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CRH chief measures company’s unique leverage in sustainability movement

Sources: CRH Plc, Dublin; CP staff

“With global population expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, the way people interact with buildings, infrastructure and cities will change. CRH is leading the way through innovation to help shape the structures of the future, in collaboration with our valued customers and partners,” notes Albert Manifold, chief executive of the Oldcastle Inc. parent company in “Creating a Sustainable Built Environment – CRH Sustainability Report 2017.”

“Building a more sustainable future is not something we can do alone,” he adds, noting that CRH is a founding member of the Global Cement and Concrete Association, a newly chartered London group geared to developing “the role of cement and concrete in sustainable construction and promote innovation throughout the construction value chain ... As a leader in building materials, we are very conscious of the important role we play in advancing the global sustainability agenda. Uniquely within our industry, our diversified portfolio and vertically integrated business model allows us to provide innovative building solutions that help deliver a more sustainable environment.”

The 88-page “Creating a Sustainable Built Environment” delves deep into the environmental and safety aspects of a North American and European building materials and architectural products enterprise spanning 3,600 sites and 83,000 employees. In 2017, those businesses garnered nearly 900 awards and acknowledgements recognizing sustainability achievements. On one of the most widely adopted benchmarks, CRH operations reduced carbon dioxide emissions from cement and downstream materials or products operations by 22 percent compared to 1990 levels, and have the company on track to attain a 25 percent reduction against that baseline by 2020. Activities supporting the goal include development of CO2 Stone, a portland cement concrete alternative produced from aggregates, carbon dioxide and binder. 

The report characterizes concrete as “the future of sustainable building materials,” owing to its resiliency, durability, potential to last hundreds of years, and application in conditions requiring thermal mass. The latter include traditional, energy-wise building assemblies plus new structures engineered to store and supply wind- or solar-derived thermal energy for use in homes and buildings.