Grupo Argos understands the importance of biodiversity in the provision of environmental services for the operation of its subsidiaries and the well-being of its stakeholders. Conscious of the impacts generated by the operation on ecosystems, it has a sustainability policy that ratifies its commitment
to natural capital.
Grupo Argos not only ensures the responsible environmental management of subsidiaries, but through its foundation, it promotes voluntary initiatives with the government, private organizations and the community to identify areas with high biodiversity value in Colombia and species vulnerable to projects developed in the long term to prevent its extinction. Likewise, initiatives are promoted to strengthen water governance based on the conservation of biodiversity, and environmental education is being established as the main focus to generate a link with the community from the perspective of knowing the diversity of the environment.
Biodiversity management provides opportunities to establish economic models that promote conservation and development through compensation schemes, create public-private partnerships that guarantee a collective and regional impact, strengthen natural capital by supporting the production of goods and environmental services and ecosystem resilience that makes the economic viability of business positive.
This is how Grupo Argos and its subsidiaries are developing projects and direct actions that are aimed at contributing to the conservation of biodiversity.
- Conservation of the Andean Bear Project “Conservamos la Vida” (“We protect life”): This project seeks to protect the Andean Bear or Spectacled Bear, one of the most representative and important species of wildlife of the Colombian ecosystem for its contribution to conservation, especially the forests. This mammal is in a state of vulnerability to extinction due mainly to agricultural extension and livestock. A complete diagnosis of the presence of the Andean Bear in the western mountain range was made in 2016, for which a study area of 411,700 hectares was selected and it was found that this species is present in 74% of the area. This information will permit the implementation of management plans for the protection of the species. In addition to this project, more public and private partners were brought in and important information for the species and the conflict with man was brought to light.
Positive impacts of the project are identified such as: increased connectivity, decreased bear-people conflict, positive perception of the species and its function. For more information on the project see: www.conservacionosandino.org.
Inventory of wildlife on Foundation forest plantations: This project seeks to identify the biodiversity associated with forest plantations and how it can be integrated into the management of more sustainable production systems. In 2016 the characterization of different biological groups and the identification of focal species that serve as a basis for adjusting production models were conducted. Positive impacts of the project are identified, such as: analysis of diversity of the company’s productive systems, positive perception by the community and decrease in land use conflicts.
Agreement with Colombian National Natural Parks: This agreement seeks to advance the country’s conservation goal of two million hectares to 2018. Positive impacts are identified, such as: protection of habitats and increased connectivity.
The monitoring of project management is carried out through success indicators and in committees that are continuously carried out among the partners. Each of the projects is focused on continuous improvement and in order to analyze the processes, an internal follow-up is carried out, establishing the routes that will enable them to meet proposed objectives and generating synergies to give sustainability to the different processes that the Foundation carries out.
For more information on habitats protected or restored by Grupo Argos, see indicator 304-3 in the Appendices to this report.
Proper management of the impacts generated by Argos on ecosystems and biodiversity is an essential element to ensure the provision of goods and services required for its production processes, while ensuring to be a good neighbor to the communities and other stakeholders around it. This is how biodiversity is one of the pillars of its environmental policy, whose goals for 2025 establish that 100% of mining operations have an established closure plan and that 70% of the intervened area released in the active quarries be rehabilitated.
The following are highlighted as result of the management carried out in 2016:
- The percentage of quarries with established closure plan reached 78% and 74% of the area intervened in active quarries was rehabilitated. In this last point, it exceeded the target goal projected to 2025.
- Acquisition and implementation of the IBAT tool (Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool) to assess the risks of biodiversity in the facility.
- Obtaining the highest score in the biodiversity component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third consecutive year.
Celsia’s operations are found in ecosystems that include mangroves, fog forests, high Andean and humid areas, which, because of their richness and great biodiversity value, must be preserved to guarantee the sustainability of the territories and, therefore, of the organization that makes use of these ecosystem services. Through the Biodiversity component of its Environmental Policy, Celsia promotes biodiversity knowledge, conservation, recovery and enrichment, through alliances with public, private and community entities with sustainability criteria.
The following are highlighted as result of the management carried out in 2016:
- Formulation of the ecological restoration plan for 13.52 hectares of the San Andrés de Cuerquia Hydroelectric project, which included the protocol for the transplantation and reintroduction of trees and tree ferns that were the object of the partial lifting of the closure.
Advances in the restoration of degraded and/or protected areas in the different areas of influence, where 194 hectares were reforested with more than 21,000 forest individuals of native species planted in collaboration with third parties.
Signing of an agreement with Icesi University of Cali, which, for the first time, will allow a permanent Biological Research Station in the Anchicayá river basin, an area of great environmental importance and one of the best preserved in the Farallones National Natural Park of Cali.
Monitoring of flora and fauna at six hydroelectric plants in Colombia, which allowed us to become familiar with the state of conservation of these species in the diverse ecosystems. The studies were carried out with the participation of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and where nearly 200 species of flora, 14 species of mammals, 92 species of birds, four species of amphibians and three species of reptiles were found.
In 2016, Sator, aware of the importance of wildlife in natural ecosystems and in compliance with its corporate guidelines, established a wildlife Passage Station in the area of influence of the open pit coal project located in the municipality of Puerto Libertador. The station will provide care, treatment and information to determine the most appropriate location of the species in the area, according to the principles of conservation with compassion, where each individual will be guaranteed maximum welfare possible in order to be incorporated back into their natural environment. Finally, one of the priority activities will be education and training at all levels, from the employees of the company to the communities near and far in the area.
For the technical design, construction and acquisition of the necessary equipment for Estación de Paso (the Passage Station), an investment of 180 million pesos was made.
- In the next two years the “Conservamos la Vida” project, whose goal is to protect the Andean Bear, hopes to progress in the following activities:
- Consult with communities in the implementation area.
- Carry out interventions of productive arrangements in 49 farms.
- Restore ecosystems in 90 hectares.
- Undertake an environmental education program in 17 educational institutions.
- In 2017, the forest management plan will be undertaken in Foundation plantations, according to the species identified in the wildlife inventory to guarantee the permanence of the species in the territory.