Toronto, ON, Tuesday, July 24, 2012 – Today the Aggregate Forum of Ontario (AFO) and Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregate Canada (SERA-Canada) announced the merger of the two not-for-profit organizations – both focused to date on developing voluntary social and environmental certification systems for the aggregate industry in Ontario. In what Bill Galloway, Senior Vice-President at Holcim Canada Inc. and a SERA-Canada Board Member calls “the right thing to do at the right time” the two organizations will merge their Boards to establish a single world-class environmental and social certification system for responsible aggregate extraction, siting and operations in Ontario.
The new organization will bring together the strengths of SERA’s draft standards and standards development process with that of AFO’s sector knowledge and previous work on the design of a credible certification system. The merged organization will continue to work collaboratively with industry leaders, environmental organizations, community groups, municipalities and provincial government as well as aggregate purchasers to create certification standards that will achieve measurable environmental, social and economic benefits.
“The merger of AFO and SERA speaks to the high value these organizations place on collaboration,” says Ron Reid, Program Coordinator for the Couchiching Conservancy and Co-Chair of the Aggregate Forum of Ontario. “Our number one priority is a certification system that has the support of progressive industry companies, environmental NGOs and local community organizations. Bringing these voices together and sorting through their differences of opinion is the only way we will establish durable and usable voluntary standards for siting and operations. ”
The Standards Development Panel and its work to date will be carried forward by the merged organization with early consultation Principles being released shortly. Up to four additional participants will be added to the Panel to fill gaps in the panel representation. Recent research completed by Deloitte on the details of a certification program will be reviewed in detail by the new board.
“Today’s announcement is a critical and logical step in the consensus-building process” says Lorne Johnson, Executive Director for the merged organization. “The details of the merger will be confirmed over the next few weeks, but it is clear that having two competing standards setting bodies for the sector was not an optimal model and I am very pleased to lead a newly invigorated merged organization.”
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