IUCN and Holcim worked together from 2007 until 2014 to strengthen biodiversity management within Holcim’s operations, and to contribute to sector-wide improvements in the cement and related sectors. Holcim (now LafargeHolcim) is a Swiss-based global building materials company.
During their collaboration, IUCN and Holcim developed robust ecosystem conservation standards for the group, and built a system to integrate biodiversity considerations into the planning, operational and post-operational phases of Holcim’s extraction operations.
Creating biodiversity management tools for industry-wide application
The ultimate goal of the relationship was to go beyond company boundaries to contribute to sector-wide improvements in the cement and related industries. In 2011, Holcim and IUCN adapted the company-specific management system to create the Integrated Biodiversity Management System, a tool which helps companies identify biodiversity risks and opportunities and determine the corresponding level of management activities needed. The relationship also saw the production of a complementary monitoring system to keep track of biodiversity at extraction sites. The Biodiversity Indicator and Reporting System was designed as an easy-to-apply system for monitoring biodiversity at the site level and assessing the “suitability” of extraction sites to harbour biodiversity.
Whilst implementing the biodiversity management system, Holcim found instances where legal requirements for sites conflicted with best practice for biodiversity management. This added a regulatory aspect to the relationship as the project used these examples to build a guide to help policy-makers provide an enabling framework for companies to achieve better biodiversity conservation outcomes.
IUCN and Holcim: a model for cooperation
These achievements provide an excellent model for how IUCN, and the wider environmental community, can engage in substantive cooperation with a large global corporation. Engagement with Holcim -- at both global and national levels -- has also enabled IUCN to develop a better understanding of this global industry.
As a result, IUCN is now working with the World Business Council’s Cement Sustainability Initiative to manage a consultation process around the development of its Concrete Sustainability Council (CSC) scheme, aimed at becoming a sector-wide certification system.
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