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CAC First Recipient Of Asthma Society Of Canada Leadership In Industry And Public Policy Award

CAC President And CEO Michael McSweeney Acceptance Speech, May 4, 2015

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Thank you Erin and Keith. And thank you to the Asthma Association for this recognition. It’s a tremendous honour for me to accept this award on behalf of the Cement Association and its member companies across Canada.

And I should be clear from the outset: the progress we have made in modernizing Ontario’s approach to the use of low carbon fuels in the cement sector is in large part because of the strong partnership and support of groups like Environmental Defence, the Pembina Institute and the Asthma Society of Canada. The policy and politics of sustainability can be complicated, even when the solutions are right in front of us, which is why collaboration and cooperation with solutions-oriented partners is so important.

At the Cement Association, we have been working hard over the past number of years to deepen our commitment to sustainability and to move from an inwardly, industry focused agenda, to one that is more collaborative and more focused on our role in supporting an overall transition to a low carbon, sustainable and resilient economy.

While low carbon fuels are an important tool for our industry’s efforts to lower our emissions, they are just part of a broader commitment to working with governments, environmental groups, communities and others to help accelerate the shift to a more sustainable future. For us, this includes being one of the of few industries engaged in publicly supporting a price on carbon, including the design and implementation of a pricing system that achieves the GHG reductions we know we need, while protecting and enhancing the competitiveness of our industry and of the province as a whole.

The imperative for our industry is clear. As many of you probably appreciate, twice as much concrete is used than all other building materials combined; in fact, water is the only commodity consumed in greater quantity than concrete. In other words, we are a huge player in the built environment and we believe this imparts a special responsibility on our industry to be a leader in sustainable buildings, transportation and other infrastructure solutions.

We know we can’t do it alone. We need governments, environment, health and other public interest groups and key decision makers and influencers from diverse sectors to find common ground and push for progress. We also need to get the environment and sustainability back on the political agenda at all levels of government. I’m really happy to see that Aaron Freeman will be at the conference tomorrow to discuss how GreenPAC aims to do this.

Once again, on behalf of the Cement Association of Canada, thank you to the Asthma Society for this recognition and support. We know that together, along with many of the other people and organizations in this room, we will succeed to securing a prosperous, healthy and sustainable future.



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