In 2013, the UK imported £7bn more construction materials and products than we exported.
This trade deficit has worsened by 42 per cent in the last four years.
As confidence in the industry’s recovery becomes more widespread, it is important the growth in construction equates to growth in the supply chain and our economy.
Concrete is a local material produced by local businesses, employing local people in UK supply chains.
Data from the concrete industry shows around 90 per cent of UK concrete is responsibly sourced to BES 6001.
This not only provides confidence in the responsible sourcing of the materials, but also the ethics with regard to treatment of the environment and employees.
“With many clients’ and contractors’ procurement policies requiring producers to demonstrate aspects of chain of custody, the fundamental drivers for responsible sourcing remain strong”
With the products extracted, processed and manufactured in the UK, many suppliers will also be able to provide a full chain of custody.
The government’s sustainable construction strategy – launched in 2008 – included responsible sourcing of materials as one of its 2012 targets.
This provided an impetus to the development of relevant standards BS 8902 and BES 6001, and investment by producers to get products certificated to these standards.
All of this activity also met the needs of leading clients and developers, who had an eye on their corporate social responsibility agenda and continue to do so.
As the Code for Sustainable Homes is phased out and changes to BREEAM 2014 are digested, there may be some confusion as to how to gain extra reward for prioritising responsible sourcing.
However, with many clients’ and contractors’ procurement policies requiring producers to demonstrate aspects of chain of custody, coupled with the increasing importance being placed on the sustainable development of our built environment and economy, the fundamental drivers for responsible sourcing remain strong.
Andrew Minson is executive director of The Concrete Centre