The Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association (TACA) – the leading state trade association for the aggregate, concrete, cement and associated industries – welcomed 124 attendees to its annual Environmental, Sustainability & Safety Seminar on Oct. 19-20, at The Westin Irving Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.
In addition to hearing from industry experts on climate change, air quality monitoring, truck safety and TCEQ permitting regulations, members enjoyed learning about a unique Texan by Nature program that encourages private companies to adopt voluntary best practices that are sustainable, but that also make good business sense.
“The value to aggregate companies is immense in terms of the goodwill that is generated within the community,” said Jenny Burden, director of development, Texan by Nature (TxN), which unites conservation and business leaders who believe Texas’ prosperity is dependent on the conservation of its natural resources.
TxN, founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, acts as an accelerator for conservation groups and a strategic partner for business. TxN supports 140+ conservation organizations and has accelerated projects and programs that have impacted seven million-plus people, 20 million acres and all of Texas’ 254 counties.
Burden noted that business portfolios with a high sustainability rating outperformed those with a low rating by 47% in value, 34% in return on assets and 16% on equity. She showcased a reclaimed Texas lignite mine area that is now the NRG Dewey Prairie Garden, a 10-acre garden that supplies nine local food pantries, serving 2,000 people a month in Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties.
Texan by Nature is working with TACA member companies to develop similar conservation projects, such as the use of a closed-loop water recovery system and vegetated buffer zones – two best practices that many TACA members are already implementing in smaller measures. Companies that adopt Texan by Nature initiatives will receive TxN Certification by the group, which can then be used to highlight their sustainability programs.
TACA president and CEO Josh Leftwich agrees that the value of conservation projects cannot be overstated. “While job one is to work diligently to supply the materials that are vital to Texans, including aggregates, concrete and cement, it is also a clear advantage to our member companies to work with Texan by Nature and local communities to conserve our precious resources. It’s a win-win proposition,” he said.