Trade-Off between the Social and Environmental Performance of Green Concrete: The Case of 6 Countries


Improving the sustainability performance of construction industry is driven by two forces: regulatory push (policy initiatives), and market pull where improving a corporate sustainability performance can be financially beneficial for enterprises. Through the investigation of the sustainability hotspots and impacts, concerning social and environmental, of the steel slag mixed concrete (green concrete) the study assessed the factors relevant for its performance and examined how to improve them. Hotspot analysis and impact assessments were conducted by social and environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). The assessed green concrete represented not just the variety of geographic representation but also the product designs (three different slag contents) and the potential difference occurring from the corporate efforts, where four classes were introduced. The investigation of the social and environmental hotspots of the green concrete revealed a difference in the relation between the sustainability performance and steel slags. While the increased slag content resulted in worse social performance, the increase improved the environmental performance in all six investigated case countries. This trade-off between the social and environmental performance implied the limits of the sustainable product design and suggested the effectiveness of the supply chain management for improving the two sustainability performances for the green concrete.

York Ostermeyer
Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder at ChillServices
Holger Wallbaum
Holger Wallbaum
Full Professor, Vice-Head of Department and Vice-Dean for Research

Holger is a Full Professor in sustainable building at the Division of Building Technology, research group Sustainable Building, and in the Area of advance Building Futures. Holger works within sustainable building on concepts, tools and strategies to enhance the sustainability performance of construction materials, building products, buildings as well as entire cities.