Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by CEMEX UK

CEMEX welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry on the Natural Environment White Paper

Our submission is based on CEMEX’s experience of committing to an ambitious 10-year Biodiversity Strategy, which means we are well positioned to provide a view on how other companies can meaningfully contribute to the natural environment.


CEMEX is a global provider of building products including aggregates, cement and building products. In the UK, we generate annual sales of £1 billion and employ 3,500 people across 450 sites and are a significant land holder, managing approximately 10,000 hectares.

Protecting and Creating Biodiversity

As a major extractor of minerals, we realise that our business has consequences for the environment. We take our responsibilities very seriously and have restored numerous areas to high conservation standards, including SSSI, SAC or other general nature reserves with important habitats. Good examples are the marshland habitat at Denge Quarry (Kent), an important refuge for water birds and home to unusual plants and invertebrates, and the 145 hectares Attenborough Nature Reserve (Nottinghamshire), which opened in 2005 and is now a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.

In 2010, we began a national long-term partnership with RSPB to provide a strategy for embedding biodiversity in our business.

CEMEX UK Biodiversity Strategy 2010–2020

We employed a full-time RSPB adviser to consult with our operations and help develop a goal-driven strategy, which was launched in September 2010. We have committed to:

Creating and maintaining 1,000 hectares of UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority habitats by 2020. This is the size of around 1,300 football pitches.

Establishing biodiversity flagship sites.

Empowering employees to take biodiversity action.

Working in partnership for biodiversity.

Champion biodiversity to promote its benefits and importance.

From our Experience

Key to developing a cost-effective biodiversity programme is pre-planning and ensuring that any actions are embedded into operations. For instance, if our site restoration planners factor in RSPB’s recommendations at an early stage, a better biodiversity outcome can be achieved for the same cost.

The Government is right to try to motivate businesses by pointing to the “business case” for protecting biodiversity. With regards to minerals extraction, companies are also more likely to secure future reserves if they can show the relevant local authorities their track record of restoring quarry sites to the highest standard.

CEME’s unique biodiversity strategy can be viewed at www.cemex.co.uk and both CEMEX and the RSPB would be pleased to provide oral evidence on how the private sector can support the public sector in this area. Members are also welcome to visit CEMEX’s restored sites to understand the restoration process better.

More about CEMEX—Beyond Biodiversity

Placing an emphasis on biodiversity is just one of the ways we are trying to become a more sustainable company. This sits alongside:

Replacing over 17 million lorry miles with more rail transportation during 2009.

A 15% water usage reduction in 2009.

Investing in utilising unrecyclable household waste as a fuel in our cement kilns—in 2009, we saved over 160,000 tonnes of CO2, the same emissions as around 64,000 cars produce in a year.

Investing £49 million in 2009 on a new grinding plant in Tilbury (Essex) that uses 20–40% less energy than traditional plants.

In 2010, being the first company in our sector to develop carbon labelling for its products

Pledging to reduce our net 2015 carbon emissions, per tonne of product, by 25%, based on 1990 levels.

21 June 2011

Prepared 16th July 2012