First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
LafargeHolcim, the French-Swiss global building materials giant, is accelerating its efforts on biodiversity conservation and has signed an agreement with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a leading NGO focused on biodiversity.
Under the agreement, FFI will perform an independent external review of the Group’s existing biodiversity management plans (BMP’s) at sites in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; contribute to the development of a Group-wide strategy on karst management since karst areas are an important habitat for unique and specialised fauna; identify opportunities for enhancing biodiversity in quarry rehabilitation; and organise a stakeholder dialogue bringing together an external expert group, local government, local NGOs and LafargeHolcim staff to consult on BMP recommendations.
Caroline Hempstead, group head of Communications, Public Affairs & Sustainable Development at LafargeHolcim: “Biodiversity loss is a major global challenge. We aim to be good stewards of the land where we operate and demonstrate that proper management of quarries can reduce and reverse our impacts and even generate positive change for biodiversity. The new engagement work with FFI will play a key role in achieving our commitment.”
Dr Tony Whitten, senior adviser at FFI, said: “It is encouraging to see LafargeHolcim taking this significant step towards creating an environment where business has a long-term positive impact on biodiversity conservation. FFI works directly with businesses and the influencers of business across a range of sectors to bring about change that contributes to the protection of biodiversity in all its forms.”
2030 Plan with specific targets for biodiversity
LafargeHolcim’s sustainability strategy, The 2030 Plan, includes a biodiversity dimension. The Group’s unique Biodiversity Indicator and Reporting System (BIRS) was designed by independent experts in collaboration with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The BIRS methodology enables LafargeHolcim to aggregate the biodiversity scores across sites in a selected region or country into a national, regional, or global biodiversity index. Through BIRS, LafargeHolcim will be able to monitor the relative changes in biodiversity and understand the changes to habitats and ecosystems. To date, BIRS has been deployed in several countries and by 2020, all countries will have completed the BIRS assessment to establish the baseline condition of all their quarries.
To facilitate achieving the Group’s biodiversity commitment, a mandatory Quarry Rehabilitation and Biodiversity Directive was approved and published by the Group in 2016. The Directive sets the framework for appropriate actions to manage risks, as well as measures to protect and enhance biodiversity. Today, more than 80% of the Group’s 323 quarries with high biodiversity value have biodiversity management plans in place.
Case Study: Biodiversity in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Group has collaborated with expert scientists from the Institute of Biology of the University of the Philippines and the Diliman Science Research Foundation to ensure that biodiversity and restoration of quarries is managed appropriately at the Group’s sites in different parts of the country.
This team of ecologists and biodiversity scientists monitor the sites and measure the level of restoration of the land. Results of the baseline study show a healthy environment and rich biodiversity, with 340 plant species and 230 wildlife species in a thriving ecosystem in the restored areas. Among the animals found was the Philippine tarsier, the world’s smallest primate.