While mineral raw materials play a vital and valuable role in human wellbeing providing products that meet the needs of today's society, the way they are extracted from the earth has a potential impact on biodiversity. The minerals industry is well aware of this and of its responsibility to support biodiversity and is actively working towards its conservation and enhancement.
Biodiversity is the variety of all life and natural processes on Earth, including diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Biodiversity provides food and medicine, fresh air and clean water, protection from natural disasters and green spaces for humans. It is the natural capital which supports all our lives. Biodiversity is vital for our survival and is a key measure of the health of our planet. Yet studies show that biodiversity suffers from habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, climate change and overexploitation, all of which are seriously eroding the capacity of our planet to sustain life. Governments worldwide have promised to save biodiversity. They will need the help of all stakeholders, particularly businesses to meet this challenge.
At many sites, conserving biodiversity is part of the decision-making process and a foundation of land-restoration and water management policy. Biodiversity is taken into account before, during and after extraction and, in some cases its successful management has led to the creation of new natural habitats. Many quarry operators solicit the help of biodiversity specialists and work in partnership with government, universities, communities and other stakeholders on biodiversity.
IMA-Europe members are contributing to many environmental, biodiversity and conservation projects:
- IMA-Europe Biodiversity Statement,
- The IMA-Europe Biodiversity case studies offer examples of biodiversity conservation on individual sites,
- Partnership with IUCN Countdown 2010,
- Partner on the EU Business@Biodiversity Platform
- Good Environmental Practice in the European Extractive Industry: a Reference Guide
- IMA-Europe Recognition Award for Biodiversity & Eco-System Services (since 2016)
- Partnering under the ELCN LIFE Project establishing a European Landowners Conservation Network (2017-2020)
EU Biodiversity Policy and Initiatives
EU nature legislation dates back to 1979 (Birds Directive). Natura 2000, the EUwide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy.
In 2001, during the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the EU and its Member States were amongst the first to commit to halt biodiversity loss in the EU by 2010.
In its 2010 Biodiversity Baseline report however, the EU acknowledges that while significant progress has been made in some areas, (e.g. completion of the EU Natura 2000 Network, reduction of freshwater pollution), the overall target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 has not been reached. As a consequence, new EU targets aiming at “halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020” were approved in March 2010, and laid down in a new biodiversity policy and strategy published in May 2011: “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020”. These were complemented by an EU Action Plan for People, Nature and the Economy, launched in 2017, whereby incentives and possibilities are explored to encourage and facilitate further conservation measures by the private sector.