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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 consumed, consider life-cycle 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 are providing certified responsible sourcing schemes such as FSC, PEFC and BES 6001. The UK Contractors Group has set an ambition to procure 100% of major construction project materials through responsible sourcing schemes; this includes all the common building materials we use today such as: bricks, concrete, glass, steel, stone and timber.
Responsible sourcing of construction products can provide 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 is demonstrated through an ethos of supply chain management, 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.
Large scale infrastructure projects have a significant opportunity not only to be more resource efficient, but also to understand the social and environmental governance of the significant volumes of materials consumed on such projects.
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