Promoting good practice – Going beyond what is expected – Providing examples others can follow.

With this motto, UEPG presented and celebrated 41 entrants at a prestigious Ceremony on 16 November in the Brussels Centre of Fine Arts showing that aggregates producers are strongly committed to sustainable development.

Opened by UEPG President Jesús Ortiz, followed by a key note speech from Rastislav Rybanič, the Director-General of the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic currently holding the EU Council Presidency, the achievements of all the 41 companies were recognised by presenting each case and handing over the UEPG certificate. The 41 best examples of Europe are published in a brochure available on the UEPG website.

Moderated by Peter Woodward, of Quest Associates, an independent company specialising in sustainable development programmes, the examples of excellence were presented for Environment, Social Progress, Economic contribution and achievements for Biodiversity.

The very difficult task for the independent Jury was to select the eight “Best of the Best”. Members of the UEPG Sustainable Development Awards 2016 Jury were:

  • Angelo Caserta, Regional Director, Birdlife Europe;
  • Jean-Pierre Damm, Vice-Chair of the Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee Extractive Industry – SSDCEI, industriAll (European Trade Union);
  • Sirpa Hertell, Member of the Committee of the Regions and the Espoo Council in Finland;
  • Dr Robert Galler, Head of the Institute for Subsurface Engineering, Montanuniversität Leoben and Chairman of ITA CET Steering Committee, International Tunnelling Association Communication Education Training;
  • Dr Jonas Satkūnas, Director of Lithuanian Geological Survey, EuroGeoSurveys.

The eight “Best of the Best” were:

  • Environmental best practiceWopfinger Transportbeton, Austria; Nature Transformation Master Plan for Untersiebenbrunn Quarry
  • RestorationHanson Quarry Products Europe, UK; Middleton Quarry, Restoration to multiple uses
  • Local community partnershipLafarge Granulats France; Consultation and convergence of local actions
  • Health & Safety best practiceFYM-HeidelbergCement, Spain; Quarry fall protection system
  • Economic contribution/added value to societyKieswerk Maas Roeloff, Germany; Aqua Solar Village
  • Operational best practice, process or product innovationFAMSA, Switzerland; Gravel that generates energy for 100 households
  • Best practice in innovation, recycling and manufactured aggregatesPromotora Mediterránea – PROMSA, Spain; ARIBLACK project on slag aggregates
  • Special Award for BiodiversityRudus part of CRH, Finland; Rudus Lumo Programme

Nigel Jackson, UEPG Vice-President and CEO of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), described the European Aggregates Industry as the “great dynamo of the economy”, involving 15,000 companies, 25,000 operations, and the production of 2.7billion tonnes of material a year, while also engaging with and employing 200,000 people. No other sector can get even close to these figures making the Aggregates Industry by far the biggest non-energy extractive sector supplying essential materials to our European Society.

UEPG launched the first European Restoration Award scheme in 1997. In 2005, UEPG enlarged the scope to include all facets of sustainable development, creating the current Sustainable Development Awards format promoting the spread of best practice that goes well beyond what is required by planners or regulators.