We believe responsible, sustainable operations benefit our communities and drive positive results for the long term. As an industry leader, Vulcan’s aim has always been to meet—and strive to exceed—all federal, state and local environmental regulations. Once again, in 2020 we maintained a citation-free environmental inspection rate of over 98%.

However, environmental sustainability means looking beyond what is required of a company by governments and regulators. We continue to make progress on reducing our carbon footprint, increasing our energy efficiency, measuring water use, reducing waste and managing our land with biodiversity in mind. It’s the right thing to do for society, for our business and our stakeholders.


2020 Highlights

We decreased Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 3.3% from 2019 and significantly improved our carbon management score as measured by the Carbon Disclosure Project. At the end of 2020, approximately 40% of our off-road fleet was equipped with Tier IV engine technology or Tier IV interim technology. We also continued to make progress with our water and waste management and recycling programs

We partnered with environmental and other non-governmental organizations on a variety of conservation initiatives in our states across the U.S. and in Mexico. We are proud to maintain the fourth largest number of Certified Wildlife Habitat sites of any industrial company in the U.S., in partnership with the international Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC).



Visit the Data Dashboard for a summary of our Environmental Stewardship policies and data.




Irwindale, CA is home to Vulcan’s Reliance II facility, which the City is turning into a site modeled after the success of the nearby Irwindale Business Center. Developers looking to partner with Vulcan already have their eye on the site due to the location, which is near existing expressways and offers easy access.

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Managing land sustainably for the long term.

Minimizing impacts to the land, the water, the air and improving biodiversity is vitally important to Vulcan. We take a holistic approach to land management because mining is only an interim use of the land. The presence on a site of wetlands, waters, endangered species, cultural resources, and proximity to property boundaries and neighbors are all factors that are considered during site development. Making thoughtful decisions during site development helps to minimize these potential impacts. Our environmental specialists, land managers, geologists, engineers, hydrologists and external affairs personnel work together with key outside parties to incorporate state-of-the-art environmental controls while mining infrastructure materials. Future uses of the property following mining are considered during site development and operation. The planned future use of the property will affect the reclamation process and can dictate specific requirements beyond what is required by state mining reclamation regulations.

In 2020, we continued essential partnerships with environmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the U.S. and Mexico that strengthen our position as a sustainable business. Examples include our 30-year partnership with the Cahaba River Society, which works to restore and protect the longest free-flowing river in Alabama and is the primary drinking water source for one-fifth of the state’s population.

Vulcan also maintained our Cajon Creek and Colton Dunes Conservation Banks in California, which we set up to provide permanent protection of natural areas and habitats. We are also currently working with the Sierra Foothill Conservancy to establish the Fenston Mitigation Bank in Madera County, California, which will provide thousands of acres of mitigation for impacts to the habitats of several endangered species in the San Joaquin Valley. Our Sac-Tun operation near Playa del Carmen, Mexico is implementing a long-term environmental vision and strategy that has been praised by local government authorities and NGOs as a model for other businesses and industries in Mexico.


10-Year Average: More Than 98% Citation-Free

Environmental Citations & Agency Inspections

Multi-Stakeholder Environmental Vision and Strategy

Vulcan’s Sac-Tun operation near Playa del Carmen, Mexico has developed a long-term environmental vision and strategy that has been praised by local government authorities and NGOs as a model for other businesses and industries in Mexico.

The Most Visited Park in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Quarry Park sits on the former location of the Piedmont Quarry, which operated until the early 1970s.


Vulcan land mitigation banks provide permanent protection of conserved natural areas and undertake management to maintain the habitat in perpetuity.


Acres of Land in Our Portfolio



Wildlife Habitat Council Certified Sites



Acres in Mitigation Banks & Conservation Easements


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Environmental Awards and Recognitions




Diamond Sand


The variable frequency drive (VFD) pumps in this feed prep system at the Diamond Sand Plant reduce energy consumption and equipment wear while improving the overall operational efficiency of the plant.

Managing energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our individual operations are well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency threshold for reporting and permitting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, since 2018, Vulcan has chosen to report GHG emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). We are continuing to improve operational efficiencies at our sites, which has resulted in less GHG emitted per ton of production and shipments by lowering fuel consumption and energy needs. The major GHG reduction achieved from 2013 to 2014 was the result of the divestiture of the company’s cement production facility. Since Vulcan exited the cement business, our baseline for measuring GHG emissions is 2015 in order to provide a more accurate picture of our progress over time.

Approximately 40% of our off-road fleet vehicles have now been transitioned into Tier IV and Tier IV interim engine technologies. In 2020 decreased Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 3.3% from 2019.

Our 2020 GHG emissions snapshot

  • Total U.S. GHG emissions for 2020 were 965,246 metric tons of combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, or 113.3% of our 2015 baseline emissions of 852,118 metric tons.  
  • However, Total Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emission increases in recent years have been at a rate lower than the rate of production and revenue increase.
      • 2020 Total Scope 1-2 Emissions Revenue Factor (MTCO2e per $MM Revenue): 79.8% of the 2015 baseline
      • 2020 Total Scope 1-2 Emissions Shipment Factor (MTCO2e per Tons Shipped): 97.3% of the 2015 baseline

Vulcan’s goal in 2021 is to set specific GHG reduction targets for the company. We are actively assessing the scope and scale of potential opportunities to do our part to reduce future GHG emissions. At a minimum, future GHG reductions will come by means of continuing heavy equipment replacement with higher efficiency models, procuring energy from renewable sources and seeking production efficiencies. We are confident that there are many more opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of our quarrying operations, distribution and transport networks, and the projects in which our products are used.

Additional information regarding our carbon footprint is available in the Data Dashboard and in our 2020 CDP Climate Change Questionnaire.


Emissions Down 3.3% From 2019

GHG Emissions

Revenue Up 41.9% vs. Baseline

GHG Emissions vs. Revenue

Shipments Up 16.4% vs. Baseline

GHG Emissions vs. Shipments (All Products)

Down 20.2%

Scope 1-2 Emissions Revenue Factor (MTCO2e per $MM Revenue) vs. Baseline

Down 2.7%

Scope 1-2 Emissions Shipment Factor (MTCO2e per Tons Shipped) vs. Baseline

Tier 4 Compliant Engine Technology

We’re modernizing our mobile equipment fleet to decrease emissions and increase efficiency.

Energy-Efficient Operations

LED lighting reduces energy consumption and enhances safety by improving a worker’s ability to see hazards.

Digital Information Maximizes Efficiency

Computerized controls provide plant operators with real-time information to efficiently control and manage systems.


Scope 1-2 GHG Emissions

2020 vs. 2015 (baseline)


Scope 1-2 GHG Emissions per Revenue $

2020 vs. 2015 (baseline)


Scope 1-2 GHG Emissions per Ton Shipped

2020 vs. 2015 (baseline)


Mobile Equipment Emissions

Tier 4 vs. Tier 0 Engine

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South Carolina



Dust control systems on our aggregates processing equipment reduce PM10 emissions by 94%. Common controls include spraying water through high pressure, low-flow nozzles that properly wet the material without flooding the equipment.

Running our operations to protect the air: non-GHG emissions management.

We are committed to reducing the emissions of air pollutants released from our operations. The primary air pollutant from the aggregate operations is particulate matter. The company vehicle fleet and the hot-mix asphalt (HMA) plants all release products of combustion (CO, NOx, SOx, particulates) from the use of petroleum-based fuels. A rough estimate of the total emissions from the company’s operations and mobile equipment was prepared and the total amount of primary criteria pollutant emissions was estimated in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 tons per year. Work is underway to improve the accuracy and detail of these estimates and to establish a baseline year to enable measurement of progress reducing the company’s air pollutant emissions.

The majority of the company’s operations are classified as minor or synthetic minor sources of air emissions and operate under the authority of federally authorized state or local permitting programs. We are proud of our compliance record and efforts to ensure adherence to all permit conditions and requirements. 


Reducing Particulate Emissions

We use water trucks to suppress dust from haul roads and stockpile areas.

Minimizing Track-Out

Wheel washes help prevent a potential source of particulate emissions.


PM10 Reduction with Processing Equip. Dust Control Systems


NOx Reduction - CAT 988 Loader Tier 4 vs. Tier 1





“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew somehow I’d be involved in an environmental field,” said Melissa Martinez, who has worked at Vulcan’s Southwest Division for more than 10 years. “Growing up in El Paso and seeing a lot of pollution at the border city, I realized we needed to do something about it. That’s why I’m an environmental specialist here at Vulcan.”

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Preserving and protecting our water resources.

We are committed to the protection and preservation of water resources including surface water, groundwater, and wetlands. Aggregate sites have water treatment systems consisting of settling ponds or mechanical filtration equipment such as clarifiers and filter presses, all for the treatment of water from the processing operation. Water used in the processing operation is treated to reduce total suspended solids (TSS) levels so the water can be recycled, or in cases where excess water is present, the treated water is discharged.  

Aggregate mining and processing operations collect stormwater that falls within the facility boundaries and store it in pond systems or mined-out quarry pits. The water is used in place of pumped groundwater. This combination of recycling treated water and collected stormwater runoff reduces the need for extracted groundwater to supply the operation. An estimated 70% of the company’s aggregate mining operations recycle water. 


Protecting Wetlands

Silt fences and buffer areas protect surface water, groundwater and wetlands.

Managing Stormwater

Collected stormwater is managed and used in the production process.


Mining Sites That Recycle Water (estimated)



Compliance Rate With Permitted Discharge Limits






Our primary objective is to eliminate or reduce the amount of waste material generated in the first place. Where waste generation is unavoidable, we strive to recycle as much as possible including tires, motor oils, batteries, conveyor belts and other consumables to reduce landfill waste.

Reducing waste generation and increasing recycling.

Ensuring proper management of waste materials to prevent the release of contaminants to the environment is good environmental stewardship and good risk management. Our source reduction and recycling initiatives minimize the possibility of environmental damage to soil, surface or groundwater. We also proactively guard against regulatory violations and potential liability for cleanup actions under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), state environmental laws and regulations, and private party remedial response actions. The company has engaged in a focused effort to maximize the amount of potential waste material that is recycled.  


Eliminating and reducing waste

Our Maintenance practices and equipment monitoring protocols help reduce premature equipment failure or reduced lifetime.


We use Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) as a supplemental feedstock in asphalt plants as it provides quality aggregate and valuable heat content.

8.5MM Tons

Recycled Crushed Aggregate Base Produced


6.3MM+ Tons

Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Used



Total Waste Intensity - Per 1,000 Tons Production All Products


1.85MM+ Gallons

Used Oil Recycled


830+ Tons

Used Oil Filters Recycled


42 Tons

Batteries Recycled


78 Tons

Empty Aerosol Cans Recycled



Light Bulbs Recycled



Environmental Stewardship News

Environmental Stewardship


Our 2021 ESG Report outlines our overall program, goals and policies and demonstrates the great work of our people and…

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Environmental Stewardship

Rockingham Quarry Celebrates 16-year Partnership with Ducks Unlimited

For 16 years, our Rockingham Quarry Team has partnered with Ducks Unlimited (DU), the world’s largest and most effective private…

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Environmental Stewardship

SAC-TUN Tree Nursery provides trees for reforestation

SAC-TUN, our operation near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, created an on-site tree nursery in 1990 that currently produces 23 native…

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Environmental Stewardship

Long-term environmental strategy certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council

SAC-TUN, our operation near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, has earned another recognition from the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). In December…

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Vulcan Highlights

North Carolina

Mideast Division

Environmental Stewardship

GeoDetectives Club!

We’re proud to partner with Appalachian State University to sponsor the Parkway Elementary club in Watauga County, NC. This bilingual, environmental science after-school program provides students an opportunity to explore their natural surroundings using environmental science methods and equipment.

Western Division

Environmental Stewardship

Sun to Sand & Gravel

In honor of Earth Day, meet one of our latest renewable energy initiatives: The 7.5 acre San Emidio Solar array.

North Carolina

Mideast Division

Environmental Stewardship

Fostering Youth Interest in Conservation

Brian Parker, a member of our North Carolina Team, also serves as chairman of the Wilkes Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Students recently presented conservation topics in the district’s poster, speech and slideshow competitions. Together, we’re encouraging our future leaders to advocate for the environment.


Dixie Lee

Central Division

Environmental Stewardship

Pitching In

Our Dixie Lee Team in Tennessee recently held their annual local roads cleanup. Special thanks to Gary Estes, Victoria Dills, Dylan Mann, Chad Faith, Thomas Vega, Jason Adreon and the entire Dixie Lee Team for their commitment to our communities.

Quintana Roo


International Division

Environmental Stewardship

4 Years of Distinction

Congratulations to our Sac-Tun team for earning the Mexican Center for Philanthropy’s Socially Responsible Company distinction 4 years in a row! The award recognizes our commitment to making a positive social, environmental and economic impact on our people, our communities, our environment and its biodiversity.

More Commitments


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Safety & Health

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