Business and Biodiversity: Heidelberg Materials

Heidelberg Materials


Heidelberger Materials (former HeidelbergCement) works in a sensitive environment. For this reason, at all of its site locations special attention is paid to protecting biological diversity. 

Traditionally, Heidelberg Materials has placed the highest priority on environmentally sound mining methods and subsequent measures for the renaturation and restoration of quarrying areas. Numerous mapping, renaturation, and maintenance projects over the last 20 years demonstrate the ecological value of the Group’s quarrying sites.

Heidelberger Materials, in joining the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative and in order to practically implement the Leadership Declaration, created the new Group department Global Environmental Sustainability in 2008, which reports directly to the Managing Board. Within this department, a specialist directs activities across the Group in the area of biodiversity.

Heidelberger Materials was the first European company in the building materials industry to implement a guideline to promote biological diversity at its quarrying sites. Its ten principles are geared towards promoting dialogue with all parties involved - such as environmental authorities, nature conservation organisations, and the general public - as well as increasing biological diversity during and after quarrying in order to protect the native landscape and nature. In addition, the guideline defines goals to promote biological diversity at the quarrying sites, which Heidelberger Materials aims to achieve by 2020, using tried and tested renaturation concepts and management plans. Information about progress on concrete goals is provided regularly on the Group’s website and in the Sustainability Report.

The company also informs its suppliers and customers about its commitment and goals in the area of biodiversity, e.g. at events or via our customer magazine. Throughout the world, Heidelberger Materials co-operates at a local level with nature conservation organisations and universities in order to develop its environmental and biodiversity management in a technical sense. It plays an active part in environmental education through lectures and publications, and a large number of its plants collaborate closely with schools.


Heidelberger Materials is active across Europe and coordinates its business ventures with authorities, public agencies, nature protection organisations and local citizens.

As a raw materials and aggregates company, Heidelberger Materials is dependent on natural resources from quarries and gravel pits. These raw materials represent the beginning of the company’s supply chain. Pro-active discussion of the issues of biodiversity and nature protection helps to minimise the investment risk for a quarry. By additionally using scientific expertise and fostering company studies Heidelberger Materials creates trust and acceptability. This is especially important in permit procedures for the extension of quarries or plants.

Modern permits are today granted in dialogue with authorities, public agencies, nature protection organisations and local citizens. Environmental impact assessments and plans for renaturation hereby form an important basis of decision-making. These will only find acceptance if Heidelberger Materials is perceived as a trustworthy partner with excellent environmental management. That is why permit procedures - implemented quickly and efficiently and based on consensus - deliver a decisive contribution to the long term supply of raw materials.

We have developed biodiversity management plans for 110 European quarries located in areas of high biodiversity value. The plans define the measures that can help to protect species diversity within the quarry and its surroundings. Investment in such a plan is worth it: it minimises the risk of environmental damage and prevents possible production downtime.

Worldwide Heidelberger Materials has made rehabilitation provisions of more than € 190 Mio. By means of modern rehabilitation and renaturation, the costs can be reduced significantly in some cases. The sowing of species-rich mixed forests, for example, instead of an afforestation of expensive monocultures, can save up to € 20.000 per hectare.  

FactBox Heidelberg Materials

Heidelberg, Germany

Major Products
Aggregates, cement and concrete

Global Turnover 2016
15.166 billion Euro

Global Employees
app. 60,000

Progress Report 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Leadership Declaration