Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Materials Expedition 2.0

The background

Material passports are an important element of the transition to a circular economy. The construction and utilities sector has been experimenting with material passports for a while, but they are less well known in the civil engineering sector. Following advice from the Circular Construction Economy Transition Team, we are collecting practical experience around material passports in the civil engineering sector. The most important goal is to determine what steps are needed next for sector-wide adjustment and a possible mandate for material passports in construction.


In 2020, TBI and Dura Vermeer Infra initiated a Materials Expedition, in which clients and suppliers carried out 14 pilots around material passports in the civil engineering sector. This expedition focused on what material passports mean for the civil engineering sector. In this follow-up project, the focus is on working toward scaling.

The question

Support the Transition Team by collecting practical experience in the area of material passports in the civil engineering sector. Determine what steps are needed next to apply material passports across the sector. In addition, answer four knowledge questions:

  1. What information does the construction supply chain need, and in what situations, to work circularly?
  2. How can we ensure that this information leads to circular behavior?
  3. What alternative instruments are available to meet this information need, and what are the costs and benefits of these instruments?
  4. To what extent can the market parties independently arrange that the information is available?

Current situation and future

Material passports often bring the image of something physical or a digital document. But one of the insights from the GGW is that it is clear that material passports are more about expanding the information and data we currently take from many different processes and improving the storage and shareability of this data and information. Data must lead to knowledge that can be applied in a circular economy.

The process

The question at hand is to gain insight in the current state of affairs and offer the government practical advice regarding the legal obligation of material passports. In order to do so we engage with over 25 practitioners and experts in the field of circular construction. Interviewees range from commissioners to contractors, and from platforms such as CB’23 to construction-wide initiatives such as DigiGO and institutional players such as Kadaster. On the basis of the insights gained, we answer questions and offer our advice. We validate the concept report with the various parties involved.

The results

The process has resulted in an Exploration of Material Passports in the Civil Engineering Sector (in Dutch). In this report, we answer the four knowledge questions and outlines action-oriented perspectives for the follow-up. The central recommendation is to develop a national system of agreements for sharing data in the civil engineering sector.

“Floris van Haagen en Sybren Bosch from Copper8 have listened closely to the applications of passports in current construction practice, and they have translated this cleverly into powerful and clear recommendations based on the four research questions. In the meantime, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has followed up on the recommendations.” Menno Brouwer Advisor for Energy in the Built Environment

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