Common use of the term “sustainability” began
in 1987 with the publication of the World Commission on Environment
and Development report, Our Common Future, according
to the Environmental Protection Agency. Derived from work conducted
by the Brundtland Commission, the document defined sustainable
development as “development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs.”*
In practical terms, sustainable
has come to mean anything “green” or environmentally
and/or socially beneficial. Regardless of whose definition
is used, gypsum, gypsum panels, and gypsum plaster possess
the characteristics of sustainable building materials and can
readily be incorporated into sustainable development projects.
The member companies of the Gypsum Association
[GA] foster an accountable and environmentally responsible
attitude toward the preservation of natural resources, the
establishment of recycling and waste management programs, and
the many diverse issues relating to land reclamation and use.
Present-day manufacturing processes enable gypsum panels to
be manufactured using recycled or recovered material, gypsum
manufacturing facilities to employ energy-efficient technologies,
and depleted gypsum mines and quarries to be rehabilitated
to merge with the existing natural landscape.
The GA is an
international, not-for-profit trade association founded in
1930 and is based in the Washington, DC area. Members include
all the active gypsum board (panel) manufacturers in the U.S.
and Canada. To be eligible for membership in the association,
a firm or corporation must calcine gypsum and manufacture gypsum
board under the provisions of ASTM Standard C 1396.