The cement industry recognises the importance of its local impacts and has taken joint action since 2002 to address them consistently across the sector through the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), a platform under the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). CSI is a global effort by 24 major cement producers which account for around 30% of the world’s cement production. BirdLife has established biodiversity partnerships with two of the cement and aggregate industry global leaders Cemex and HeidelbergCement. The members of CSI have adopted a common system of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that aim to measure the environmental impacts and ensuing responses of the industry. Two of these indicators specifically address biodiversity. An increasing number of members implement the KPIs and provide data.
Lead by the company “Biodiversity Ambitions 2020” HeidelbergCement aims to establish a leadership position in the development of biodiversity at its mining and quarrying sites. Therefore, In addition to the indicators recommended by the CSI, the company has developed further a more detailed framework with the help of renowned scientists. Ten practical indicators help to measure and control biodiversity in operating extraction sites, taking as a basis biodiversity in the surrounding landscape. The indicators measure biodiversity development as part of routine quarry management and the effects of restoration measures.
In line with the company Biodiversity Guideline, HeidelbergCement started in 2009 to develop Biodiversity Management Plans (BMP). Initially the aim was to cover all mineral extraction sites in Europe that overlap with the Natura 2000 network in order to minimize the risks related to the new European Environmental Liability Directive. In the first stage, 50 mining sites from different European countries were selected for a pilot study in order to develop a GIS database, a management concept and a corporate template for further plans. BMPs were seen by the company as a cost effective tool to manage risks, avoid conflicts with nature protection and support the company’s contribution to biodiversity. In the frame of their biodiversity partnership, HeidelbergCement and BirdLife will be monitoring and reviewing the BMPs and are already developing specific projects to implement priority actions.
By 2012 HeidelbergCement has developed BMPs for 137 mining sites which include mapping and the evaluation of the various habitat types, as well as management measures for focus habitats and species, while taking into consideration the requirements of mineral and raw material extraction. The corporate BMP template and various training materials are offered to the country managers as the development of new plans proceeds.
CEMEX, a global building solutions company with a presence in more than 50 countries, signed a partnership agreement with BirdLife International in 2007. Building on positive action already undertaken by CEMEX across the world, the first significant development of the partnership was the launch of the CEMEX-BirdLife Biodiversity Scoping Study in 2010.
The study prioritises CEMEX sites in terms of their proximity to areas of high value for biodiversity. The study also provides a set of innovative tools, spatial data and information describing the main biodiversity issues of each site. This enables partners to understand risks and opportunities, and evaluate proactive approaches towards conserving and enhancing biodiversity relevant to CEMEX sites.
The CEMEX-BirdLife Global Programme priority at the moment is to develop and implement Biodiversity Action Plans (BAP) on the highest priority sites as identified by the Scoping Study, CEMEX and BirdLife partners. In addition to supporting active and emerging relationships, e.g. in France, the approach currently being taken is to focus on the delivery of pilot BAPs in each CEMEX region. Two of these regions – the Mediterranean and Northern Europe – have active partnerships, in Spain and the UK respectively.
SEO began working with CEMEX Spain to implement the Baseline Survey component of their Biodiversity Action Plan in late 2011, and have now completed an initial assessment of the status of birds throughout the quarry. Working alongside another NGO, (Grupo Naumanni, assessing wider biodiversity) recommendations to enhance the quarry as well as Soto Pajares IBA will be made as part of this on-going process.
As well as working on various site Biodiversity Action Plans, led by the RSPB’s CEMEX UK Biodiversity Advisor, the RSPB has been working with CEMEX UK since 2009 on a variety of areas to achieve shared objectives for priority species and habitats under the framework of Building Biodiversity, the partnership’s biodiversity strategy. Working closely with the RSPB, CEMEX UK recently won the UK’s leading trade body’s Biodiversity Award, for large-scale heathland creation.
Recently, the RSPB provided insight and training to the Polish BirdLife partner, OTOP, and CEMEX Poland operations, both of whom are now exploring ways to collaborate further. The Global Programme will continue to support BirdLife partners to advance relationships with CEMEX, to achieve outcomes for biodiversity that meet their own aims as well as contributing towards the EU 2020 Biodiversity Target.
Boris Barov, Boris.Barov(at)birdlife.org
CEMEX – BirdLife International Partnership
Charlie Butt, Charlie.Butt(at)birdlife.org