The Marble Institute of America (MIA) announced that it is launching the Natural Stone Sustainability Fund in order to raise funds to support the Natural Stone Council’s (NSC) sustainability initiative. The fund will also help the MIA defray the costs of several of its own sustainability initiatives, including a green advertising campaign on behalf of the natural stone industry, the creation of natural stone sustainability CEU programs, the development of educational resources and much more.

“Ultimately, it will help the MIA to further develop a case for natural stone being viewed as an environmentally preferred, sustainable building material,” said 2010 MIA President Brett Rugo of Rugo Stone, LLC in Lorton, VA. “MIA, with over 1,700 member firms, is raising funds from across the U.S. and around the globe to not only continue to support the work of NSC on sustainability, but also to educate designers and communicate to all a message about the many attributes of natural stone as a sustainable building material.”

Part of NSC’s effort, supported by MIA and other stone industry organizations, has been to gather and develop data that makes a credible case for natural stone as a sustainable building material. Much of this work - substantiating the stone industry’s environmental footprint through scientific means - has been done by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Clean Products (CCP), a credible and neutral third party.

“With MIA’s global reach among quarriers, distributors, contracting installers, fabricators and others, we feel the association can really help in raising funds that will enable this effort to be accelerated,” Rugo explained. Expenditures from the fund will be overseen by MIA’s executive committee.

“The work has literally just begun,” Rugo said. “This critical mission needs the financial contributions from every segment of the industry so that we can continue the research and development and communicate the stone industry’s position as being serious about protecting the environment.

“Our goal is simple. We know that natural stone is beautiful, safe, durable and practical, but we need to reaffirm the stone industry’s overarching goal of positioning natural stone as the preferable green building material,” Rugo continued.

To facilitate the fund-raising effort, MIA has established the MIA Natural Stone Sustainability Honor Roll and will recognize and honor supporters at the following levels: Platinum: $10,000 and above; Gold: $5,000 to 10,000; Silver: $2,000 to $5,000; and Bronze: $500 to $2,000.

Contributions can be sent to the Marble Institute Natural Stone Sustainability Fund in Cleveland, OH. For a donation form, please visit: