Holcim Philippines: Butterfly garden at the cement plant.

Holcim Philippines: Butterfly garden at the cement plant

Holcim Philippines' Lugait plant in Misamis Oriental established a butterfly garden in September 2007. The garden is not only an ecological asset, it provides livelihood opportunities for the local community.

Aiming to enhance the ecosystem on site, the plant established the butterfly garden to support various endangered species. Butterflies are important pollinators and they are good indicators of the ecological quality of a habitat. According to Lorenzo Pendang, Plant Manager at Lugait, "Butterflies are very sensitive to changes in the environment and help warn us about unhealthy changes that are taking place. The butterflies are a sign that our plant has a healthy environment."

In line with its philosophy of corporate social responsibility, the plant has sponsored workshops on butterfly breeding and handcrafting decorative items from dead butterflies such as framed butterflies and bookmarks. The workshops also taught attendees how to market these items. They were attended by employees, students from various schools, employees of contractors, and residents from nearby communities.

Other community-based projects of the Lugait plant include a reforestation program for a 500-hectare idle site near the plant, an herb garden, and an orchidarium.

The butterfly garden inside the plant has become an ecotourism attraction in Misamis Oriental. Residents, students, government employees and officials, and even foreign visitors come to the cement plant to observe the various species of butterflies, one of nature's most fascinating creatures. According to Julius Baliog, Mining, Environment and CSR Manager at Holcim Lugait, "We conduct education tours for students from neighboring cities and provinces such as Iligan. Many biologists and foreign dignitaries also visit the butterfly garden. That is why the Iligan tourist council and Iligan Mayor Lawrence Lluch Cruz now propose adding the Lugait plant to the city's tourist itinerary." The project has inspired several government agencies of local communities to create similar gardens.

Holcim Philippines' Lugait plant has received several citations from the government for its environmental and community service efforts. In November 2007, for example, the plant received the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award for "Best Mining Forest".