The establishment of a not-for-profit organization bringing together industry, communities, environmental groups and First Nations organizations to create world-class certification standards raises the bar and signals a new era of collaboration. OTTAWA, June 6, 2011 /CNW/ - The Cement Association of Canada applauded Holcim Canada and Environmental Defence today for their visionary collaboration in establishing the not-for-profit organization Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregates ("SERA") previously announced on June 1, 2011 and, in so doing, charting a new course for sustainable and environmentally responsible aggregate extraction and consumption.
SERA will create world-class voluntary certification standards for responsibly sourced aggregates and promote their widespread adoption, initially focusing its efforts in Ontario. As it moves forward, it will actively engage with a broader group of aggregate operators, community and environmental groups and First Nations organizations to create the standards, providing an innovative forum for addressing the social and environmental expectations of local communities.
"While a reliable long-term supply of aggregates is essential to the country's infrastructure and the cement and concrete industry's viability, the protection of the environment and quality of life for our communities is also of paramount importance," said Cement Association of Canada President and CEO, Michael McSweeney. "SERA and its standards will provide our industry with a roadmap for meeting or exceeding world-class social and environmental management practice and, as the standards become broadly adopted, provide the public with tangible assurance that we are doing so. We commend our member Holcim Canada, Environmental Defence, and SERA's other founding board members for their leadership in taking this momentous step forward."
The SERA Standards are expected to have a transformative effect on the management of aggregate materials by contributing to the achievement of:
- A reliable long-term supply of aggregate materials that will be socially and environmentally responsibly sourced;
- The protection of our landscape's most ecologically and hydrologically important natural areas;
- The meaningful engagement with local communities and First Nations groups before extraction is licensed and throughout the lifecycle of operations;
- A defined time limit for extraction and phase out plans that incorporate communities' interests;
- The ability of government and private purchasers to leverage their buying power and request responsibly sourced aggregate materials to meet the requirements of new, green building standards and policies; and
- A market-based tool for government regulators that recognizes sites that address the social, environmental and water expectations of the local community.
About the Cement Association of Canada The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is the voice of Canada's cement manufacturing industry, a vital contributor to the country's economy and infrastructure. The industry provides a reliable, domestic supply of cement required to build Canada's critical infrastructure including our network of roads and bridges, homes and buildings, waterworks and dams. The CAC and its members are committed to the environmentally responsible manufacturing of cement and concrete products. CAC's members are CalPortland, Ciment Québec, ESSROC Italcementi Group, Federal White Cement Ltd., Holcim Canada, Lafarge Canada, Lehigh Hanson Canada and St Marys Cement Group — companies whose parent corporations belong to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Cement Sustainability Initiative. The cement and concrete industry contributes more than $8 billion in annual sales and over 27,000 direct and indirect jobs to the Canadian economy. For more information, please visit www.cement.ca.