Environmental Resilience is a theme of our new BHP Billiton Social Investment Framework.
Environmental Resilience builds on BHP Billiton’s existing conservation and REDD+ commitments by seeking to contribute to enduring environmental and social outcomes through biodiversity conservation, water stewardship and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Through project support, improved governance and market stimulation, BHP Billiton is playing a role in reducing deforestation, enhancing community livelihoods and improving biodiversity and watershed conservation.
The Climate change section of our 2015 Sustainability Report provides further information on REDD+ and some of the projects we have supported that contribute to the resilience of communities and the natural environment.
In addition to the environmental management actions our Businesses undertake at our operations and in our local communities, we also look for opportunities to support the conservation and ongoing management of areas of national and international conservation significance. This is consistent with our conservation target.
Valdivian Coastal Reserve
The Valdivian Coastal Reserve in Chile is an area of rich biodiversity and one of the world’s last temperate rainforests. An innovative global partnership between Conservation International and BHP Billiton has facilitated the conservation and ongoing management of 50,000 hectares of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve by The Nature Conservancy.
The Nature Conservancy made its first sale of carbon credits in 2014. Income generated in this way will go exclusively to the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, and credits will not be acquired by BHP Billiton, either directly or indirectly. These were the first credits to be placed by a REDD project in Chile and were assured under the Verified Carbon Standard.
In FY2015, the project achieved formal status as Chile’s largest private conservation easement. A Trust is currently being designed to enable ongoing conservation management of the reserve so that it can continue to be protected and enjoyed by future generations.
Martu Living Deserts
In Western Australia, our partnership in the Martu Living Deserts Project is helping to protect a region of rich biodiversity. The partnership between Western Australia Iron Ore, The Nature Conservancy and Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa conserves part of the world’s most intact arid ecosystems and combines modern scientific land management with Indigenous ecological knowledge. The project also helps provide sustainable livelihoods for the traditional owners of the land – the Martu people. Established in 2011, the project aims to support sustainable land management and invest in the capabilities of local people to assist them in delivering environmental, economic, social and cultural outcomes.
In FY2015, our Petroleum Business announced a US$2.6 million investment in a five-year marine research partnership with the CSIRO for the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. The Ningaloo Outlook program will include reef research, turtle and shark tagging, a PhD scholarship program and opportunities to engage our employees and the local community. The program follows the previous investment made by our Petroleum Business in the Ningaloo Atlas Research program, and builds on CSIRO’s decade-long shallow coral reef and fauna research, along with turtle tracking, using satellite and acoustic technology. Ningaloo Reef is one of the largest fringing reef in the world and an important habitat for hundreds of species of fish and marine species.
Bush Blitz is a ground-breaking species discovery partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton and Earthwatch Australia. As Australia’s largest nature discovery project, the program sets out to document the plants and animals in properties across Australia. The project is providing baseline scientific data that will help protect Australia’s biodiversity for generations to come.
In the last five years, Bush Blitz has discovered more than 900 new species, located another 250 threatened species, and recorded 12,000 types of plants and animals in areas where they were previously unknown. Since BHP Billiton’s partnership with Bush Blitz began, nearly 50 employees from across our Australian operations have participated in nine expeditions to parks and reserves across Australia.