Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Abdullahi Aliyu

Dr Abdullahi Aliyu


Product stewardship as a novel sustainability pathway for the UK precast concrete industry

Project Title

Improving Sustainability Through Product Stewardship in the Precast Concrete Industry


British Precast Concrete Federation


Academic Supervisor:
Professor Jacqueline Glass
Professor Andrew Price

Industrial Supervisors:
Dr H Elhag
Dr Trevor Grounds
Mr Martin Clarke

Director of Research:
Professor Stephen Ison

Research Period

2008 - 2012


Improving Sustainability Through Product Stewardship in the Precast Concrete Industry

Context and Background

The UK precast concrete industry produces a range of products for the construction industry- the sector is worth an estimated £2.5 billion sale per annum. The main products by value and volume are concrete blocks, paving, roof tiles, flooring, pipes and manholes. Many precast concrete manufacturers and various supply chains companies associated with the industry belong to the sector trade association, the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF) which On behalf of its members, BPCF is leading an intensive programme of activities aimed at improving, measuring and promoting the sustainability profile of the precast concrete industry. This has included the development of a sustainability strategy, a member`s charter, a set of industry key performance indicators and relevant guidance document. Ian Holton, a Research Engineer appointed through Loughborough University in 2004, has been instrumental in delivering this programme and as a result the BPCF have appointed Abdullahi Adamu Aliyu through Loughborough University the new EngD post. This new EngD position will move from goal setting to recommendations for the successful delivery of measurable progress and will therefore focus on what is called `product stewardship`, which is a term used to describe how well companies are managing a number of sustainability-related objectives within their part of the chain of custody (life-cycle) of a construction product. Increasingly clients and government are putting pressure on the construction industry to show that it acts as a responsible steward, protecting the environment, its workforce and contributing meaningfully to society at large- saying something `environmentally friendly` is just not enough. The precast industry is already making progress in this area and hence, the research engineer would be contributing to this important, ongoing activity. Abdullahi Adamu Aliyu the Research Engineer will work closely with BPCF Staff, member companies and liaise with other relevant stakeholders in the wider concrete industry who are also working on these issues. The goal of this EngD position is to matching the goals of sustainable development with those of the commercial world.

Aims and Objectives

By and large the project aim is to improving sustainability through product stewardship in the precast concrete industry. Objectives Some of the objectives of the project identified towards achieving the project aim include:

  • Understanding the processes involved in an archetypal precast concrete production
  • Understanding different product stewardship and responsible sourcing schemes and contributing a scheme for the precast Industry
  • Developing a stakeholder engagement process
  • Evaluating new trends in the business management of sustainability issues
  • Maintaining a company buy-in and consensus on sustainability

Feedback system of Learning curves for companies Tasks and Responsibilities Some of the tasks associated with the EngD role within the industry include;

  • Drafting reports and other documents for the Industry
  • Liaising/ interacting with BPCF member companies and product associations The project started in October, 2008 and will be an on-going activity for the next 4 years i.e. October, 2012.

Method and Current Status

This project will take a holistic view on key sustainability issues within the precast concrete industry and much emphasis will be given to topical and important issues such as responsible sourcing of materials, procurement of materials within the up-stream and downstream supply chain and product stewardship. This will be carried out through a thorough research involving;

  • Developing a literature and data bases relevant to the research
  • Looking at case studies from different industries on how product stewardship and responsible sourcing schemes work.
  • Application of the most appropriate methods and procedures suitable to the precast concrete industry
  • Coming up with a solution design tool targeted at improving sustainability in the precast concrete sector Currently, the project is in its 1st quarter of year one(1)

Benefits and Expected Outcomes

The research project will contribute towards coming up with a befitting scheme in other to achieve a more sustainable precast concrete Industry. It will be of benefit to all the parties concerned with the promotion, measurement and improvement of sustainability with the industry which include engineers, architects, designers, planners, clients, government and all stakeholders involved within the construction and building Industry. The research will keep all the parties concerned abreast with the current sustainability driven trends and provide a platform to appreciate the on-going work and that which has been achieved within the precast sector in achieving a better sustainably driven sector for today and the future.

Aliyu, A. A , Glass J, Price A. And Elhag, H.K. (2010). Product stewardship and extended producer responsibility schemes: a comparative analysis. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol._ , pp.__ . Journal paper (Under review August 2010).

Poster and other presentations

1. Aliyu A.A. (2010). Improving sustainability through product stewardship the UK precast concrete industry. CICE Open day. May, 2010.

2. Aliyu A.A. (2010). Improving sustainability through product stewardship the UK precast concrete industry. Sustainability Research School, Loughborough University. October, 2010.

3. Quarterly briefings and update to BPCF Sustainability and Environment Committee meetings and supervisory team meetings.

Aliyu, A. A., Glass, J., Clarke, M.A., Elhag, H.K. and Price, A.D.F. (2009). “The need for a product stewardship scheme to improve sustainability in the UK precast concrete industry”,  in Ketola, T. (Ed), Responsible Leadership. Proceedings of the Corporate Responsibility Research (CRR) 2009 Conference, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland 7-9 September, 2009, pp.1-17. ISBN 978-9-52476-285-4.

Aliyu, A. A., Glass, J., Clarke, M.A., Elhag, H.K. and Price, A.D.F. (2011). Assessing the potential of product stewardship for the UK precast concrete industry. Submitted to the 8th International Conference on 'Concrete in the Low Carbon Era' to be held in the University of Dundee, Scotland, UK in July, 2012.



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