IUCN - Holcim Relationship

IUCN and Holcim have been working together since 2007 to strengthen biodiversity management within Holcim’s operations and to contribute to sector-wide improvements in the cement and related sectors.

The major outcome of the IUCN-Holcim Phase I agreement (2007-2010) was the development of a Biodiversity Management System to guide the systematic integration of biodiversity considerations into Holcim’s cement and aggregate operations worldwide.

In 2011, the two organizations renewed their collaboration for a further three years. Building on the achievements of the first agreement, the IUCN-Holcim Phase II agreement aims to:

To complement and strengthen these expected outcomes, country-based agreements between IUCN country and regional offices and Holcim country operations have been, and will continue to be, established.


Why Holcim?

Holcim is a Swiss-based global company supplying cement, aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel), ready-mix concrete and asphalt, as well as related services.

In 2006, IUCN approached Holcim about becoming a partner in the project to extend IUCN’s headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. Holcim responded positively to this idea but also proposed expanding the collaboration: the Group was interested in better understanding biodiversity and its implications, and wanted to do this with the best available partner.

Holcim: A leader in sustainable development

Holcim had already placed sustainable development – which includes environmental stewardship – at the core of its business strategy. As a founding member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), the Group had also contributed – and committed – to a number of industry recommendations and guidelines for a more sustainable cement industry. This includes a commitment to carry out environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA) following CSI guidelines, and develop quarry rehabilitation plans. Holcim is also the co-chair of the CSI Biodiversity Task Force and an active member in the WBCSD Ecosystems Focus Area.

Extractive industries: an IUCN priority
As a large-footprint and resource-intensive industry, the cement and aggregates sector is one of IUCN’s priorities for business engagement. Engaging with the building materials sector is also central to IUCN’s work to promote a green economy and sustainable development.

Given its leadership in sustainable development within these industries, Holcim was a logical partner for IUCN – not only to build on Holcim’s previous biodiversity approach but also as part of a broader effort to influence the entire sector.

IUCN and Holcim: a model for cooperation
The IUCN-Holcim Phase I agreement (2007-2010) had a number of significant outcomes, including:

  • The creation of an Independent Expert Panel (now the Biodiversity Advisory Panel) to provide independent input and advice on biodiversity issues to Holcim
  • The development of an integrated Biodiversity Management System for Holcim 
  • Revised corporate policies and tools related to biodiversity

These achievements – together with ongoing work under the Phase II agreement and country-level partnerships around the world – provide an excellent model for how IUCN, and the wider environmental community, can engage in substantive cooperation with a large global cooperation.

Engagement with Holcim at both global and national levels has also enabled IUCN to develop a better understanding of an environmentally important global industry.

Video: IUCN-Holcim partnership

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Video: IUCN-Holcim partnership
(longer version)

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