Review of International Aggregate
A new study by BuildGreen Solutions, one of Canada's leading sustainable development services companies, of international aggregate standards has found nothing that came close to rivaling the Draft SERA Standards in terms of rigour or comprehensiveness related to aggregate extraction.
Following a thorough online review by Ottawa's BuildGreen Solutions, SERA (Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregate) released the Draft SERA Standards on June 1, 2011, proposing that aggregate operators in Ontario adopt a voluntary, third-party audited, certification system for aggregate extraction.
"In conducting our online audit of existing aggregate standards it became clear that there existed no English language certification system for aggregate extraction that compares with the Draft SERA Standards," says Rodney Wilts, JD, LEED AP, and partner with BuildGreen Solutions. "We reviewed all international aggregate standards we could find across fifteen criteria and in all but two SERA was equal to or better than the rest."
BuildGreen Solutions found SERA to be the only standard specific to aggregates that combines comprehensive best-practices with a proposed third-party auditing system. The arms-length assessment offered by third-party auditors provides an effective tool for companies to determine where they are doing well and where there is room for improvement. Third-party audited certification systems like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and RainForest Alliance have all successfully improved resource management through voluntary standards that recognize industry leaders.
"BuildGreen Solutions has recognized that third-party auditing is essential to the success of any resource management system," says Lorne Johnson, executive director, SERA. "FSC discovered the value of third-party certification in 1993 when they developed a certification system for the forest sector. The aggregate sector is in a similar place to where the forestry sector was ten years ago and has a lot of to gain from a similar solution."
SERA has already found support from a wide range of stakeholders including environmental groups, construction companies, municipalities, aggregate operators and governments who recognize that SERA offers a promising approach to more responsible aggregate extraction.
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