Volvo Construction Equipment, said COVID-19 pandemic had made the need for change more pressing on sustainability in the construction sector.

The webinar concluded with a showcase of the ERA Sustainable Supplier Framework and ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator from Michel Petitjean, Secretary General, ERA.

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator is an independent and free-to-use online tool to enable equipment stakeholders to make more sustainable choices when using construction equipment.

Watch the event in full here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpGCKP4UvkZ4zXGUYMYNlBsidY_Ur3VW4

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