Signed in February 2007, the IUCN-Holcim Phase I agreement aimed to develop robust ecosystem conservation standards for the Holcim Group and contribute to sector-wide improvements in the cement and related sectors. Initially for a period of three years, the agreement was later extended to 31 December 2010.

Objectives, activities and outcomes
The strategic objectives of the Phase I agreement, and their associated activities and outcomes are listed below. However, most of the relationship's effort and activity in Phase I was concentrated on the first of these objectives.

1. Review Holcim’s biodiversity conservation management and develop a more comprehensive corporate biodiversity policy and strategy

  • A 5-member Independent Expert Panel was established, which provided independent input on biodiversity conservation policy for the Holcim Group; reviewed existing management tools used by Holcim; and advised how these might be strengthened to conserve biodiversity more effectively
  • The panel provided recommendations for a Biodiversity Management System (BMS) to systematically guide Holcim in its approach to biodiversity management
  • Based on these recommendations, Holcim launched a BMS framework in January 2011 which consists of guidance and tools to assist sites with biodiversity management
  • Holcim issued a revised Environmental Policy in January 2011 that includes a specific biodiversity commitment, as well as an internal biodiversity directive to support this commitment and BMS implementation
  • Holcim has committed to have Biodiversity Action Plans in place for 80% of sensitive sites by 2013 and 100% of sites by 2015 

2. Support sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity conservation through joint initiatives of mutual interest

  • Several country-level agreements (see below) achieved positive conservation outcomes and enhanced understanding of ways to make the cement industry environmentally sustainable
  • IUCN and Holcim published procedures and guidelines for biodiversity-based microenterprise development (pdf)
  • A Holcim secondment to the IUCN Species Programme generated The business case for the IUCN Red List of Threated Species (pdf) and developed communications tools to explain the IUCN Red List to a broader audience and help IUCN persuade the business community of its importance

3. Promote good practice by sharing lessons learned with the industry and related communities

Country agreements
A number of agreements between Holcim country operations and IUCN regional and country offices were also signed to complement and strengthen the work of the global agreement. These country-based agreements addressed site-specific needs; several of these are still ongoing.

Relationship success
An independent review carried out at the end of 2010 concluded that the main objectives of the partnership agreement between IUCN and Holcim were fulfilled and recommended that the relationship be renewed for a further three years.