Indiana Limestone Company: Certified Sustainable

Natural Stone Sustainability Standard: Why ILCO Certified

This interview was originally published in Natural Stone Institute‘s Cutting Edge Newsletter

A conversation with Tim Sproull, Operational Project Manager for Indiana Limestone Company.

Please tell us a bit about your company, and why you felt it was important to earn this certification.

Indiana Limestone Company (ILCO), now part of Polycor, is the largest quarrier and fabricator of Indiana limestone and the first quarrier of Indiana limestone to become certified under the ANSI/NSC 373 Natural Stone Sustainability Standard. At Indiana Limestone Company, environmental sustainability truly is a core value. It has been our mindset and engrained in our processes for many years, yet our remarkable success story of environmental stewardship was not being told and celebrated. We did not go through the certification process to become sustainable, but rather to make evident our already established commitments and gain an accredited voice for telling our story of sustainability. Our continued goal is to help promote a culture of continuous improvement that paves the way for other fabricators of Indiana limestone to certify and deliver a 100% certified sustainable product to the end user.

What have you found most surprising about the process of certifying to the NSC 373 standard?

In hindsight, I would say the certification process was easier than I initially thought it would be. We had 100% support from our leadership and our Sustainability Team was eager to get to work. Our data collection, management, and tracking ability is second to none. ILCO’s site management and quarry processes were already well aligned with the spirit of the standard and the staff at NSF International, our third party auditor, was a pleasure to work with. Certification still took devotion and hard work, but everything went smoothly. Additionally, we were blessed with the generous support of others who had certified before us – namely, Brenda Edwards, Kathy Spanier, and Michael Schumacher. They were an invaluable resource along the way.

What do you feel will be the biggest benefit to your company in securing certification to the sustainability standard?

I believe it has improved our image among the AEC community and I feel it will help drive continuous improvements in energy efficiency, waste reduction, and innovation. In a broader context, I feel the entire Indiana limestone industry will benefit from having a certified material source. The full benefit will be realized when other Indiana limestone fabricators certify, enabling the delivery of a 100% certified sustainable product to the end user.

Explain ways in which this process has helped your company’s bottom line.

It’s hard to quantify the immediate ROI and I’m not sure there has been one to be perfectly honest though we know we are often asked about sustainability by customers. This was a long-term commitment that we believe will eventually help our bottom line by driving improved efficiency and waste reduction within our company. More importantly, we hope this will highlight Indiana limestone as not only an attractive and durable choice in architecture, but also an environmentally sustainable one as well.

What would you like to communicate to the design community about this standard?

If you’re not familiar with this certification program, you should learn more about it and how you can benefit by specifying certified sustainable stone on your future projects. If this program stood alone, it would still be a great one to support, but it doesn’t.  It is recognized by the US Green Building Council and Living Building Challenge, making it even more relevant to the AEC community.