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Cemex USA receives environmental award

By Mark S. Kuhar

At a ceremony on November 11, Cemex USA was recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) with two of the Council’s top national awards, including the William W. Howard C.E.O. Award for environmental stewardship achieved through educational initiatives by CEMEX’s Aggregate Division, in Florida. This is the WHC’s highest award, as it recognizes a company with a history of striving for excellence in Conservation, Education and Outreach (CEO).

“Cemex’s Environmental Education programs in Center Hill, Brooksville, Clermont, Miami, Davenport, and Lake Wales, Fla., have gone above and beyond to support and encourage local conservation efforts,” said Gilberto Perez, president of Cemex USA. “This honor is a culmination of many years of hard work by our employees who are committed to our communities and education. I congratulate all Cemex employees for their continued dedication to sustainability.”

The CEO Award, named after WHC’s late president, recognizes not a single program, but rather an entire organization for its combined efforts in providing educational experiences, access to quality education opportunities, and the opportunity to experience personal contact with the natural world to its employees and the surrounding community. Cemex’s Environmental Education Centers and programs embody this award.

Along with receiving the CEO Award, the Cemex Center Hill Quarry was awarded the Corporate Lands for Learning (CLL) of the Year Award, which is designed to recognize a site for outstanding environmental education, stewardship and voluntary employee efforts. Recent projects included well-planned and developed wetland enhancement efforts and hosting field trips for all the 4th and 7th grade students in Sumter County. Center Hill has been in partnership with the Sumter County School Board since 2005. This strong partnership also earned Cemex a top-three finalist nomination for the Corporate Partner of the Year Award.

Members of the Cemex Florida Aggregates group received their three-year recertification in 2010 under the CLL program, including the Center Hill Quarry, the Lake Wales Sand Mine and the Gator Sand Mine. Another highly accredited program through the Wildlife Habitat Council is the Wildlife at Work program, which honors sites for their successful wildlife habitat-management programs. The following Cemex operations teams received their two-year recertification: the Lake Wales Sand Mine, the FEC Quarry, the Center Hill Quarry, and the 474 Sand Mine. Cemex’s Lyons Cement Plant in Colorado was also certified as a Wildlife at Work site for its development and management of a wildlife habitat-enhancement program.

The Wildlife Habitat Council is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. The WHC has espoused environmental responsibility through joint ventures between businesses and conservation initiatives since 1988 through numerous programs found in 48 states, the District of Columbia and nine other countries. Source:

What is a ‘green’ product?

In a report (TerraChoice 2010) on environmental claims made in the North American market, researchers concluded that “green” is “a difficult word. It’s evocative and powerful. Consumers and companies alike are attracted to it. But it’s vague, and can mean something different to everyone that uses or hears it. We mean simply products that claim to offer an environmental benefit.”

Another interpretation of the term comes from the National Institute of Building Sciences Whole Building Design Guide, which states that the majority of green products on the market today must:

• Promote good IEQ, typically through reduced or eliminated VOC emissions.
• Not contain highly toxic compounds and not contribute to highly toxic by-products during the manufacturing process.
• Be durable and have low maintenance requirements.
• Incorporate recycled content (post-consumer and/or post-industrial).
• Have been salvaged from existing or demolished buildings for reuse.
• Be made using natural and/or renewable resources.
• Have low embodied energy (the total energy required to produce a finished product, including the energy used to grow, extract, manufacture, and transport to the point of use.)
• Not contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), or other ozone depleting substances.
• Be obtained from local resources and manufacturers.
• Employ “sustainable harvesting” practices if wood or bio-based.
• Be easily reused, either whole or through disassembly.
• Be able to be readily recycled, preferably in a closed-loop recycling system, which allows a manufactured product to be recycled into the same (or similar) product without significant deterioration of quality.
• Be biodegradable.

The results of a 2008 survey by McGraw-Hill Construction showed that more than one-half of the architects, engineers, building owners, and contractors surveyed consider green product certifications and eco-labels very valuable when selecting green products. Source: Air Quality Sciences Inc.