The UK Concrete Industry:
Sustainable Construction Strategy
The UK concrete industry is making determined efforts towards reducing the environmental impacts commonly associated with the material as evidenced by the publication of the Concrete Industry Performance Report published annually since 2009 following the pan Industry Strategy signed in 2008 representing the 10 contributing sectors. Guy Thompson of 'The Concrete Centre' looks at the key points
History of The Strategy
In 2008, the UK concrete industry committed to the Concrete Industry Sustainable Construction Strategy. This commitment was made by manufacturers and sector associations from the aggregate, cement, GGBS, fly ash, admixtures, ready-mixed and precast sectors, with support from the industry body MPA The Concrete Centre.
Seven performance reports have been published and are testament to achieving a common framework of industry-wide reporting and an ambition of continuous improvement. Communicating and educating our colleagues and customers was also a key strategic objective.
The training, events and new guidance delivered by The Concrete Centre are essential in enabling the design of a more sustainable built environment using concrete.
In 2014, the seventh report presented the industry's performance from 2008 to 2013. This report presents the concrete industry’s sustainability performance in 2013. The data covers the manufacture of concrete and its constituent materials. The information is collected through survey responses from companies supplying an estimated 80% of concrete used in the UK.
As the UK construction industry’s approach to sustainability develops, our industry strategy needs to stay ahead of supply chain requirements. In 2012, an updated Concrete Industry Sustainable Construction Strategy was launched together with 2020 commitments.
Commitments to 2020
The overall theme of the extended strategy is a widening of focus from the sustainability of concrete production to the contribution concrete can make to a sustainable built environment.
With construction industry milestones in 2016, 2020, 2050 and beyond, our commitments and detailed success factors based on our current assessment of technology and the market conditions over that period are set out below;
We will continue to develop and publish best practice case studies and guidance on using recycled materials and recyclability of concrete. We will identify and promote best practice in designing for reuse. We will ensure that the industry’s production practices aligns with EU programmes for construction materials.
We will continue to develop performance indicators to ensure the relevance of our reporting and framework for data collection.
We will set new targets for performance improvement including:
• 90% reduction in waste to landfill by 2020 (from 2008 baseline)
• 30% reduction in CO2 emissions from concrete production by 2020 (from 1990 baseline)
• 95% of production certified to responsible sourcing standard BES 6001 by 2020
• 100% of relevant production sites with action plans for site stewardship and biodiversity
REAPS (Resource Efficiency Action Plans)
The industry has commited to a Material and Resource Efficiency Programme and this process is already underway, as the concrete industry is working in partnership with WRAP to engage and carry out the commitments set out in the REAPs (Resource Efficiency Action Plans).
For an overview of Resource Efficiency Action Plans download here
The concrete industry also provides best practice guidance on designing material efficient structures and designing to minimise waste on site. More information can be found in Material Efficiency available to download from the Concrete Centre Publications Library.