Precast concrete firms raise bar on sustainability

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

Precast concrete firms have started a bold push to raise the industry’s safety and sustainability performance.

The British Precast Concrete Federation will make it mandatory from May for all members of the concrete products trade body to sign up to its Charter scheme.

Under the Charter all firms will need to meet tough performance targets aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and waste from the £2bn precast industry.

As well as minimising energy and materials waste, the Raising the Bar initiative is designed to give contractors confidence their precast concrete suppliers are striving for the highest standards in health and safety and delivering on quality.

All firms must also commit to the industry’s health and safety scheme, Concrete Targets 2015, which aims for a 50% reduction in lost time injuries from 2010 ultimately leading to a zero harm industry.

Firms will also need to comply with a set of internationally agreed quality and management standards and liaise with local communities where they manufacture.

Speaking at the Action Sustainability Conference on Sustainable Procurement today at Sainsburys London HQ Martin Clarke, chief executive of British Precast Concrete Federation, said: “We are the only construction products body operating such a scheme anywhere in the world.

“A lot of other construction sectors have made claims about their environmental credentials, safety  and sustainability.

“We are actually demonstrating that our industry is leading the way with a set of mandatory pledges and collective, measureable targets that are audited for all to see.”

He added that clients, designers and other industry stakeholders were rightly demanding higher standards in quality, safety and sustainability for construction products and services.

“The precast concrete products industry has taken big strides forward in recent years”, Mr Clarke added.

“Along with the rest of the cement and concrete industry, we report on our safety and sustainability Key Performance Indicators every year and we set published, challenging targets.”

He added: “When you see the British Precast Charter mark, you will know that company delivers to the highest standards of sustainability, health and safety and quality.”

Firms wishing to join British Precast will be given a 12-month period of grace to comply with the charter scheme.

Sustainability targets by 2012

Efficient use of raw materials

  1. Reduce overall kWh / tonne of energy used in production by 10%
  2. 10% cut in CO2 emissions from production
  3. Cut waste to landfill by 10%
  4. Substitute 25% of cement used in production with alternatives
  5. Increase use of recycled or secondary aggregates to 25% of total
  6. Reducing mains water consumption by 5%
  7. Reducing ground water consumption by 5%

Improved management systems

  1. 10% reduction each year in reportable injuries per 100,000 direct employees
  2. Ensure 85% of production sites meet Environmental Management Systems, like ISO 14001.
  3. At least 85% of production sites achieve ISO 9001 or equivalent
  4. Reduce to zero convictions for air and water emissions
  5. Improving the capture of transport data
  6. Raise to 85% of employees covered by a certified management system (e.g. ISO 9001 / ISO 14001 / OHSAS 18001)
  7. All relevant production sites must liaise with the local community

Mr Clarke added “ We are working now with other members of the Sustainable Concrete Forum on our strategy and targets for 2020.

“Best practice is good business and the improvement agenda is the key for the future success of this industry and my members”

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