When it comes to finding someone to work on your car, you would likely prefer someone who is an ASE-certified mechanic. Worldwide, ISO-9001-certified manufacturing and service facilities are known to have quality assurance management systems in place. A plant that is certified by NRMCA or the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute is one that has concrete product quality systems in place.

These third-party verified programs are integral to business in the concrete industry. Third-party verification lends credibility to claims and assurance of quality. But many producers do not yet see the value in third-party verification or certification systems for claims related to environmental performance. These certification systems are being demanded, and concrete producers can benefit from participating in a green certification system.

Transparency demands

The sustainability marketplace is changing. Product manufacturers realized that many customers prefer products that have more green or sustainable properties. Meanwhile, customers, owners, and architects realize they need more proof or verification of green or sustainable properties in products. This desire for verification has increased the number of labels and reports requested by customers from producers. Some of these labels, namely Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs), have been covered in November-December 2013 and the January-February 2014 issues of TCP.

But customers aren’t just interested in the green or sustainable properties of products anymore. They also want to know the green or sustainable business practices of product manufacturers. There are a few ways producers can declare, and even promote, their green or sustainable business practices, such as Corporate Social Responsibility reports or Responsible Sourcing reports.

Many green or sustainable plant programs have been developed that are available for participation by both ready-mix and precast concrete producers. These programs assist concrete producers in reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. Some programs even offer third-party verification of environmental management systems and reductions in environmental impact.

Producer benefits

As a ready-mix or precast concrete producer, participating in green or sustainable plant programs offers many benefits. The most obvious, of course, is reducing negative environmental impacts related to manufacturing processes. By tracking the materials and energy used in production, producers are able to benchmark usage and drive efficiencies in material and energy consumption.

But there are additional benefits; the most enticing to producers may be increased profits. Those who participate in green or sustainable plant programs are usually able to save money by reducing waste or improving efficiencies. This same tracking may also provide the producer with reliable data that may justify capital improvements in the plant.

Finally, producers earn improved standing in the court of public opinion. By participating in these programs, a producer can show that it is being transparent and working toward minimizing its environmental impact. This bodes well in the minds of customers, workers, and the local community.

Participating in green or sustainable plant programs offer many benefits to producers.