Insight #10: Performance Metrics
Ten years of detailed sustainability data has laid a foundation for the future
GOOD DATA WITH
Strategies and commitments are vital, but they must be underpinned by credible, appropriate performance indicators. This allows the industry to measure progress and, crucially, to set improvement targets. Consultation with internal and external stakeholders and material analysis enabled the industry to agree a series of indicators in 2008.
The industry has reported on these metrics annually ever since. The data is collected by companies in the nine sectors of the concrete production and supply chain and submitted to their relevant trade associations. This aggregated data is then independently collated to provide the summary values reported.
Where possible, the values represent a form of “embodied” indicator as they show data related to concrete production and proportionate contributions from the raw materials used. The values obtained this way do not represent a particular type or grade of concrete but are based on the average proportions of all types of concrete produced.
Both our methodology and indicators are reviewed annually to ensure they remain accurate and relevant. Examples of this are the indicators for “percentage of additional cementitious materials used” and “kg CO2/ tonne of concrete”. In the case of additional cementitious materials, the original defi nition needed to be modifi ed to ensure that only materials benefi cial to improving sustainability performance were included.
This led to a step reduction in the apparent value but the original 2020 target value of 35% has been retained. The “rolling mix” value for carbon emissions reporting was found to be infl uenced strongly by year-on-year changes to the types of concrete requested by the construction market, which is outside the control of the concrete industry.
A second indicator was therefore introduced based on maintaining the concrete mix proportions from 2008, in order to provide a “normalised” value for year-on-year comparison. Each year new indicators are considered based on stakeholder feedback. Several are undergoing testing to ensure that they can be reported consistently and credibly.
Examples are indicators related to equal opportunities, local community, health and safety management, verifi ed EPDs and data for building information modelling (BIM). Accurate data is of course central to the future of BIM, which is another reason why the concrete industry’s commitment to provide LCA data compliant with codes and standards is so important.
Generic EPDs are now available for concrete and concrete products, which in turn are essential for BIM, as by linking EPD data to BIM objects designers can model the embodied impacts of their material and design choices.