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Quality Digest


How Sustainability Works for Your Contracting Company

It is a smart way to eliminate waste and maximize value

Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 10:59

(World of Asphalt: Milwaukee, WI) -- Sustainability is a growing concern for all segments of the economy, including construction and paving companies, not only because of the environmental impact on the community but for the economic impact on companies as well.

In their World of Asphalt 2022 session, “Developing a Sustainability Program That Works for Your Company,” University of Nevada-Reno professor Adam Hand and Granite Construction sustainability manager Raven Adams made the case for asphalt pavement and infrastructure construction companies to develop a sustainability program—and how to approach it.

According to Hand and Adams, over the past thirty years a dollar invested in a company with a high commitment in sustainability will have grown 47 percent more than that same dollar invested in a peer company without a high commitment to sustainability. Why? In the case of infrastructure companies, Adams and Hand cite the Inter-American Development Bank saying, in 2018, that sustainability infrastructure projects “are planned, designed, constructed, operated, and decommissioned in a manner to ensure economic and financial, social, environmental, and institutional sustainability over the entire life cycle of the project.”

In other words, it is a smart way to eliminate waste and maximize value at every stage of a project.

At Granite Construction, the Watsonville, California, based infrastructure contractor, sustainability is integrated into each project in the form of social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and dependable governance, because it delivers enduring economic value. She says that incorporation of sustainability principles not only helps them reduce costs and waste but helps them develop new market opportunities and attract, engage, and retain talent, a key concern among all companies that work in the various trades.

Ultimately, Adams says there were five lessons learned at Granite about initiating a sustainability strategy and making it work for everyone:

1. Lead with the value proposition. Sustainability isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for the bottom line as well.
2. Connect the right teams. Different teams will have different responsibilities and contributions to both create and implement the plan. Knowing who they are and what they can do ahead of time will lead to a greater chance of success.
3. Educate your stakeholders to generate buy-in. As the saying goes, “A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.” Making sure an organization’s stakeholders are properly educated and bought-in will help lead to sustainable success.
4. Understand the psychology of goal-setting. Businesses are not strangers to setting goals for performance. But knowing why goals exist will lead to more productive, and attainable, goals being set.
5. Understand the organization’s data systems to measure for continuous improvement. Knowing an organization’s data systems will help with understanding what can be measured and what can be improved.

For more education on sustainability, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, running March 14-18, 2023 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, has its own sustainability track for education sessions.

About World of Asphalt

Held annually except during CONEXPO-CON/AGG years, World of Asphalt is the leading trade show and conference focused on the asphalt and paving industries. The most recent was recognized by Trade Show Executive as one of the “Fastest 50” growing trade shows. The show features the best education and latest equipment, products, services, and technologies for the asphalt and paving industries. The next World of Asphalt, co-located with the AGG1 Academy & Expo, will be held March 29–31, 2022, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information on World of Asphalt, visit www.WorldOfAsphalt.com.

About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

AEM is a North American international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in the United States supports 2.8 million jobs and contributes roughly $288 billion to the economy every year.

About the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA)

NAPA is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of asphalt producers/contractors on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts more than 1,200 companies as members, was founded in 1955.


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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.