In addition to hearing from industry experts on climate change, air quality monitoring, truck safety, and TCEQ permitting regulations, members learned about the Texan by Nature (TxN) program which encourages private companies to adopt voluntary best practices that are sustainable, but that also make good business sense.
“The value to aggregate companies is immense in terms of the goodwill that is generated within the community,” said Jenny Burden, Director of Development, Texan by Nature. TxN, founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, acts as an accelerator for conservation groups and a strategic partner for business. TxN supports 140-plus conservation organizations and has accelerated projects and programs that have impacted over 7 million people, 20 million acres, and all of Texas’ 254 counties.
Burden said that business portfolios with a high sustainability rating outperformed those with a low rating by 47 percent in value, 34 percent in return on assets, and 16 percent on equity. She showcased a reclaimed Texas lignite mine area that is now the NRG Dewey Prairie Garden, a 10-acre garden that supplies nine local food pantries, serving 2,000 people a month in Limestone, Freestone, and Leon Counties.
Texan by Nature is working with TACA member companies to develop similar conservation projects, such as the use of a closed-loop water recovery system and vegetated buffer zones — two best practices that many TACA members are already implementing in smaller measures. Companies that adopt Texan by Nature initiatives will receive TxN Certification by the group, which can then be used to highlight their sustainability programs.
“While job one is to work diligently to supply the materials that are vital to Texans, including aggregates, concrete, and cement, it is also a clear advantage to our member companies to work with Texan by Nature and local communities to conserve our precious resources," TACA President and CEO Josh Leftwich said. "It’s a win-win proposition."