After Years of Debate Pit and Quarry Operators, Environmentalists and Community Groups in Ontario Take a Bold Step Toward a More Responsible Aggregate Sector
TORONTO, ON – (Marketwired – February 23, 2016) – In a world first, CRH Canada Group Inc.’s Acton Quarry has been certified as socially and environmentally responsible. Stone, sand and gravel from the quarry will now carry the Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC) label and, for the first time ever, buyers will be able to purchase aggregate materials knowing they come from an operation that protects the environment, engages openly with the community and operates following industry best practices. For aggregate operators, CSC’s certification promises a less contentious licensing process and a new way to earn community support.
The presentation, which took place Monday evening at a reception with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Bill Mauro, the Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC) presented it’s very first certificate of conformance to CRH Canada Group Inc’s Acton Quarry.The need for CSC’s certification system follows years of costly and time-consuming battles that have pitted local communities against pit and quarry operators and offered little balance between our need for aggregates and the needs of the community or the environment.
CSC’s certification system is part of a growing movement for sustainability standards in a number of resource sectors (i.e. forestry, fishing and agriculture). The backbone of CSC’s certification is its Responsible Aggregate Standard, released in January 2015, which establishes a set of requirements — negotiated between aggregate operators, environmental organizations and community representatives – outlining what responsible aggregate extraction looks like in Ontario.
“Aggregates, such as cement, are the building blocks of our roads and buildings. But there is a tension between our need for these products, the views of communities adjacent to these operations, and the need to protect farmland and the environment. For the first time, a pathway exists for those building blocks to be sustainably sourced,” says Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “CSC certification can improve industry practices, reduce conflict and generate a market for sustainable products.”
Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature supports this saying, “It is a positive step forward whenever the business community and environmental organizations work together towards common solutions. Cornerstone Standards Council’s efforts underscore the importance of balancing our demand for natural resources, and the needs of local communities and the environment. CRH Canada should be congratulated for being the first operation to certify and for forging a new path that other aggregate operations can follow.”
For CRH Canada the certificate is recognition for a commitment to a higher standard of practice. “CRH Canada and Dufferin Aggregates are extremely proud that our Acton Quarry has been officially recognized as the world’s first certified responsible aggregate site, and hope that this achievement will be a catalyst for the industry. This certification is a testament to our commitment to address the demand for aggregates that consider community and environmental needs. Now any purchaser of aggregates, be it the public or the private sector, will have the confidence in knowing that they are buying responsibly sourced building materials”, said Baudouin Nizet, President & CEO, CRH Canada Group Inc.
A central component of CSC’s certification is improved transparency and engagement to address the issues and concerns of individuals and organizations that might be impacted by the aggregate site. By achieving certification, the Acton Quarry has set a precedent for what responsible practice looks like, including early and inclusive engagement with the community.
“This certificate speaks to the relationship between CRH Canada and the Town of Halton Hills,” said Rick Bonnette, Mayor of Halton Hills. “By following CSC’s Standards and working proactively to address environmental and social impacts, the Acton Quarry has been able to incorporate sustainability principles into its ongoing operations and after use. This has been a key component of the recent approval for expansion of the quarry.”
About Cornerstone Standards Council
Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC) is a non-profit organization that creates, administers, and promotes widespread support for voluntary certification of responsibly sourced aggregate materials. Its current focus is to engage industry and community stakeholders in the on-the-ground application of its Responsible Aggregate Standard in order to build a market for certified aggregate materials and learn about the standard’s strengths and weaknesses.
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Source: Cornerstone Standards Council
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