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Latest Sustainability Performance report for the concrete industry launched at Ecobuild

World Cement,

The UK concrete industry’s 7th Sustainability Performance report was launched at Ecobuild this week. Based on 2013 data, the report demonstrates that progress has been considerable, but the industry is committed to ensuring that momentum is maintained. The annual performance report is part of the Concrete Industry Sustainable Construction Strategy, which is helping concrete manufacturers tackle impacts such as embodied energy and resource efficiency, as well as changing market demands such as Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Andy Spencer, Chair of the Sustainable Concrete Forum, speaks at the launch of the 7th Sustainability Performance report at Ecobuild.

Some of the key highlights from the report are:

  • Concrete is locally and responsibly sourced – 91% of concrete is certified to BES 6001.
  • Concrete and reinforcement steel can both be certified to responsible sourcing standard BES 6001. Choosing responsibly sourced materials is a simple way to ensure that there is a sustainable chain of custody.
  • Concrete is a net user of waste – 79 times more waste and recovered materials were used than were sent to landfill.
  • Use of cementitious byproducts, derived from other industries in concrete, also helps to reduce concrete’s embodied CO2 emissions. In 2013, 28.6% of all cementitious materials used were byproducts. The target for 2020 is 35%.
  • There is also an opportunity to use recycled materials in concrete. The proportion of recycled or secondary aggregates used in concrete production is around 6% by mass. This can be either directly, as recycled aggregate, or indirectly, such as the ferrous metal reused in the manufacture of most steel reinforcement. Environmental rating schemes such as BREEAM encourage the use both of aggregates that have previously been used, and of secondary aggregates such as granulated slag.
  • The concrete industry is committed to reducing carbon – CO2/t of concrete has reduced by 22% since 1990.

The initial focus of the industry strategy was on reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for every tonne of concrete produced. The reduction in concrete’s embodied CO2 has seen the 1990 figure fall from 103 kg of CO2 per tonne of concrete to 79.7 kg in 2013. The target for 2020 is to reduce this figure to 71.8 kg of CO2 per tonne of concrete, which equates to a 30% reduction from the 1990 baseline.

“As an industry we have a vision to be a leader in sustainable construction, by taking a dynamic role in delivering a sustainable, low carbon built environment in a socially, environmentally and economically responsible manner,” said Andy Spencer, Chair of the Sustainable Concrete Forum. “We are committed to reducing our impacts during production and measuring sustainability as part of whole-life product stewardship. Our new report, the website and the event today, support this and are important in communicating this progress to our stakeholders, so that in turn improvements in industry performance can benefit our stakeholders and our built environment.”

“The sustainability debates the concrete industry is involved in will shape the future of construction products and our built environment, as we recognise the role of natural capital, ecosystem services and a circular economy.”

Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive Mineral Products Association (MPA), added: “We understand that the mineral products industry can make a positive contribution to our natural and built environment, but that there are also impacts that have to be managed. I am very pleased to be able to launch the Concrete Industry’s 7th Sustainability Performance report, which is part of this initiative to reduce our impacts, whilst maximising the benefits of mineral products to the economy and our quality of life.”

The UK Concrete industry strategy was launched in 2008 and further extended its scope in 2012. Now, it has developed this further with the launch of a series of resource efficiency action plans (REAPs), in partnership with WRAP and the brick industry, involving close collaboration with stakeholders, contractors and those responsible for projects to the very end of service life. The goal is to deliver a more holistic approach to measuring and demonstrating whole-life product stewardship.

You can download the Concrete Industry’s 7th Sustainability Performance report here.

Adapted from press release by

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