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Concrete Sustainability Council, Responsible sourcing system for concrete

  • Published on January 14, 2019
Latin America has a lot of informality in construction, producing a huge impact in the sustainability. Production of concrete in several countries are also informal (some cases around 70% and more) with poor or low awareness about the impact on sustainability.. The project include a pilot for Colombia, costa Rica an Panama, of a responsible sourcing scheme that can be used by public procurement and the private sector to minimize the impact of concrete construction
The concept of responsible sourcing is referred to in the updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and in line with the objectives and principles of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Both aim at encouraging businesses to proactively and reactively verify, through an ongoing process known as due diligence, that their commercial activities are not contributing to conflict and adverse environmental and social impacts.

A responsible sourcing system / methodology for concrete provides qualitative information that identifies and promotes responsible practices throughout the concrete supply chain, addressing both social and environmental impacts of the business, leading to the set-up of a certification process for concrete producers. It is based on a set of internationally agreed principles of sustainability, the precise scope of which is determined by stakeholder engagement.

The Concrete Sustainability Council, after a long consultation process, developed an specific responsible sourcing scheme for concrete that is not implemented in Latin America. The certification system is not available in Spanish and it is not yet recognised by institutions and green building labels. Therefore, no certificate has been issued.

In order to accelerate progress towards sustainable building materials and construction implementation, several barriers should be overcome, include to understand how concrete construction in latin america is affected by informality, increasing the impact in sustainable construction. The use of a practical tool like the responsible sourcing scheme for concrete in the area will help public and private sector to minimize the impact of ilegal sand and gravel use, waste of cement and unnecesary contamination of land and water
Several workshops was developed in 2018 to show the responsible sourcing scheme for concrete to concrete producers and general public with participation of Colombian, Costaricean and Panamenian companies. Manuals of the certification scheme has been translated to spanish facilitating the access to the concrete produces, contractors and authorities to the information of the system. In addition, an approach to the the green building councils of Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama has been made to seek recognizion of the system in the area.

A report about informality in concrete construction was finished in October 2018, showings the huge potential in minimizing CO2 emissions by use of formal and industrialized processes in concrete production. The implementation of the responsible sourcing system, as mentioned above, will foster resource efficiency, thus protecting natural resources, land and biodiversity; the workers conditions, underpinning best practices in health and safety and innovation thanks to the impact the certification will have all along the value chain pulling the whole sector towards higher standards and thus ensuring a shift towards sustainable consumption and production patters.

Through this project we want also to promote knowledge and raise awareness among companies and authorities about sustainable construction, engaging with local policy makers to implement supportive policy and regulations on green public procurement and sustainable construction which would stimulate the demand for responsibly sourced concrete.

Implement the sustainability and responsible sourcing methodology, will develop capacity building and training tools and a comprehensive certification system in Latin America for the concrete value chain.

In addition, we expect to develop a platform to allow stakeholders to exchange on best practices and guidelines to scale-up and replicate the project in different regions.

Finally, we expect to engage local policy makers to implement supportive policy and regulations on green public procurement and sustainable construction to stimulate the demand for responsibly sourced concrete.

1. Reviewing the information available at the website of the Concrete Sustainability Council or and giving a feedback to improve the certification process-.

2. Promoting concrete sustainable construction and facilitating the exchange of ideas

3. Encouraging goverments in lati America to adopt systems to industrialize and formalize the construction sector, due to the high level of informality and its impact in the sustainable indicators. In some countries, more than 50% of the construction is informal with no structural designs and environmental controls, resulting in risky constructions with threat to the live, health and investment of the countries and in special, of the low-income people.

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