Sustainability emphasizes the efficient use of resources, which reduces costs (by reducing waste) and contributes to profitability. Implementation of sustainability principles can reduce the risk of adverse legal and regulatory actions.
Sustainability is an integrated concept. Implementing sustainability guidelines will help to coordinate and improve the effectiveness of multi-disciplinary functions such as community relations; environment, safety, and health; operations and legal.
In the NSSGA toolkit, Jami Gaboriau, environmental manager for Aggregate Industries, points out that many companies are already incorporating sustainability concepts in their everyday practices; they simply may not have communicated them in that manner.
“As an industry, we do so much that can be viewed as sustainable, however, we’ve never quite promoted it that way,” she says. “This is more than a trend going into the future. This is going to be a way of life that our business has to adapt to (in order) to extend into the future.”
The Kyoto Protocol
Many aggregate companies, particularly international ones, strive to meet the requirements outlined in the Kyoto Protocol. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) — which coordinates the United Nations environmental activities, assists developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies, and encourages sustainable development through sound environmental practices — the Kyoto Protocol is an agreement under which industrialized countries will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent compared to the year 1990. The agreement was negotiated by more than 160 nations in 1997 and went into effect in February 2005.
“The goal is to lower overall emissions of six greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons averaged over the period of 2008-2012,” UNEP said in a press release. “National limitations range from 8-percent reductions for the European Union and some others to 7 percent for the United States, 6 percent for Japan, 0 percent for Russia, and permitted increases of 8 percent for Australia and 10 percent for Iceland.”
Source: United Nations Environmental Programme
NSSGA Guiding Principles for Sustainable Aggregates Operations
Members of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) define sustainability as a business approach that integrates environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity to ensure the long-term supply of aggregate materials to society. The association says its overarching practices are necessary to preserve the potential for a high-quality life for future generation. Those practices include the following items:
Member companies sustain the communities in which they operate by providing raw materials as natural building blocks for the quality of life.
We are conscious of the need to provide economic, social, and environmental value for future generations and the communities in which we operate.
We demonstrate a strong and unwavering commitment to safety, health, and the environment at our operations.
We work with appropriate governmental bodies to establish effective, responsible, and balanced laws and other requirements based on sound science.
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