UltraTech: Biodiversity Management

UltraTech is committed to conducting its business responsibly and recognises the importance of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services for the long-term sustainability of its operations. The Company takes concerted actions to protect, restore and promote all forms of life in the ecosystem. UltraTech recognises that our business can have an impact on the local ecology where we operate and is aware of the important role it must play in protecting biodiversity and the ecosystem.

Governed by our Biodiversity policy, UltraTech is committed to maximize biodiversity around its plants and quarry sites under various biodiversity management initiatives. The Company has started monitoring the ecological evolution of its sites to help identify risks and opportunities. We are also committed to No Net loss which is in line with the Aditya Birla Group Biodiversity Policy. UltraTech has so far undertaken biodiversity assessment for eight of its plants. UltraTech has committed to conduct biodiversity assessment and develop biodiversity management plans for all its Integrated Units by 2024. The Company is intensely moving towards achieving this target.

Our engagement with IUCN

UltraTech has collaborated with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to create a scientific and systematic approach towards biodiversity management. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

UltraTech’s engagement with IUCN has evolved from the ground level through its unit Sewagram Cement Works (SCW) in Gujarat and at the corporate level to develop policies and technical standards to ground level comprehensive assessment and data collection at four more units.

The sites are selected based on the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool report which we have used for initial screening of all our units. We have identified the sites which are high in biodiversity and a comprehensive Biodiversity Management Plan is being prepared for these sites.

Sewagram Cement Works – where it all began

In 2017, UltraTech entered into an agreement with IUCN for developing a detailed biodiversity and ecosystem services management plan for Sewagram Cement Works (SCW) located in Gujarat. IUCN carried out a comprehensive baseline assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services in and around SCW’s area of operations. The results from the biodiversity assessment were used to develop a robust Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the unit. The BMP includes a suite of measures designed to avoid, minimise, rectify, and/or compensate for impacts to biodiversity resulting from the development and operations of the cement unit and mines area. Native nursery development, on-site thorn forest habitat development and restoration of grasslands are some of the biodiversity projects implemented at SCW over the years.

Key achievements:

  • All our sites have been assessed for potential biodiversity-related features through the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT).
  • None of our sites have a key biodiversity area within 10 km radius.
  • Biodiversity assessment has been undertaken at eight of our integrated plants- Rajashree Cement Works, Balaji Cement Works, Aditya Cement Works, Sewagram Cement Works, Kotputli Cement Works, Vikram Cement Works, Andhra Pradesh Cement Works and Reddipalayam Cement Works.
  • A Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) comprising of five biodiversity conservation strategies has been formulated for Rajashree Cement Works. The BMP’s vision is to positively enhance biodiversity at the site by 2025.
  • The Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) developed for Aditya Cement Works will include habitat development and mitigation measures such as Progressive Restoration, Natural resource development, Habitat Quality Enhancement and many others.
  • At Kotputli Cement Works, the Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) will suggest mitigative measures, plans, and other projects with specific initiatives.

Way Forward

Over the next few years, UltraTech will work towards implementing the measures identified under the biodiversity management plans at the earlier mentioned eight manufacturing units. The learnings from these projects would be shared with all our integrated units to guide them towards identifying their biodiversity risks and develop a time-based strategy towards creating biodiversity management plans by 2024.

In parallel, UltraTech plans to create awareness amongst value chain partners on biodiversity and related ecosystem services. UltraTech will continue to engage through industry-level platforms such as Leaders for Nature (LfN) to enhance awareness and contribute towards dissemination of biodiversity related information and knowledge.