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Belgian Blue Stone:  sustainable production

Industry is currently showing a certain maturity in becoming aware of the importance of the environment and of social responsibility. The accent is clearly on voluntary declarations.

For the construction sector, it is the time for experimental projects (LEnSE …), or “High Environmental Quality" (HQE®), that integrate and weigh up sustainable criteria where the choice of building materials must take a preponderant place.

In this ecologisation of products, the pertinence of the design and an appropriate implementation are two keystones to the success for a sustainable and lasting piece of work.

The adoption of a serious sustainable policy in a company requires the integration of the three fundamental pillars:  planet, people and profit.

The “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” have taken bold initiatives for internal improvement and the visibility of the company in a market keen to provide a positive response to development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Planet

  • An inexhaustible natural resource

The Belgian Blue Stone is an ecological material by nature.

“Ready to use,” stone requires only to be given shape and size.  The processing is limited and requires little energy compared with certain products that could replace natural stone. A dense, homogeneous and inert material, it can be reused as is, or after being recut; if deconstruction were to be considered in future, stone can and should be reused.  In the worst case, the Belgian Blue Stone can be recycled into aggregate.

The blue stone has no end of life.

  • The Belgian Blue Stone is ecological

Whether as regards the industrial extraction, processing or treatment of the finished products, the “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” take continually such measures as required for the optimal protection of the environment.

Scrap management : Our quality policy imposes a rigorous stone selection and therefore entails a certain quantity of scrap.  The partnership concluded with the aggregate industry, already present at our extraction site to crush stone layers unsuitable for freestone, enables us to pursue a zero tolerance policy on blue stone waste. Our scrap is recycled into aggregate. We are actually talking of co-products.

Process water clarified and recovered : The water used when cutting the stone is clarified and then reinjected into the system.  We work in a closed circuit. Pit water is pumped out and added as and when necessary. 

Recycled pit water : Pit water from our quarry in Tellier des Prés will be recycled in the (public and industrial) distribution circuits instead of being sent to the hydrographic network.  A similar project is under study for the Clypot site.

Waste management : A volunteer waste sorting and recycling programme has been introduced at our production sites. It extends from the extraction areas to our offices.  Whether cloth soaked with oil from our shops or paper from our offices, all waste is subjected to selective sorting.

Profit

  • Quality

A traditional product in our regions, the blue stone is a material with unrivalled durability, thanks to its physical properties that exceed by far those of certain replacement materials. 

Our architectural heritage bears witness to this performance against the ravages of time and the intensive use that can be made of the material.

Buying Belgian Blue Stone means offering a quality, long lasting material – and undeniable value for money that avoids the pitfalls of a consumption system based on obsolescence.

The Quality can also be measured.  Thus, the Belgian Blue Stone that we sell is covered by technical seals of approval and our company has obtained ISO9001 certification.

  • Technical seals of approval

The Belgian Blue Stone extracted from the sites of the “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” has the technical seal of approval with certification.
Technical Seal of Approval of the Neufvilles Site
Technical Seal of Approval of the Soignies Site

  • IS09001 Quality Management System

Our entire activity has ISO9001 certification.  The production and sale of all our products – raw blocks, cut slabs, worked marble products – are managed in accordance with two principles:  the satisfaction of our customers and the continual improvement of our processes and our range of products.

ISO9001 certificate

People

  • The Belgian Blue Stone respects the local residents

Most extraction, cutting and polishing processes are carried out under water.  This technical imperative prevents the creation of dust.  Two additional measures are taken to limit the release of dust:  when the weather is dry, our tracks and handling areas are sprinkled regularly and the speed of vehicles at the site is strictly limited.  Furthermore, the vegetation on the earthwork and approaches to our sites makes an effective contribution to containing dust.  There is continuous contact with the local population. 

At the Tellier des Prés quarry, we have set up a supervisory committee of local residents – a pilot project in the region.

  • Social label

Since 2004, the “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” have had the (federal) Belgian Social Label which guarantees socially responsible production along the entire chain, both for the products and for its services. 

This label enables us to consolidate our people pillar by certifying that our production is socially responsible and exceeds the “simple requirements” of the 8 basic ILO conventions.

  • Quality jobs

In obtaining the Social Label, the “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” wish to draw the attention of the authorities and of private individuals to the social dimension of our activity:  the working conditions of workers in the stone sector are not as enviable anywhere else in the world.  Various NGOs have published surveys conducted in certain emerging countries. 

Improving working conditions at Chinese Natural Stone companies, report 19, SwedWatch, SOMO and IHLO

  • Local jobs

The “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” provide nearly 250 direct jobs.

The Belgian Blue stone sector accounts for nearly 2000 indirect jobs mainly throughout Belgium, but also in neighbouring countries.

Tellier des Prés: a new….sustainable quarry

With its partner Sagrex (former Gralex), the “Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge” have opened their third Belgian Blue Stone extraction site, integrating the 3 Ps of sustainability from the outset.

For example, the management of the extraction overburden at the new site in Tellier des Prés has been studied to optimise the planet – people – profit relation.

Furthermore, the reclamation of an old quarry included in this management will lead to the improvement of the biodiversity on the site.

Sustainable development
Foundations
Private individual
Production
Winning assets
LCA
Gilles Perraudin. Architect.
"This is how stone, this material of our history, is emerging as the material of our future, thanks to its qualities."    

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© 2007 PIERRE BLEUE BELGE