The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, Cement Association of Canada, to attendees of CONVERGE 2013: A dialogue on Integration for the Built Environment ? October 15-16, 2013.
CONVERGE: SHARED INTERESTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE
The green building movement, and sustainability and resiliency more broadly, are essential to the future of the cement and concrete industry, as they are to the future of other construction industries.
A very significant part of our sustainability efforts has focused on reducing our respective environmental footprints. And all of us have made great strides in this respect. But for all of us, a big challenge has been communicating the value that our respective materials bring to the sustainability imperative - the unique solutions that our materials provide for building and maintaining modern, prosperous and sustainable societies, particularly in the context of climate change.
I believe that the best thing we can do for sustainability, and for promoting competitive innovation in the building materials space, is to ensure that the complementary and competitive dynamics that play out between our industries take place in the context of rigorous, truthful, science-based tools for making the best decisions for our economy, the environment and society at large.
These tools must also expand beyond their current focus on traditional sustainability metrics to take account of our need to adapt to climate change. Indeed, one cannot discuss sustainability today without taking resilience into consideration. In a world that we all know is changing, in a world where we anticipate big challenges ahead, like extreme weather, the Material and Construction industry has a legitimate interest in, and I would argue, a unique responsibility to support and advocate for using the best building materials to ensure resilience.
I think most of us will agree that cities are at the forefront of this conversation. After hurricane Sandy, and closer to home, the devastating flood in Calgary, municipalities are bringing the concept of resilience to the fore and leading the conversation. In many ways, cities have always been at the forefront of resilience. Aqueducts, underground subways, even the transition from wood to concrete and steel construction, were all part of our journey to making cities more resilient.
The cement and concrete industry believes that sustainability - and resilience - are collective challenges that require collective solutions. We are committed to being a proactive partner in addressing these challenges.