Sustainability and Environmental Impact
"Sustainability and environmental impact have become important issues in today's world, affecting our activities and influencing our decisions both domestically and commercially.
With this greater awareness comes the need for companies to respond positively and act responsibly; reducing the impact they make on the environment, accurately promoting their 'green credentials' and honestly answering questions asked about their products and services.
SSQ is a producer and supplier of slate, a natural material that's ultimately only available in a finite supply and one which we mine and ship from quarries around the world. We also operate within the construction industry which, according to data from the National Office of Statistics, accounts for half (by weight) of all materials used in Britain and nearly one-third of its road freight. Not surprisingly, we feel our responsibility acutely.
The aim of this brochure is to provide answers to the questions we are often asked; affirm that we take our responsibility seriously and reassure our customers, both existing and new, that the environmental impact of using our products is, in fact, remarkably low."
Should we buy bananas grown in Mauritius - which have to be transported halfway around the world to reach our fruit bowls - or bananas grown in a greenhouse using huge amounts of power to recreate the natural conditions they grow in? Which choice is less harmful to the environment? Which is more environmentally friendly?
Although not a perfect analogy for buying roofing slate, it does illustrate the dilemma we often face in trying to act in an environmentally-friendly way.
Like all mineral resources, slate is ultimately in finite supply. It's taken over 350 million years to create and, with no estimate of how much may exist, it's impossible to predict how long stocks will last.
However, products made from slate are expected to 'last a lifetime'. The life expectancy of good-quality roofing slates may well exceed that of the building they've been used on. And, as the slate isn't damaged during installation, it's an ideal component to salvage from buildings that have served their time and are being demolished. These slates can then, be reused on another roof.
Manufacturing and using a product makes a unique impact on the environment; trying to decide which makes the least impact is a complex process but one that's necessary if a considered decision about which to use is to be made.
Two methods that can be used to compare the environmental impact of building materials are the 'BREEAM' (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) building assessment and the University of Bath's Inventory of Carbon and Energy ('ICE').
Both evaluate and present information against a range of criteria the most significant being: embodied energy, carbon footprint, durability and potential for recycling.
BREEAM provides a 'green rating' against a number of criteria and uses a simple 'ABC' rating system (where 'A' represents the least environmental impact and 'C' the greatest) to provide an easy, although subjective, comparison to be made.
SSQ takes its environmental responsibility seriously. To maintain this, we will use our best efforts and resources to minimise the effect of our activities on the environment.
For more information, please download the brochure