6 Feb 2013

CEMEX teams-up with Malaysian Nature Society to conserve the country’s rich natural heritage

Agreement signed by CEMEX Malaysia, MNS and BirdLife International. From left to right: Joaquin Estrada (CEMEX Asia President), Fikry Sami El-Kaissouni (CEMEX Malaysia Country Director), Yeap Chin Aik (MNS Technical Specialist, Conservation), Shah Redza H
By Charlie Butt

In a strengthening of BirdLife’s relationship with cement and aggregates company, CEMEX, the multi-national’s Malaysian division has formalised a pilot partnership with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS, BirdLife in Malaysia).

The partnership’s long-term vision is to tackle the threats facing Malaysia’s rich natural heritage, as well as protecting and conserving important areas for nature, beginning with a project in North-West Malaysia.

Through the partnership, CEMEX Malaysia and MNS will work together to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan to address risks and assess opportunities at an active granite quarry site at Bukit Tambun, Penang.

Additionally, the two organisations will begin conservation efforts at the Teluk Air Tawar - Kuala Muda coast Important Bird Area (IBA), an area of high biodiversity value especially for migratory shorebirds, such as Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer, and other coastal flora and fauna.

BirdLife International will provide guidance and advice on the implementation of the project. This partnership builds on the progress made during 2012, with significant developments made in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Mexico.

Mr. Joaquin Estrada (President of CEMEX Asia) said that the partnership represents the company’s global commitment and efforts to integrate nature conservation into its daily operations.

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“CEMEX pays special attention to protecting biodiversity, minimising the impact of climate change, and establishing global standards and guidelines for environmental impact and performance. This partnership between CEMEX Malaysia and MNS is in line with the global partnership that CEMEX has with BirdLife International for the conservation of wild birds, their habitats and global biodiversity.”

The partnership with MNS is an extension of the partnership the company has with BirdLife International. Malaysia was clearly a priority country for the CEMEX-BirdLife Global Programme, having been identified as hosting a CEMEX site that overlaps an area of global importance for biodiversity.

Pacific Golden Plover take-off together at Teluk Air Tawar IBA, Malaysia, where CEMEX and MNS will embark on conservation efforts. Photo: David Bakewell 

Dr Marco Lambertini, BirdLife International’s Chief Executive, said:

“The signing of this national partnership agreement represents an important new chapter for the CEMEX – BirdLife Global Programme. I am delighted that our valued partnership with CEMEX is enabling MNS to enhance its IBA conservation programme, whilst at the same time helping CEMEX increase the scope of its sustainability activities in Malaysia.”

Mr. Fikry Sami El Kaissouni (Country Director for CEMEX Malaysia) said:

“We are proud that Malaysia is one of the pilot countries identified in which to develop conservation projects. We have a huge responsibility to conserve and protect the environment in which we operate and this partnership is the perfect channel. In MNS we have found a partner that shares the same vision of achieving an environmentally-sustainable development. We are excited that CEMEX Malaysia and MNS are leading the way in conservation efforts with this collaboration and hope that it will promote wider, larger-scale initiatives at the national level.”

En. Shah Redza Hussein (Executive Director of MNS) echoes Fikry’s commitment and urges for more conservation efforts by corporates.

“MNS together with BirdLife International is heartened to formalise this partnership with CEMEX Malaysia. Hopefully more corporate citizens will come forward and take leadership to conserve our natural heritage.”

Fikry further commented that the partnership can potentially become a shining example for quarry management, while at the same time providing a platform to educate the public, starting with its own employees.