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A New Standard for Sustainable Aggregates

Sand, gravel, and crushed stone are used in virtually all commercial, industrial, and public works construction. As Southern Ontario’s population continues to expand, the demand for these versatile building materials grows with it. Yet the extraction of aggregate materials can pose substantial risks to the surrounding environment; unsustainable processes can disrupt natural vegetation and topsoil, disturb existing animal wildlife, and have a detrimental effect on local water quality.

With tensions between local communities, environmental groups, and aggregate operators becoming increasingly heated, in 2011 Metcalf provided support to the Aggregate Forum of Ontario (AFO) to convene these opposing groups. Together, they shared concerns and insights, and worked to identify mutual beneficial solutions that could balance their needs and minimize conflicts.

Inspired by the success of the Forest Stewardship Council certification in Ontario’s forest industry, AFO joined forces with Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregates (SERA) to create a new universal certification process—one that could address the wide range of environmental and social issues associated with aggregate production, while also providing a market-driven designation that would be attractive to aggregate operators eager for community support.

On February 22nd, the newly formed Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC) awarded its first certification to CRH Canada Group Inc.’s Acton Quarry.

More information about the Cornerstone Standards Council Standard is available on the CSC website.

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