Michael McSweeney, president and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada, advocated at the 2013 Environmental Defence Gala held last month for a collective approach that addresses sustainability challenges, speaks to the industry’s commitment and significant investments to reduce its environmental footprint, and shares lessons learned thus far on the path to greater sustainability.
“Some of you will no doubt have noticed that the Cement Association of Canada is increasing its presence at several of these events – the Pollution Probe Gala, the WWF Panda Ball, Pembina’s unGala, and Lake Ontario WaterKeepers to name a few,” said McSweeney to the gala’s audience. “And you may be asking yourselves ‘why?’ Why would an industry association, probably relatively unknown to many in this audience, want visibility with the environmental community?”
McSweeney tied his answer to the gala’s theme of renewal. He invited the audience to rediscover concrete. “[It] is about learning to think about, communicate and apply sustainability in new ways in our industry. It’s an invitation to learn more about a material that plays an essential role in everyone’s lives and it is the beginning of a new journey for us as we re-examine, rediscover and renew our own vision of sustainability for cement and concrete.
“Although the terms are often used interchangeably, cement is actually an ingredient of concrete. Cement is the ‘glue’ that binds sand, gravel and water together to make concrete. And so we are inviting you to ‘rediscover concrete’ because concrete is the visible end-product of the cement value chain and the product you see in roads, bridges, buildings and all manner of infrastructure in our communities.”
“Throughout this journey, we’ve learned many lessons and we’re still learning,” noted McSweeney. “One of the most important lessons is that sustainability is a collective challenge – one larger than any one sector that demands collective solutions. It’s a journey that will fail if taken alone. And so our invitation to ‘rediscover concrete’ is not just about getting you to think more about our industry, it’s an invitation to work with us on this shared challenge. We’re ready to be proactive partners.”
In April, the Cement Association of Canada is set to launch the portal, RediscoverConcrete.ca, to provide information on sustainability of the cement industry.