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Sustainable concrete strategy wins top environmental award

World Cement,

The concrete industry’s Sustainable Concrete Strategy has won the prestigious 2010 Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards for Environmental Initiative. The awards recognise and celebrate best practice and reward the achievement of trade associations from all industry sectors.

The Sustainable Concrete Strategy was developed and implemented by key trade associations and companies within the concrete sector. It commits them to a common vision where by 2012 the UK concrete sector is recognised as being the leader in delivering sustainable construction. The aim is to create an honest, responsible dialogue that enables the sustainable development of the built environment.

“The Sustainable Concrete Strategy demonstrates the industry’s commitment to transparency and continual improvement. These are not vague promises but commitments to real action. The success of the Strategy at the TAF Best Practice Awards is welcomed recognition of the achievement of all those involved who have helped to not only forward the vision but to ensure that the vision becomes a reality,” said Andrew Spencer, Chairman of the Concrete Sustainable Forum.

The Strategy’s first report, published in 2009, provided industry data across 14 performance indicators against which the concrete industry has committed to be benchmarked against and to improve upon. The latest performance report, published in March 2010, provides 2008 performance data and outlines 12 targets, plus those in development, to be achieved by 2012.

The concrete industry consists of nine sectors and the performance data represents 77% of the concrete industry. The Strategy is a truly pan-industry initiative and its achievements are already evident and impressive:

Responsibly Sourced Materials   The target set by Government is that at least 25% of construction materials should be supplied with responsible certification by 2012. The concrete industry has taken significant steps to exceed this, publishing its own guidance to facilitate certification to the BRE standard BES 6001. 95% of certificates issued to date are to the concrete industry. []

Waste Minimisation   The concrete industry used over 18 times more waste, by-products from other industries and secondary materials than it produces, diverting over 5 million t of material from the waste stream for use as alternative fuels, to replace virgin materials in concrete production.

CO2 Emissions – Production   Through investment in new technology and use of biomass fuels there has been an estimated 14.6% decrease in CO2 emissions from comparable concrete mixes from 1990 to 2008. The UK target is to reduce it by a further 17% from this 1990 baseline.

Site Stewardship and Biodiversity   700 sites of special scientific interest (SSI’s) in the UK are sites of previous or current mineral extraction. Currently 94.3% of relevant sites have site-specific action plans and this is targeted to increase to 100%.

The submission to the TAF Awards was made jointly by the Mineral Products Association and British Precast on behalf of the Sustainable Concrete Forum. “It is thanks to the commitment and collaboration of the sector trade associations and their members that has enabled this momentous strategy to be possible”, concluded Spencer.

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