Sharing best environmental practice within the industry

As this month’s issue highlights dust, environment and sustainability, I thought it prudent to discuss the IQA’s role with respect to these matters and assisting members and the broader industry in staying at the forefront of best practice.

The IQA has, for some time, been responding to relevant industry issues. Environment and sustainability are within this scope and have had more “air time”. The communities within which we operate have greater access to information and are aware of the standards by which quarries abide.

The industry isn’t often credited for work done in this space, even though there are excellent examples of good environmental outcomes.

Many IQA events showcase our sector’s good practices. The Construction Materials Environmental Management Conference (CMEMC), a co-hosted event between the IQA, Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, highlights key environmental topics for the construction materials industry.

The event showcases innovations, discusses emerging trends in technology, policy and legislation, and has been key to the successful relationship between industry and the environmental regulator, with both parties involved in organising the conference and contributing to the speakers’ program.

At CMEMC, in September, speakers addressed topics such as the circular economy, industry and Indigenous relationships, long-term weather predictions, and key agency priorities and compliance trends.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-Q:"The pilot reward and recognition scheme is an industry first"}}The IQA also presented the annual Gold Environment Award, which recognises a site’s contribution towards the advancement of environmental management in the industry. Each year the industry submits many high quality submissions, detailing initiatives that have made improvements to the quarry and also the broader community and surrounding environment.

Many of the award winners share their stories and knowledge through articles in Quarry or by presenting at a local branch function.

Sharing good practice is an area in which we as an industry are modest, or unsure with whom to share our good ideas (even though many are just a practical solution to a site issue).

In general, the quarrying industry is a connected group of professionals, and increasing knowledge and professional development is often obtained through peer-to-peer learning.

Why reinvent the wheel? And who doesn’t enjoy looking at what others are doing in the industry, particularly when we have common issues across sites?

I also acknowledge our suppliers’ great work. They not only support our educational events and provide speakers and content to assist in improving educational outcomes, but are often key sponsors.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has announced a pilot reward and recognition scheme, an industry first and a model that is being watched in other jurisdictions and industry sectors.

The scheme involves a rating system based on environmental performance. To be eligible, a site must have had no compliance issues in the previous 12 months, must be beyond compliance in one area (two areas for silver and gold) and meet the criteria for the rating level.

I commend the department and industry in working towards this initiative, which hopefully has a positive impact not only for the industry but also our perception in the wider community.

Have a safe and productive month.

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