What is SERA?

Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregates (SERA) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to create, administer and promote widespread support for certification of responsibly sourced construction materials, with an initial focus on responsibly sourced aggregates. Responsibly sourced aggregates refers to stone, sand and gravel that would be extracted in compliance with SERA’s world-class standards for aggregate siting, rehabilitation, operation and use.

SERA is an independent not-for-profit organization which takes its direction from a Board of diverse representatives from industry and non-governmental organizations. SERA has an overall operating budget of approximately $400,000 a year and is actively pursing charitable foundations to support its work.  The Schad Foundation, EJLB Foundation and Holcim Canada Inc a have each contributed seed funding for this fiscal year representing a quarter of SERA’s 2011/2012 operating funds. SERA is actively fundraising to meet the remainder of its budget needs.

The SERA Standards introduce an innovative solution to addressing the conflict that contributes to the lengthy and expensive regulatory processes that currently characterize licensing of aggregate facilities in Ontario.  Released on June 1, 2011 the Draft SERA Standards offer aggregate operators a practical way to extract aggregate materials while meeting the social and environmental expectations of local municipalities, environmental groups and the general public.  An independent consultant, BuildGreen Solutions, was engaged by SERA staff to conduct an online review of the Draft SERA Standards compared with international aggregate standards.  BuildGreen Solutions’ research concluded that “Following an exhaustive online review BuildGreen Solutions is confident to say that we could find nothing that came close to rivaling the draft SERA standards in terms of rigour or comprehensiveness related to aggregate extraction.” Review BuildGreen Solutions’ report here.

The Draft SERA Standards are intended to be a starting point for discussion with key stakeholders.  They will be revised and finalized by the SERA Board in 2013, following field-testing and consultation with a broad audience of stakeholders .  For up-to-date information on the process to finalize the Standards visit the Consultation section.