Holcim Group Support, Switzerland: Collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nat.ure (IUCN.

Holcim Group Support, Switzerland: Collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN

Holcim is committed to ecosystem and biodiversity conservation. Our aim is not only to improve our own operational approach to resource management, but to contribute to broader goals in the communities where we live and work. Addressing conservation and biodiversity issues can also contribute to sustainable livelihoods for local people.

Holcim Group companies are collaborating with IUCN on a variety of local initiatives within the context of the global agreement.

In Sri Lanka, IUCN and Holcim are working on projects to review the quality of biodiversity conservation activities at Holcim sites and to facilitate existing quarry rehabilitation planning and implementation. Holcim Lanka brings technical expertise to contribute to the rehabilitation efforts of coral ecosystems. The organizations are working together to provide a solution to the Puttalam area for solid waste management.

In Viet Nam, Holcim and IUCN have established a framework agreement with the Kien Giang Provincial People's Committee and the Kien Giang Union of Friendship Organizations to provide a platform to engage the local authorities in the Kien Giang province, where the Holcim Hon Chong plant is located. Training programmes to raise the awareness of the importance of environmental protection for the local community and Holcim staff have been developed. The partnership is working under the agreement to determine the feasibility of eco-tourism in the Mo So caves area as a means for protecting the biodiversity in the area.

In Costa Rica, Holcim and IUCN hosted a regional workshop in November 2007 on urban planning and environmental management with the municipal governments of Central American capital cities. The partnership also plans to develop construction sector guidelines for adapting to climate change and pollution abatement, land use planning, disaster risk management, and quarry rehabilitation planning.

In Nicaragua, Holcim and IUCN are exploring micro-enterprise development initiatives in the vicinity of the cement plant.. The aim is to develop and implement - in close collaboration with local stakeholders - a concept for the development of livelihood activities such as eco-tourism, which create sustainable livelihoods and at the same time conserve biodiversity.

As a result, Holcim's global agreement with IUCN, signed in early 2007, has three strategic objectives:

  • Biodiversity conservation management, progressing from the establishment of a baseline of Group companies' practices to the development of a robust, pragmatic and comprehensive biodiversity policy for the Group within three years.
  • Creation of sustainable livelihoods in natural resource management through micro-enterprise development, as well as developing projects that link biomass with biodiversity conservation.
  • Promote good practice by sharing the learning with the wider industry and conservation communities.

Holcim is also actively involved in the WBCSD ecosystems focus area.

Holcim and IUCN have created a coordinating structure for collaborative activities, have developed a workplan and established an Independent Expert Panel, chaired by Dr. Christopher Imboden.

The 5-member panel is comprised of world-respected experts in the fields of biodiversity and anthropology, and will provide recommendations on improving the Holcim environmental policy landscape and tools for embedding biodiversity conservation into our operations. The panel will also assist in establishing key elements for a biodiversity strategy.

A baseline of Group practices in biodiversity conservation management has also been completed from an inventory of more than 300 cement and aggregate quarries. In addition, Holcim has provided a secondee to the IUCN species programme and sponsors The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an inventory of the global conservation status of species.

Since the establishment of the relationship the panel has reviewed country operations in Spain and Indonesia to learn about our operations, understand the local context for biodiversity conservation, and review of the application of conservation tools in local operations. The panel has supplemented these reviews with visits to operations in Belgium and Hungary.