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Demand for energy and resources such as copper, aluminium and rare earth metals is pushing extraction into more remote corners of the planet, putting increasing pressure on wildlife and ecosystems.
As important drivers for economic growth, extractive industries are a growing activity in many developing countries worldwide, where environmental regulations and management are often not in place.
Together the extractive sector – oil, gas and mining – has substantial impacts on many of the threatened species and ecosystems that Fauna & Flora International (FFI) works to conserve.
Mining, oil and gas companies depend on the environment to function. For example, a mine operation may rely on the local watershed to supply water for extracting ore and other activities. If the watershed’s forests are degraded, water flow will be affected and the mine may find it difficult to source the water it needs, putting the business at risk.
FFI believes that business value is gained through the knowledge that resources are not being depleted and impacts are within limits acceptable to local communities, customers and investors alike.
FFI works at three levels with extractive businesses to build long-term strategies for environmental management:
• With the influencers of business such as governments, the finance sector and intergovernmental organisations to ensure they adequately address biodiversity issues and thus promote change
• Directly with businesses whose operations can significantly impact on wildlife areas and species
• With small and medium sized enterprises to help them minimise their impacts on biodiversity
In addition to long-standing partnerships with Anglo American, eni and Rio Tinto, FFI is working with cement company Holcim to develop a conservation plan for the Indonesian island of Nusa Kambangan and with the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre to assist in the development of criteria to determine biodiversity risk across BP’s operations.
FFI is advising De Beers, Nexen, Areva and Lafarge on the global management of their biodiversity impacts through engagement on Stakeholder Advisory Forums.
We sit on several advisory boards and provide independent review of key biodiversity policies and practices, including for Rio Tinto Simandou (Guinea), Rio Tinto QMM (Madagascar), Total Albertine Rift Development (Uganda), and Oyu Tolgoi, (Mongolia).
FFI is actively involved in initiatives aimed at ensuring best practice across industry sectors that have large footprints. We have been actively engaging with the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) since 2004, the global oil and gas Industry association for environmental and social issues (IPIECA) since 2002, and the Better Coal Initiative and Dutch Coal Dialogue since 2011.
FFI also co-chairs the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative which is developing a performance standard and a chain of custody standard for the entire aluminium supply chain.
By working at all levels with the extractive sector, we will continue to drive best practice and encourage businesses and their influencers to strive for a net positive impact (PDF) on biodiversity and ecosystems.