Together we build cities beyond tomorrow
Sustainability Manager, Lucile Souyri shares her perspective on how current world issues and megatrends affect the company’s approach to designing circular products that will be used on the cities of our future. And she discloses how WICONA is finding new ways to do this to drive change.
The exposure to different cultures and cities in Lucile’s early Hydro Building Systems career, is what kick-started her mission to make a real difference to the world. Initially, she worked in Germany and then Singapore, covering South-East Asia. But, when the position of sustainability manager arose, she knew immediately that this is how she could make that difference.
What does it mean to be Sustainability Manager at Hydro Building Systems?
Over the last three years, the focus has mainly been on product and material circularity, certifications, our sites and offices emissions, our transport and packaging. We’ve been building strong partnerships with our customers and suppliers and other building and construction players in the market. When it comes to sustainability, there are always new projects and new opportunities.
What do megatrends mean for a company like WICONA, whose solutions are used all over the world?
Megatrends are everything. Understanding the megatrends that will affect our society, change our market and the way we are building cities, means that we deliver the right façade solutions for an ever-evolving world.
Population increase, rapid urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity. It is our job, as a company and market leader, to offer products and services, which will limit the impact we have on our planet and on our resources. This is crucial for the future.
Sustainable consumption means to Lucile Souyri not just carrying about its own well-being, but also the well-being of the future generations. It means practicing a sustainable lifestyle by buying second hand clothes and furniture, producing its own beauty and cleaning products made from clean ingredients with sustainability in mind.
Building cities beyond tomorrow – what is the strategy behind this approach at WICONA?
The baseline “Build beyond tomorrow” sums up the WICONA strategy perfectly in the sense that we have to reduce our impact today while thinking about the façades for tomorrow.
For every product we are looking at the three main stages of its lifecycle: Production, Usage and End-of-life. Because, every decision we take now, will have an impact during the whole life of our products.
That is why it’s so important for us to choose the right materials: materials with the lowest emissions during their production: like our recycled aluminium Hydro CIRCAL or our recycled polyamide for example, which is used to make the thermal insulation strips in our systems. Both are not only recycled materials but are also 100% recyclable after their use in our facades.
So, when we’re designing a product, we have to make sure that it has the lowest impact possible during its production and usage phase, while being easily dismountable at the building’s end of life.
Always striving to operate responsibly, our products use Hydro CIRCAL, which offers the highest share of recycled end-of-life aluminium on the market: 75% and more. An innovation leader, our short-term goal is to reach 100% recycled content - with 100R aluminium.
What is the company’s sustainability vision for the future?
Apart from increasing the share of recycled content in our aluminium, the future for us is more about looking at the other material components of our systems. As well as focusing on decreasing the CO2 emissions of our current Hydro CIRCAL.
The opportunities to ‘Build cities for tomorrow’ are endless. What opportunities do you see for WICONA – to retain its position as a key player in the market?
Not only are we continuing to work on our products, processes, and production sites but also we’re getting our suppliers and customers more involved within our strategy.
We’re also building strong partnerships with other building and construction players to demonstrate that there is another path for our sector and that together we can and must drive change.
We know existing buildings provide the raw materials stock for our future. What role will recycling play in our increasingly circular approach to construction?
Resource scarcity is something that will impact all markets soon. When it comes to building and construction, we have to look to our cities as the ‘mines’ of tomorrow for two main reasons.
Firstly, as we are experiencing with the current situation, energy is the most important resource that we have. To recycle a material, the energy needed is less than that required for its original production. In fact, producing recycled aluminium only takes 5% of the energy needed to make primary aluminium. For this reason alone, using recycled content must become the new norm.
Secondly, we know that in the near future a lot of resources that are fundamental to our market, will be more and more difficult to source: some metals, construction sand and oil being a few. Add to that the growing population and the rapid urbanization, if we don’t change the way we are using and reusing materials, we won’t be able to match tomorrow’s demand.
So, to take a circular and responsible approach in our market, we must reuse the materials in our products and, at a bigger scale, in our buildings over and over again.
At the moment I am building with my husband a vegetable garden with rainwater recuperation which means capturing rainwater and dispursing it in a beautiful way.
What´s the biggest sustainability advantage of using WICONA products and what opportunities do you see in the future for them?
Developers, architects and investors need assurance that their projects meet the right sustainable standards.
For this reason, sustainable certification for products and for buildings guarantees that our cities are built in a responsible way: using the right materials and products, creating buildings that minimise impact during their usage phase and then, can be dismantled easily and recycled at their end of life.
With our products it’s the guarantee that not only they will get circular products that meet a lot of requirements for green building certification rating schemes. But also, that WICONA goes beyond the current norms and regulation to be fully ready for tomorrow.
Be inspired by our sustainability strategy
Build beyond tomorrow
Find out more about our sustainability approach and how we go beyond simply world-class low-carbon materials, to run every part of our business as sustainably as possible.