Co-evolution of business strategies and resource policies in the building industry


In an interdisciplinary team of economists, engineers and modellers we are examining how economic change (driven by business strategies) and changes in legal and political framework conditions (driven by public policies) can be coordinated more effectively.

​​Project description (ongoing research project)

Our project will examine two questions:

  • How do public policies encouraging resource efficiency influence the success of business strategies in the construction industry?
  • How do alternative business strategies in the construction industry influence the use of natural resources – with a focus on mineral resources?

For this purpose we are using a system-dynamic model to analyse the effectiveness of policies in combination with a material-flow model to assess resource efficiency and environmental impacts. We are working closely together with companies in the construction industry and representatives of authorities and associations.


The construction industry is undergoing radical change. Whereas in the past, construction companies limited themselves to their core business – such as the mining of gravel and the supply of components and concrete – for the last 15 years we have observed on-going diversification. The triggers here are changes in the political and legal frameworks, in public procurement, in waste management, climate protection and spatial planning. From an environmental point of view, these changes in the construction industry are of particular interest in that they increase the effectiveness of policies (e.g., through increased availability of recycling concrete and better know-how).


The aims of the project are:

  • To draw up recommendations for players from politics and administration for developing measures and instruments for a circular economy in the construction industry, and for the promotion of an efficient use of construction minerals (=> effectiveness analysis of policies). 
  • To deliver improved decision-making bases for companies in the construction industry to further develop their business models in the sense of a sustainable economy (=> market and competitive analyses taking alternative policies into account).


Construction minerals are one of the most important domestic resources. However, their use leads to considerable material turnover and traffic volumes. The current situation can be significantly improved by closing the material cycles in the construction industry. Construction companies can then become service providers in materials management of construction sites, and their turnover and profit will become less dependent on the use of natural raw materials (de-coupling of economic growth and resource use).

Original title

Co-Evolution of Business Strategies in material and construction industries and public policies

Project leaders

Project leaders

  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Kytzia, Institut für Bau und Umwelt, Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Bunge, Institut für Umwelttechnik, Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil
  • Dr. Katrin Hügel, Institut für Modellbildung und Simulation, Fachhochschule St. Gallen
  • Dr. Christian Opitz, Institut für Operations Research und Computational Finance, Universität St. Gallen
  • Alexander Scheidegger, Institut für Modellbildung und Simulation, Fachhochschule St. Gallen

Project partners​

  • Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft, Baudirektion des Kanton Zürich
  • Eberhard Group
  • Energie und Ressourcenmanagement GmbH
  • JMS Group
  • JMS Group
  • LafargeHolcim
  • Logbau AG
  • Merz Group
  • MOAG
  • Richi Weinigen
  • Spross Group
  • Toggenburger



Further information on this content



Prof. Dr. Susanne Kytzia Institut für Bau und Umwelt, Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil Oberseestrasse 1 8640 Rapperswil-Jona +41 55 222 49 17

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