Two new seals to certify sustainability in construction


Sustainability is a key element in today’s societies. Achieving it in any economic activity is becoming a main objective for companies, especially for those dedicated to industry and construction. It is not only a requirement of authorities and international organisations, but also a social demand.

This concept has been evolving, from one of its first appearances in the Brundtland Report prepared by the United Nations Commission in 1987; or the Declaration of the Rio de Janeiro Conference on the Environment, and ratified in the United Nations Agenda (Earth Summit) in 1992. This process took a major step forward in 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were launched, and culminated in 2015 with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN.

In parallel, citizens have incorporated sustainability into their consumer mindset alongside quality, environmental care, energy saving and waste reduction. In turn, these concepts are now indispensable for companies seeking to gain a foothold in the market and to be competitive.

Like any business quality, sustainability should not be proclaimed but demonstrated. To this end, consumers need to have elements that demonstrate the sustainability of a company’s activity. In short, to have a certificate that, based on objective criteria and independently, publishes the sustainable commitment of a company.

The AENOR N mark currently distinguishes more than 100,000 products in 53 countries.

In construction, and in general in the entire industrial sector, the first step towards achieving sustainability is achieved through the quality and durability of products. The main certification of quality and compliance is granted in Spain by AENOR through its AENOR N Mark.

It has just been joined by two other certification seals that complete a 360º vision of excellence, sustainability and social commitment: the AENOR N Sustainable Mark and the Sustainable Building Certification.

A benchmark in the sector
This seal of the independent certification body reports that an organisation, process, product or service meets the requirements defined in the standards or technical specifications. It is a benchmark in the construction sector.

AENOR N Sustainable is a great contribution for manufacturers to adapt to the European guidelines on sustainability.

The assessment to obtain it is a voluntary process and complements the CE marking. CE marking is mandatory and indicates which products and services are subject to European directives and regulations. It also represents a guarantee in the event that they are not subject to CE marking.

The AENOR N Mark currently distinguishes more than 100,000 products in 53 countries.

ESG criteria
As a natural evolution of the previous one, the AENOR N Sustainable mark has recently been created, the first certification that exists in Spain to endorse that a product not only has quality, but that it is sustainable with an environmental, social and governance focus, that is, that it complies with the three ESG criteria, environmental, social and corporate governance.
To achieve this label, products from the industrial and construction sectors are assessed using at least 20 indicators. The test results in a numerical index reflecting the manufacturer’s sustainable commitment. This index is renewed annually, which makes it possible to check the evolution of the product under assessment.

Sustainable Building Certification
Together with the AENOR N Sustainable Mark, the organisation has launched the Sustainable Building certification, a pioneering seal in the market and in the construction sector that takes into account, for the first time, ESG criteria. In other words, it addresses the sustainability of a building in a comprehensive and transversal manner.
On the one hand, it requires the incorporation of a minimum percentage of products manufactured under ESG sustainability criteria in the construction. On the other hand, the impacts of the building are assessed according to the common European Level(s) framework. This aims at the sustainability of the building through measures to achieve the objectives of the European Union’s environmental policy. The assessment indicators are applied throughout the life of the building, taking as milestones the basic project, the final project and execution and the handover of the building and its use.
The Sustainable Building certification is designed to be accessible to most types of buildings and constructions, whether new or in use. To this end, it has taken into account the aspects required of residential and tertiary buildings, buildings for public use such as offices, shopping centres or public buildings, and comprehensive refurbishment.

Value chain
The creation of the AENOR N Sustainable Mark and the Sustainable Building Certification, together with the already recognised AENOR N Mark, represent a step forward and also a boost for the construction sector insofar as they involve a whole value chain.

The Sustainable Building Certification is a tool to support the access of construction and renovation to European funds.

In the eyes of the public, they publicise and demonstrate the commitment of manufacturers and constructors to the values most appreciated by society in the 21st century.

The AENOR N Sustainable Mark is a great contribution for manufacturers to adapt to the European guidelines on sustainability. This adaptation is key to obtaining aid from the Next Generation EU Funds.

It also helps to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. More specifically in 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, 7 “Ensure access to affordable, secure, sustainable and modern energy”, 9 “Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation”, 11 “Make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, 12 “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” and 13 “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.

The Sustainable Building certification, in addition to generating confidence among consumers, public administrations and investors, supports the construction sector’s efforts towards sustainability through the new technologies that are being developed by the materials production sectors.

It should not be forgotten that it is also a support instrument for the access of projects in the construction and rehabilitation sector to the funds of the Spanish Government’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, connected to the Next Generation EU.

By CincoDías Diario.