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Materials

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The Australian property, construction and infrastructure industry uses a vast amount of natural resources and accounts for approximately 70% of all material use. As an industry, we need to reduce the consumption and impacts of materials used, consider the embodied and lifecycle impacts of materials, and explore the advantages of using low-impact products including reclaimed, recovered or recycled materials.

Responsible sourcing for the property, construction and infrastructure sectors in Australia is a means to manage sustainability and traceability issues throughout the supply chain, often considering social and ethical perspectives in detail. Responsible sourcing is demonstrated through an attitude of supply chain management and product stewardship that includes social, economic and environmental dimensions. It also addresses aspects such as labour practices, health and safety, and the management of supply chains serving materials sectors upstream of the manufacturer.

Sustainability certifications from reputable industry organisations, including environmental product declarations (EPDs) and eco-labels, can assist you when selecting environmentally preferred products, such as Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) and Global GreenTag amongst others.

Many contractors and clients are including responsible sourcing requirements in tender documents. As a result, an increasing number of material suppliers are providing certified responsible sourcing and product stewardship schemes, such as the Forest Stewardship Council and Responsible Steel Initiative.

Responsible sourcing of construction and infrastructure products provides a holistic approach to managing a product from the extraction of materials through to manufacturing, processing, re-use and recycling, until its final disposal as waste with no further value.