On March 15, 2023, CECOP attended the High Level Construction Forum – a multistakeholder platform which was tasked with developing the transition pathway for construction – in which the final transition pathway document was presented.
Construction ecosystem is the second largest of the 14 industrial ecosystems identified by the European Commission in the 2021 Industrial Strategy update. Transition pathways are intended to guide the green and digital transitions of the EU industry, or the so-called twin transition. European Commission co-creates them jointly with industry, member states, and other stakeholders, identifying which actions need to be taken by 2030.
The transition pathway for construction, which is available here, addresses six key issues: competitiveness; skills; enabling frameworks; research, innovation, technology; funding; and fairness and safety of the built environment.
CECOP welcomes the fact that the transition pathway recognises the major contribution of worker cooperatives to providing quality, safe working conditions as well as upskilling and life-long training. Construction workers often face serious health and safety risks due to the nature of their job. Moreover, 2019 Eurobarometer data show that 21% of all undeclared jobs in Europe are in the construction sector. Construction is also a sector with huge environmental impact, including waste and greenhouse gas emissions. In this challenging context, thousands of worker cooperatives existing in the EU provide a much-needed alternative: they prioritise health and safety at work, provide decent and legal employment, involve workers in democratically managing their enterprises, develop green innovations such as circular construction, and promote upskilling and life-long training.
The transition pathway also features a best practice from CECOP’s French member (CGSCOP). By implementing a voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility label, French worker cooperatives promote both green transition and social responsibility in the sector.
“The French federation of construction worker cooperatives (SCOP BTP) and Afnor certification, a body specialised in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related initiatives, have launched in 2015 the CSR label. It’s a voluntary process and the cooperative applying are required to achieve an expected CSR level based on such as: governance and decision-making processes, dialogue with stakeholders, leadership, internal communication, responsible value chains, human rights, sustainable consumption and construction, health and safety at work. The labelling committee is composed of representatives from the entire BTP branch: public and private clients, banks, insurance companies, prevention bodies, associations etc. The recognition granted by the label allows to raise awareness of the public construction sector about responsibility-related issues, green and social. It acts as a recognition and commitment to improve the environmental practices and to implement high social standards for workers and human resource management practices. In 2023, 103 French worker cooperatives have been awarded the CSR label.”
For other best practices of construction cooperatives from CECOP’s network changing the sector, see here: Logik & Co Danish worker cooperative and here: https://cecop.coop/stories/logik-co-denmark
After publication of the pathway, stakeholders including businesses and business associations will be invited to submit their pledges towards the green and digital transition. For more information on the pathway and a future portal for the submission of pledges, check: https://single-market-economy.ec.europa.eu/sectors/construction/construction-transition-pathway_en