IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), in collaboration with UEPG and other industry associations in the aggregates  and cement sector, has launched a new guide to encourage companies to responsibly manage biodiversity throughout their operations.

The guide - Integrated Biodiversity Management System - was developed over four years by an independent panel of biodiversity and ecosystem experts in consultation with industry practitioners and other stakeholders. Following numerous visits to quarries in several countries, including Spain, Belgium and China, the panel created a procedure for adopting a systematic approach to safeguarding biodiversity on cement and aggregate landholdings.

Aggregates and concrete are among the most used resources on Earth, second only to water. Extraction of raw materials – such as limestone, shale and sand – can have significant environmental impacts, posing major risks to biodiversity and ecosystems.

Due to the nature of their operations, cement and aggregate companies can have important impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, and with that comes a responsibility to protect biodiversity on industry landholdings,” said Gerard Bos, Director of IUCN’s Global Business and Biodiversity Programme. “Through integrated biodiversity management, these companies have the opportunity to become biodiversity stewards both in and around their extraction sites.

“The European Aggregates Industry with its 25,000 extraction sites across Europe has great potential to further contribute to biodiversity, in particular reaching out to the many Small and Medium Enterprises among the 15,000 companies. Simple and cost-effective tools will help big and small operators to safeguard biodiversity,” said Dirk Fincke, Secretary General of the European Aggregates Association. “UEPG is pleased to continue its fruitful cooperation with IUCN on biodiversity which began in 2007.”

By implementing careful biodiversity management, cement and aggregates companies have an important opportunity to improve their ability to secure permits and maintain a social license to operate among communities surrounding their operations. The Integrated Biodiversity Management System has been developed primarily for sustainability and environment managers responsible for implementing company-wide systems for biodiversity management. It is also useful for site managers and managers of small to medium enterprises with extraction operations.

The guide is centred on the development of a policy with clear targets that should shape all company actions on biodiversity. It provides an overview of key steps for cement and aggregates companies to take, including identifying risks and opportunities, prioritising the level of management required at each extraction site, establishing data requirements and maintaining and enhancing biodiversity according to the level of risk.

The development of the Integrated Biodiversity Management System is supported by and will be disseminated in collaboration with: the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSDi) Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi); CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association; FICEM, the Inter-American Cement Federation; and UEPG, the European Aggregates Association.

The guide can be downloaded here - For more information on IUCN’s work with the cement and aggregates sector, click here.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact UEPG Secretariat.