Paris, France - Lafarge, the world leader in construction materials, and WWF, the conservation organization, today signed a worldwide partnership agreement in Paris, in the framework of WWF's "Conservation Partner" Programme. Lafarge is the first industrial group to establish with WWF a common commitment with as objectives improving its environmental policy, developing WWF's project "Forests Reborn" and raising awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity.
In the context of this agreement, Lafarge will, together with WWF, develop a strategy for biodiversity and integrate it into its worldwide quarry rehabilitation programme. WWF will also contribute its expertise to help Lafarge improve its practice in the environmental field.
In order to strengthen Lafarge's environmental policy and ensure its transparency, WWF will help the group identify the most relevant indicators of environmental performance. These will concern reduction of use of fossil fuels, recycling of waste, or reducing emissions. The partnership aims to expand into other areas of mutual interest in the years to come.
"This partnership demonstrates our commitment to the environment," said Bertrand Collomb, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge. "It is the natural continuation of the policy that the Group has already followed for a number of years. Through its worldwide presence, WWF will bring us the vision and the global expertise we need to set the environmental example for our sector".
Lafarge will support WWF in the area of ecological restoration of forests. Restoration is one objective of WWF's forest policy to combat diminishing biological diversity and forest cover around the world. Lafarge will provide global support to WWF's project "Forests Reborn".
"We aim to mobilize the largest possible number of companies and industries to work with us to protect biodiversity," said Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International. "With Lafarge, we are associating ourselves with an industrial group that has made the environment one of its major strategic objectives. We will ask it to commit itself to reduce even further the ecological impact of its activities, and we will assist them in this task."
Through this agreement, Lafarge becomes one of the "Founding Members" of WWF's "Conservation Partner" programme. This programme aims to support conservation efforts through strategic alliances with companies. Lafarge's annual financial contribution will be of 1.1 million euros, for an initial term of 5 years. Each of the partners wishes to see this agreement develop into a long-term cooperation.
NOTES TO EDITORS
. WWF: With its network of National organizations, Programme and Associate offices in more than 50 countries on five continents, WWF is the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organization. It has 700 projects employing over 3,000 people in almost 100 countries.
. Conservation Partner: Aside from Lafarge, two other companies, Canon-Europe and Ogilvy & Mather are "Founding Members" of WWF's "Conservation Partners" programme, which was launched in 1998.
. Forests Reborn: at present, the main countries and regions that are involved in this project are the lower Mekong basin (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), the United Kingdom (Scotland), France (New- Caledonia), the Mediterranean basin, the lower basin of the Danube (Bulgaria), Central America and India.