Lafarge Canada announced its key role in the massive conservation effort undertaken in the sensitive Great Lakes region as a partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). The NCC’s Manitoulin Island acquisition is one of its largest-ever in Ontario.
With a $16-million price tag, the initiative relied heavily on the support of many partners. Lafarge Canada provided a donation of $100,000, with additional planned support in future years to enhance the conserved land’s biodiversity and educational value.
“This is a big land area now held in trust for nature by NCC,” explained Rob Cumming, head of environment and sustainability for Eastern Canada. “It’s an area similar to 3,800 city blocks of forests, wetlands and shoreline that the NCC will protect.” Lafarge is using this opportunity to start a new relationship with the NCC and anticipates the organization will be a key contributor to its biodiversity efforts and sustainability strategy.”
“Sustainability is a broad concept,” said David Redfern, CEO of Lafarge in Eastern Canada. “We use a variety of metrics to measure our success and establish the areas where we can make significant biodiversity progress. Working with partners like the NCC opens up doors to opportunities like this, but more importantly, this opens the opportunity to become strategic partners in our efforts in biodiversity. With nearly 45,000 hectares of land across Canada, Lafarge has vast land assets where the NCC’s expertise will help us find effective ways to manage and enhance biodiversity.”
Covering 7,608 hectares (18,800 acres), the Vidal Bay Forests and Shoreline property connects with adjacent conservation lands to form a protected area of more than 248 square kilometres of forests, wetlands and shoreline, the largest of its kind south of the Canadian Shield in Ontario. Lafarge has a nearby 1,640 hectares quarry in Meldrum Bay with two nearby international shipping terminals servicing Ontario and the United States.
Lafarge’s sustainability initiatives extend beyond biological conservation programs, and include recycling sand, gravel and concrete to conserve virgin resources and award winning rehabilitation projects.
As a member of the global group Holcim, the organization is driven by an overarching commitment to becoming a nature-positive company. The NCC partnership aligns with the launch of the company’s nature-positive strategy in September 2021, making it the first in the construction sector to commit to a measurable positive impact on biodiversity and the replenishment of freshwater in water-risk areas.
“The time is now,” said Redfern. “Canadian companies are uniquely positioned to lead the charge on these opportunities and we have to act now.”