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How Business Can Contribute To Landscape Connectivity Through Good Biodiversity Management


In collaboration with the cement and aggregates sector over the last 7 years, IUCN has developed tools for integrating biodiversity into extraction planning, decision-making and operations. These tools are aimed at public and private sector and encourage collaboration for improved biodiversity management and land use planning.

  1. To present three tools that have been developed to encourage the uptake of better policies and practices for biodiversity management in extraction sites
  2. To discuss the roles of different players in the landscape in supporting an ecosystem approach
  3. To initiate collaboration between these different players for providing solutions for protected
Problem, challenge or context: 

The quarrying of raw materials – such as limestone, shale, sand and gravel – for cement and aggregates production poses significant risks to biodiversity and ecosystems. Building Materials companies and policy makers must work together to find solutions that balance the needs of society, business and nature.
Responsible industry leaders recognise the importance of safeguarding biodiversity in and around their landholdings, to demonstrate good land stewardship and help ensure their continued license to operate and access to resources. Policy makers can support these efforts with regulatory tools and incentives that help ensure that their nations’ natural resources are protected and used sustainably. Drawing on the lessons and experience of a multi-year engagement with Holcim, a leading supplier of cement and aggregates, IUCN has developed a series of guidance documents that address the risks and opportunities for biodiversity and ecosystems from quarrying for cement and aggregates. These documents emphasise the distinct but complementary roles that governments and businesses have to play in the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources

Specific elements of components: 

The Integrated Biodiversity Management System: helps companies identify biodiversity risks and opportunities of their operations and determine level of management required to avoid risk and seize opportunities. The IBMS provides recommendations to integrate biodiversity management into business thinking, including at policy, decision making, and operational levels. The Biodiversity Indicator and Reporting System: is an easy-to-apply system for monitoring biodiversity at the site level and assessing the 'suitability' of extraction sites to harbour biodiversity. It is intended to be applied with minimal expert support and can be aggregated to provide a regional and global overview of biodiversity for companies in the sector. Regulatory tools for improved biodiversity management in the cement and aggregates sector: supports policy-makers to provide an enabling framework for companies in the cement and aggregates sector to achieve better biodiversity conservation outcomes. The document provides guidance on the content of biodiversity-related policies for extractive activities and includes country-based examples.

Key lessons learned: 

The cement and aggregates sector faces both risks and opportunities related to biodiversity in and around their landholdings. If biodiversity is not managed responsibly, companies risk business disruptions stemming from lack of access to land and raw materials, both because they cannot secure permits and because they face increasing societal pressure to improve their performance. On the other hand, effective management of biodiversity presents opportunities for better site management, faster permitting and improved stakeholder relations. Implementing a comprehensive biodiversity monitoring and reporting system can help ensure informed decisions, support adaptive management and maintain accountability.
The guidance for business includes two complementary documents to help companies understand the impact they have across the lifecycle of a site and how to mitigate that impact. Both documents encourage companies to look outside the fence lines of their operations, at their broader impact on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Impacts and outcomes: 

IUCN’s work with Holcim has enabled IUCN to understand how a company in the cement and aggregates sector operates and the challenges it encounters, as well as the opportunities that can arise from good biodiversity management. This collaboration has also highlighted the importance of legislation, which sets the rules of the game and leads to the establishment of a level playing field. With the release of this suite of documents, IUCN and Holcim aim to promote the widespread and effective implementation of this guidance, fostering collaboration across business, government and civil society to create better outcomes for biodiversity.

Contact details: 
Gerard Bos, Director, Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
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