IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has appointed a chairman for an independent panel to advise Holcim, a leading building materials supplier, how best to conserve species.
Dr Christoph Imboden will run the independent expert panel, which will enhance Holcim Group’s performance in conserving biodiversity. The panel will review the existing conservation tools used by Holcim, such as the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Quarry Rehabilitation Recommendations.
It will advise Holcim on how these might be improved, recommend or design additional tools as necessary, and provide independent input on biodiversity conservation policy. The panel members are currently being recruited and it is expected to start work in March 2008.
Dr Imboden said: “Decisions made in board rooms of large corporations today often have a greater impact on biodiversity than decisions taken by governments of many countries. The engagement with this sector is therefore of great importance to IUCN."
It is hoped the relationship between IUCN and Holcim will contribute to sector-wide improvements in the cement and aggregates industry.
Head of IUCN’s Business and Biodiversity Programme Mohammad Rafiq said: “Holcim is clearly aware of the environmental dimension of its worldwide activities, and it is encouraging to see them seek independent expertise."
Dr Imboden is an ecologist and biodiversity conservation expert. He has been associated with IUCN, especially its Species Survival Commission, since the early 1980s.
More information on Dr Christoph Imboden
After completing his PhD on an ornithological topic in Switzerland, Dr Imboden moved to New Zealand under a postgraduate scholarship. He initially pursued academic interest in ecological research, but was soon attracted by the practical conservation challenges of the country that had undergone rapid human colonisation and flooding by alien species. He later became director (and first employee) of an international bird conservation federation which, under his 16-year stewardship, was transformed into BirdLife International.
For the past 12 years, Dr Imboden has been working as an independent consultant in Europe, Africa and Asia. A multitude of short and long assignments for national and international NGOs, governments, international agencies and the business sector, on a wide variety of topics, reflect his broad interest and experiences in conservation policy and practice. He has been successfully advising a large consumer goods company for the past ten years on corporate social responsibility issues. Alongside his strategic and advisory engagements, he maintains involvement in field projects such as conservation education programmes in Austria, India and China.