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The UK construction industry uses more than 400 million tonnes of materials every year, making it the nation’s largest consumer of natural resources. As an industry, we need to reduce the impact of the materials used, address issues of embodied impacts of the materials used, consider lifecycle impacts and explore the advantages of using recycled or secondary materials.
Many clients and contractors are including responsible sourcing criteria on their tender documents and in response a growing number of materials suppliers (such as FSC) are providing certified responsible sourcing schemes. As the Government’s Sustainable Construction Strategy calls for 25% of materials to be responsibly sourced, the UK Contractors Group has set an ambition to procure 100% of major construction project materials through responsible sourcing schemes by 2015. This includes all the common building materials we use today; bricks, concrete, glass, steel, stone and timber.
Responsible sourcing of construction products provides a holistic approach to managing a product from the point at which a material is mined or harvested in its raw state through manufacture and processing, use, re-use and recycling, until its final disposal as waste with no further value.
Responsible sourcing of construction products is demonstrated through an ethos of supply chain management and product stewardship and encompasses social, economic and environmental dimensions. It also addresses aspects such as stakeholder engagement, labour practices and the management of supply chains serving materials sectors upstream of the manufacturer.
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