To promote corporate sustainability strategies in the construction sector, the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) has launched the Excellence in Sustainable Construction (ESC) Certification Program, one of the first of its kind in North America to certify a construction company, rather than a construction project. The aim of the Association-developed program is to encourage the three pillars of sustainability within construction companies: finding synergies between profits; protecting the environment; and supporting communities.
“The VRCA is extremely pleased to offer this industry-leading sustainable construction program with a focus on certifying the actual construction company, rather than a specific building or project,” says Keith Sashaw, VRCA president. “We feel certification will provide a tremendous competitive advantage to members who wish to pursue it, while fostering all three areas of sustainability among the industry. This is an approach we hope will grow beyond Vancouver and B.C.”
Through the Excellence in Sustainable Construction program VRCA aims to encourage its members and the construction industry to integrate sustainability into products, processes, and practices. The certification program addresses the corporation’s obligations, not just to the shareholders, but to the social and environmental initiatives of the businesses as well.
“As our industry faces new challenges related to climate change, natural resource depletion, reducing our carbon footprint, and energy independence we must move quickly to learn, understand, and thrive in a new set of environmental, social, and economic requirements,” says Sashaw. “Our members are involved in many of these areas, from innovative technologies to robust community support programs, and this program will provide added industry-wide recognition to those activities.”
Construction companies which participate in the Excellence in Sustainable Construction program will have access to tools and expertise that will help benchmark accomplishments and chart a course to improve performance. A third party auditor will review policies and practices to determine a company’s sustainability score. Those who qualify will achieve an “ESC Certified” designation.
As of January 2012, 15 construction companies are registered in the ESC program. A pilot version of the program was initiated in July 2011, which resulted in four successful applicants: Scott Construction Group, Flynn Canada Ltd., Gerry Enns Contracting Ltd. and Lark Group.