September 25, 2015 – This week, the Region of Waterloo passed a resolution encouraging local aggregate producers to pursue certification under the Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC). It also directs staff to monitor the aggregate industry in order to identify opportunities to incorporate certified aggregates in the Region’s tendering guidelines. This is an important early step toward developing a market for socially and environmentally responsible aggregate products in Southwestern Ontario.
The announcement comes following four pre-assessment audits conducted by CSC throughout July and August of this year. These assessments pave the way for CSC to conduct full-certification audits and potentially for the release of CSC certified aggregates onto the market by 2016.
The Regional staff report, approved Wednesday evening, supports “the Responsible Aggregate Standard as a means of reducing the level of conflict involved in the planning and licensing of new aggregate operations and also occasionally with the operation and pace of rehabilitation of existing ones.” Moreover, purchasing CSC certified aggregates, where feasible and appropriate, is considered to be consistent with the Region’s Green Procurement Guide and Sustainability Strategy.
CSC’s Responsible Aggregate Standard is the world’s only voluntary certification system for responsible aggregate practices. The Standard provides for enhanced public consultation, progressive and efficient rehabilitation, protection and enhancement of environmentally significant areas and improved operational practices. To obtain CSC certification, an aggregate site must undergo in-depth assessments to prove it meets CSC’s high standards.
For Nicholas Schulz, Executive Director of the Cornerstone Standards Council, the Region of Waterloo’s resolution marks a watershed moment in the relationship between CSC and Ontario’s municipalities. “As the largest purchaser of aggregates in the province municipal governments have a unique ability to recognize operations that are committed to going above and beyond regulatory requirements. While regulatory requirements are extremely important in setting minimum legal requirements for aggregate operations, today’s announcement shows an appetite for a parallel system that encourages operations to continually strive for more responsible practices.
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