You could say that Danielle Dawson lives and breathes sustainability.
In her role as Product Development Manager her primary focus is on seeking out innovation and technology, which can help develop low carbon products and increase circularity.
Working in Aggregate Industries’ Concrete Products division, on a day-to-day basis Danielle will look at competitors and benchmark our products, scout for new technology, talk to start-ups and suppliers, collaborate with other AI business divisions and colleagues at the Holcim Innovation Centre in Lyon, conduct lab or factory trials for products and carry out analysis for carbon savings and costs.
She recently worked closely with start-up Low Carbon Materials as part of the Holcim Accelerator program to help develop and pitch a lower carbon and circular aggregate made from waste products for use in concrete blocks.
A big focus of her work currently is looking at alternative products and supplementary materials such as cement free binders in concrete products in a bid to reduce the carbon content.
Danielle said: “Sustainability and net zero is the most important thing as far as I am concerned. The world is changing. You just have to watch the news to see the climate change issues already affecting us. We need to make changes now - we only have one planet.
“Everything comes from aggregate extraction from our roads to your toothpaste. Concrete is the second most used material in the world after water.
“As a division we are looking at lots of different ways to reach net zero. Alternative materials is an area I am heavily involved in and we have a target of all of our building products to contain 40 per cent alternative materials by 2025, alongside other factors like electrification of equipment and greater use and deployment of renewable energy.
“If we are to reach net zero we have to accept the industry has to continue to rapidly change. We have already undergone massive change in recent years - we need to embrace that evolution in order to help make change quicker but make sure we take people on that journey.”
Danielle, who recently graduated with a first in BSc Minerals Management at University of Derby, also firmly believes that we can make a difference in our home lives too.
She said: “We can all change and innovate in small ways. Whether that is as simple as turning off the lights and appliances when not in use or not eating as much meat. I grow my own vegetables in the garden and try not to accept fast fashion. As a society we need to also make our own changes.
“For me, sustainability and net zero is something I am passionate about. I see it as my moral purpose and, to think in my role, I could help save hundreds of thousands of CO2 emissions over my career makes me feel very proud.”
To find out more about Aggregate Industries approach to sustainability and our net zero strategy visit our website.