Cement giant vows to respect World Heritage in joint effort with IUCN and UNESCO
Building materials company CEMEX has committed to staying out of World Heritage sites and to building awareness of the need to protect them, following a collaboration with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature.
of May 2016
The commitment, confirmed in the firm’s 2015 Sustainable Development
Report issued this week, is in line with the globally accepted principle
that listed sites are off limits for the extractive industry.
It states: "CEMEX fully recognises the need to protect the outstanding
universal value of World Heritage sites and that these sites should be
considered no-go areas and nothing should impinge on their settings and
Cemex, one of the world’s biggest building materials firms, also
commits to promoting a culture of respect for nature among its
stakeholders – a pledge evidenced in a recent book, Earth’s Legacy:
Natural World Heritage, produced in collaboration with UNESCO, IUCN,
Conservation International and the WILD Foundation.
"By fully endorsing the principle of ‘no-go’ in World Heritage sites
for extractives, CEMEX is showing the type of leadership the
international community is calling for,” says Inger Andersen, Director General of IUCN.
"This commitment confirms the important role that the private sector
has to play in protecting World Heritage sites and in supporting nature
conservation efforts more broadly.”
"World Heritage sites do not belong solely to one people or one
country, but to humanity as a whole, and protecting them is a
responsibility we collectively share now and in times to come,” says Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.
"We welcome CEMEX’s commitment as recognition that we must all work
together to ensure that the world’s most outstanding places flourish in a
sustainable manner for the benefit of future generations.”
Despite their high profile, increasing numbers of natural World
Heritage sites are under threat, including from extractive industries
such as mining or quarrying, and large-scale infrastructure such as
roads and dams. In 2014, IUCN classified 54 natural World Heritage sites
(about 23%) as currently threatened by extractives and identified the
rise in extractive concessions and operations as amongst the greatest
potential threats that could affect natural World Heritage sites in the
The damaging effects of extractive activities on World Heritage have
been better recognised in recent times, with an increasing number of
private-sector commitments. The no-go principle has been endorsed by the
International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) grouping 23 mining
companies, oil-and-gas companies Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Tullow
Oil, and financial firms JP Morgan and HSBC.
CEMEX’s commitment follows the release of Earth’s Legacy: Natural
World Heritage last December – part of its Nature book series which aims
to generate environmental awareness.
"CEMEX has demonstrated its belief in conservation for a
quarter-century by producing this outstanding book series, of which this
wonderful volume on World Heritage is the latest contribution,” says Russ Mittermeier, Executive Vice-Chair of Conservation International and former Vice-President of IUCN.
"They should be commended for having locked in their commitment to the
world’s highest priority natural areas through their very strong
statement on the inviolate nature of UNESCO World Heritage sites.”
* Buffer zones are areas around World Heritage sites giving an added layer of protection.For more information or interviews please contact:
IUCN Media Relations,
+41 79 452 28 72
IUCN World Heritage Communications,
+41 22 999 07 16
UNESCO World Heritage Centre Communications,
+33 1 45 68 16 60,
Photo: Günter Schüttauf / pixelio.de
Tags: Building and Construction Industry | Biodiversity policy
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