Domestic industry, multinationals counter site’s ‘Concrete Week’ bias

Sources: Global Cement and Concrete Association, London; CP staff

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association President Robert Garbini and Portland Cement Association CEO Mike Ireland assure members of their groups’ preparedness to address questions arising from recurring and primarily negative media coverage on the carbon dioxide aspect of cement production and finished concrete. A joint communiqué followed the launch of Concrete Week by The Guardian, an online United Kingdom publication with extensive North American coverage and audience. Leading off the series is a report titled “Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth.”

“From a concrete perspective,” Garbini and Ireland note, “the Build with Strength coalition, including NRMCA and PCA, is working to educate the public, key stakeholders, policy makers, and decision-makers on concrete’s roll in this discussion as a sustainable, resilient and durable product. The true story paints a much different picture. From a cement perspective … industry leadership is in the process of formulating a long-term strategy balancing advocacy, communication/education and technological advances.”

NRMCA and PCA are countering negative, misleading media reports in North America and through the London-based Global Cement and Concrete Association. In a statement on The Guardian series, the latter observes: “‘Concrete Week’ is a great opportunity to look at a range of important issues associated with concrete, and it is right to examine some of the important challenges the world faces. However, inadequately covering the significant work already underway by the sector, as well as underplaying concrete’s critical benefits, gives an incomplete picture.

“We recognize there are challenges in cement and concrete production and have been working hard over many years to find solutions. By collaborating with partners in the built environment we can make an important contribution to reducing global emissions … Only putting across one side of the debate fails to address the realities of the needs of a significantly growing global population and increasing urbanization. Safe homes and buildings, clean water and resilient infrastructure will be needed in the future world—all of which concrete can provide.”