Women in construction
Today, it is still unusual to find women in construction. We would like to stand out one of the exceptions at URSA. Marina explains her work and her daily challenges in an interview in which she claims: "Girls must be empowered to design their future and fight for it"
Describe briefly your professional work and your company, how did you get into the world of construction?
I am responsible for Marketing and Communication at URSA Ibérica, a company dedicated to the manufacture of building insulation materials. I came to the world of construction indirectly and a bit by chance.
Until shortly before I started my degree in Technical Architecture, I didn't have my career priorities clearly defined. I did like science and wanted to acquire technical training, but it was a last-minute decision that I have not regretted.
Once I had finished my degree and with the idea of becoming a Site Manager, I started an interview process in 1993. At that time, Barcelona was going through a period of crisis after the construction boom prior to the previous year's Olympics. During this time I had my first clash with gender prejudice in the sector, as not only was my profile rejected, but the interviewers themselves asked me curiously how such a young girl with good looks could want to be a Site Manager.
I saw an offer in the newspaper in which they were looking for Technical Architects for the Prescription department of Poliglas and since then I have not left the sector. I was never a Site Manager but I discovered the exciting world of building materials to which I have dedicated myself professionally.
Do you think there are still difficulties for women to access management positions in the construction industry? What would you change?
The difficulties are still there. Yes, the comments that used to be made freely have changed and now those in charge of personnel selection are more cautious and politically correct.
But the difficulties of access remain the same. The percentage of jobs in the sector is still very low. I also believe that in this sector, on a day-to-day basis, women must continually prove their worth and their good work.
What do you think about quotas versus individual skills?
I don't like it at all, but as things stand I don't see any other solution. I wouldn't like to think that I got my job because I fit into a quota, rather than because of my professional worth.
However, many times, the actions that the law obliges us to take, under penalty of a fine, are effective (radars to reduce speed, obligation to wear masks... etc.). In this case, quotas may be a lesser evil to give women access to certain jobs that are currently forbidden to them.
How can the education sector and companies themselves encourage women's vocations to enter areas considered male domains?
Education is fundamental and from the very beginning. Both at home and at school, boys and girls need to be educated in the confidence that no job is inappropriate or inaccessible to them because of their gender.
We see that parity for certain jobs is not evolving, because a society that in some respects is still very "patriarchal" is not evolving either. We encounter opposition even from our own mothers who do not see it as a good idea for us to work in jobs that are traditionally men's jobs.
Girls must be empowered to design their future and fight for it.
Companies in the sector also have an important challenge ahead of them in terms of approaching professional training and telling women that there is a place for them in their company.
- Big Data
- Building Renovation
- Circular Economy
- Climate change
- CO2 Reduction
- Deep renovation
- Energy certified
- Energy efficiency
- ESG rating
- ETEX Group
- Green Deal
- Green Recovery
- Healthy homes
- Human rights
- Indoor air quality
- Mineral wool
- photovoltaic panels
- renewable electricity
- renewable energy
- Renovation Wave
- Safe homes
- Safe life
- Safe work
- Solidarity Campaigns
- Thermal insulation
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- United Nations Global Compact
- We are URSA
- We are Xella
- Xella Group
URSA is committed to renewable energies with the installation of photovoltaic plants at its factories in Tarragona.
The plants will have nearly 7,000 state-of-the-art photovoltaic panels on their roofs, which will provide the annual energy equivalent to the consumption of 1,515 homes.
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URSA obtains the GOLD certificate for indoor air quality
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The wooden pallets used to transport material to construction, are often stored without use until they deteriorate or end up in landfills. The reuse of these helps to reduce soil erosion and reduce CO2.
Bankiz, the new verified FDES configurator of URSA insulation solutions
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Etex confirms its portfolio shift by acquiring thermal and acoustic insulation expert URSA
The new year sees Etex consolidate its portfolio of sustainable business activities through the acquisition of URSA, a European leader in insulation solutions. Etex secures a new business growth platform through the deal, alongside an opportunity to continue playing a pivotal role in addressing sustainability challenges. By adding insulation expertise to its plasterboard, fibre-cement, passive fire protection and modular offering, Etex will also extend its ability to provide systems and solutions. This latest acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.
What does “deep renovation” of a building mean?
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“Where I live, it’s never too cold so I don’t need to insulate my home.” – REALLY??
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As green as glass mineral wool
Some manufactured solutions which are very good for the environment remain relatively unknown, for example, glass mineral wool insulation materials.
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Measurably sustainable: Sustainability Report 2020
In the new sustainability report, we make our sustainability ambitions and targets transparent and measurable.
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Our goal: driving innovative strength
Innovation management, basic research, and technological development: This is the foundation on which we position the Xella Group for the future and meeting societal as well as industry -specific challenges – be it climate protection, energy savings, or resource efficiency. Since 2014, we have therefore been operating our own technology and research company (Technologie - und Forschungsgesellschaft / T&F) near Berlin.
A new edition of our Sustainability Report is coming soon
ESG is not a new topic or trend for us. For decades, URSA and Xella, all together, stood for sustainable and innovative construction and insulation materials that make a significant contribution to the energy efficiency of buildings.
Our goal: Responsible leadership
As a company, we take our economic and social role very seriously and want to be a fair, reliable and trustworthy partner to our customers, business partners and employees. In order to always comply with ethical and legal standards in our business activities and in our dealings with our supply chain, we place high demands on our governance.
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home. More than ever this sentence has become more relevant to “the whole world” in the covid19 era. We are finding the need to live in safe, efficient and comfortable homes as they have become our only place to be when times are tough. Why don´t we rethink our economic model and base it on #sustainability and research, whilst at the same time protecting the #climate?
Protect the climate and stimulate the economy with efficient support programs
At the heart of European climate and energy policy is the creation of structures for a secure, affordable and environmentally compatible energy supply. Given the consequences of the corona pandemic, Europe is also facing massive economic challenges, e.g. rising unemployment, declining economic output, a drastic slump in local business and income tax revenues, cancelled or postponed investments.
The new 55% target for energy efficiency: is it feasible?
Can we reach the new goal of 55% of energy reduction? Of course, we can but we need to set a clear path for local governments to transform goals into executive actions. At Eurima (European Insulation Manufacturers Association) we believe in three main areas key to help all actors to achieve this goal.
Our goal: Safe work
Safety in the workplace is a top priority at URSA as part of Xella Group. That's why we see it as a matter of course to promote the long-term health of our employees and ensure their safety. We want our employees to go home from work every day healthy and unharmed.
#GreenRecovery: Adaptation of Subsidy Programs is Key Now
It is great to see that the German government decided on a green recovery package. It increased the budget for #EnergeticRenovation programs for private and public buildings, and social facilities significantly by 2 billion EUR in 2020 and 2021 totaling each year 2,5 billion EUR to reduce our #CO2emissions.
Big Data and building renovation: out of sight, out of mind
If we use Big Data for almost everything, why not use it for energy efficiency? Right now, we have no real idea of what is going on in Europe´s building stock. Information is key to change things, also in energy efficiency in buildings.
Our goal: A strong team
Our employees form the basis of our long-term success. We want to be an attractive employer in all respects. High-quality training at Xella and investments in our employees' qualifications contribute to this, as do fair, performance-based remuneration, a non-discriminatory working environment, and flexible options for balancing work and family life.
Our goal: Improving circular economy capabilities
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Our goal: Reduce CO2 emission intensity by 30% by 2030
URSA will contribute its own efforts to help Xella, the parent group, achieve its ambitious environmental goals aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
URSA joins Xella Group in supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals
With our business model, we have a high level of positive impact opportunities. To actively leverage this, we sharpened our ESG focus as part of the review of our Sustainability Strategy 2020 and worked out how our strategy can contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this core vision, URSA has joined as well to work towards progress and sustainability together and better.
Acting responsibly: Xella joined UN Global Compact
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Our grain of sand to a Net Zero society
Xella has started an ambitious ESG journey and URSA has jumped on this train. Among our commitments, URSA MW insulation solutions will incorporate up to 80 % recycled materials in their manufacturing, besides other concrete and tangible objectives for occupational safety, diversity, and corporate social responsibility.
The first step towards insulation: mineral wool
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Dialog with our stakeholders and our essential sustainability topics
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Solidarity goes beyond borders
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Sustainability at Xella: Best in Class in our industry
The reputable ESG rating agency Sustainalytics has given Xella a rating of 18.3, putting Xella in first place out of all 115 companies in the building materials sector assessed by Sustainalytics. Sustainalytics therefore classifies the risk of financial impact caused by ESG aspects at Xella as low.
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Energy efficient and affordable housing – delivered sustainably
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Does the circular economy help minimize the environmental effects of the construction industry?
Applying the principle of the circular economy to construction materials and the renovation of buildings offers benefits not only for the sector but for society in general. The architect must be a fundamental part of this change in the way the world thinks.