Concrete Solution to Global Poverty

The solution is right under our feet…

Concrete solutions to global povertyFor decades we have searched for the “Concrete Solutions” to reduce risk in developing nations – It has been hiding in plain sight!

Concrete…  Concrete is the 2nd most consumed product on earth, after water.  Concrete builds the world’s infrastructure, supports the buildings and keeps the homes standing. If produced correctly it will withstand even the most severe disaster. When produced badly the risk to life and property escalate beyond imagination.

Unfortunately the people at the highest risk use the poorest concrete.  The result is more death, more devastation and more of the world’s resources depleted. Concrete will save lives and reduce the risk of huge economic losses when it is part of a functioning supply chain.
concrete supply chains help the poorConcrete is a massive economic engine that produces millions of jobs and supports a significant portion of the world economy. Concrete is at the center of a huge global supply chain that has enormous economic influence, yet it is mostly ignored in risk management discussions. Billions of dollars and untold volumes of the world’s resources are wasted because we don’t create good supply chains in high risk areas.

Concrete Development… Without a functioning concrete supply system the poor are left to use up local resources and build structures that must be rebuilt time and time again. We cannot let this waste continue.

International development leaders must look to concrete and the supply chain that supports it to build both economic and structural strength for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

The Concrete Supply System

A functioning concrete supply chain at the right scaleThe concrete supply chain (CSC) describes the full range of activities through which cement-based construction products pass to become a completed building. These include activities like resource exploration, mining, engineering, production, transportation, distribution, quality control and more. These activities are so varied that they seldom reside within one firm, but are usually spread between several business enterprises.

The unique feature of this supply chain is weight. Concrete materials are heavy and heavy materials require that most of the players in the chain be located close to the end-user.

Decentralization is good… Because concrete supply cannot connect to global resources easily, the concrete chain is usually locally based and highly dependent upon small and medium enterprises (SME’s) for success. This lends itself to a decentralized system and multiple local economic opportunities.

Participation in a dynamic CSC can give SME’s the opportunity to obtain financial stability, increase productivity and expand their market. Cooperation within a network of upstream and downstream partners can enhance an SME’s financial status, access to information and the ability to advance their skills.

worker in the concrete supply chainParticipation in a supply chain within a developing nation is unique because it requires the additional support of governments, non-government organizations and other business professionals to succeed. The support of these groups allows these SME’s access to advanced resources and skills training. These connections build stronger links in a chain that adds value at each stage within a local market area.

Additionally the CSC is a highly labor intensive network relying on a large local pool of workers to bring value to the process. Work that builds strength within this value chain yields high economic returns for the local community. Investments in human and technical resources from supporting groups returns both stronger employment and more sustainable structures.

Upstream and Downstream within the System…  Global value chains rely heavily upon coordination in order to work efficiently. In most cases the various businesses within the chain find relationships both upstream and downstream from within a well established system.

using ready-mixed concrete to build the concrete supply chainReady-mixed Solution… CementTrust suggests that developing a supply system should begin in the middle of the chain and work upstream and downstream to build the supply network. By focusing on the production of ready-mixed concrete the community can begin with a strong foundation and scale-up from there. Investments in ready-mix production will force improvements in aggregate mining upstream and quality control testing downstream. As ready-mixed concrete businesses expand within the market, the opportunities for enterprise within the chain will surface upstream and down.

CementTrust suggests starting with the ready-mixed sector due to the impact that quality foundations have on the sustainability of any structure.  Reducing the risk is central to the success of this solution and foundations rely on good production practices to remain sound when disaster strikes.

Taking away the shovels…  Taking the shovels out the mixing process and providing local SME’s with the proper technology will make the largest impact on future risk. Quality ready-mixed SME’s will provide the foundation on which to build-out the complete concrete supply chain with other quality service and suppliers.

CementTrust Team…  Our team has many years of experience establishing and mentoring businesses within the ready-mixed concrete production sector of North America. CementTrust leadership has developed a huge network of experts both upstream and downstream from ready-mixed production. Leveraging these associations will improve the chances of success for the local SME’s in developing countries.

CementTrust is uniquely qualified to join governments, non-government organizations and charitable foundations in an effort to find a sustainable, scalable solution to the world’s poorest concrete supply chains.  We know the solution to global poverty because we have witnessed it work for almost 20-years.

Please join our mailing list and allow us to stay in touch…


Bruce Christensen is the author at CementTrust

14 Responses to Concrete Solution to Global Poverty

  1. Mayra says:

    Your personal post, “Cement Trust | Curing the World’s Poorest Concrete Supply Chains” was indeed definitely worth commenting down here in the comment section! Just wished to announce you really did a good work. Regards -Vivien

  2. Bhaskar says:

    I think your tutorial can solve most of the concrete problems.

  3. Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your site accidentally,

  4. Well, I have just one problem with that: undercapitalisation. The reason the concrete is poorer is because they don’t have enough money to put in more cement for what they’re doing. And suggesting a ready-mix infrastructure means even more capital. I don’t think any homeowner in his right mind uses bad construction materials if he can afford better. Anywhere in the world. So it’s a political and economic conundrum.

    • cementtrust says:

      Darragh,
      You are correct that it is a political and economic conundrum. This is why we are gathering interested parties and experts in concrete supply chain issues to find solutions. Your interest in this issue and your ideas are welcome to the discussion.

      Maybe the place to start is to improve the concrete supply chain on projects that are funded by donors and governments. If all those projects where held to a high standard and if they supported local ready-mix entrepreneurs, we would raise the bar in disaster resilience by a few notches. It doesn’t cost that much more for those with economic means to pay for better concrete practices, but it returns better security. The dividend is that over time a ready-mix infrastructure will begin to slowly develop.

      Until we start doing something, nothing will change. Are you with us?

      • Indeed, I’m with you (though, sorry for answering so belatedly). As for the highest standards: if we had a stricter law on liability, many shoddy products and corrupt behavior would soon be a thing of the past. If not a woman were tried for having an ‘illegal’ abortion, but the fathers as well, we would see less unwanted pregnancies and those that happened might take a different course. If a client of a sex slave prostitute were tried like a trafficker, we’d see a lot of human trafficking. If a public works inspector were tried for negligence and e.g. second degree manslaughter if some infrastructure he was responsible for collapsed, we’d see more concrete (and iron) in those constructs, or else less constructs, i.e. only those the concrete sufficed for. And such manslaughter should have a long statute of limitation period, i.e. the inspector would still face trial if he commissioned the works in his fifties and it collapsed and caused deaths while he enjoyed his ‘hard-earned’ public pension as a civil servant. And, oh yes, the number of applicants for these jobs might decrease a little too. All for the better.

    • Simon says:

      Based in Kenya,there IS enough money to put in more cement..problem is trying to maximize profits at the expense of quality,especially by contractors.as it stands right now,there is high demand for ready mix concrete services that are reliable from batching to delivery.Bamburi Cement company has a ready mix product but unfortunately their service is very poor

  5. etuokwu judith says:

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  7. Matt Hubert says:

    Valuable explanation regarding the concrete supply system. And yes, I am totally agree with you Without a functioning concrete supply system,we are unable to use up local resources and build structures that must be rebuilt time and time again. With the help of this system we can save our time.

    • cementtrust says:

      Thanks Matt,
      We in the international supply system need to find ways to share our knowledge and technology to raise the concrete supply system for those who are disadvantaged. By teaching them how to improve their risks will decrease.

  8. David says:

    No doubt that suppliers would need to link up with other people to build stronger supply chains.

    • cementtrust says:

      We agree with you David..
      Until there is a recognition of the problem by major players and a combined effort to make a change, concrete will be a massive risk to the most vulnerable.

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