Conserving and restoring ecosystems
We recognise the impact that our operations may have on the environment; we make a great effort to identify and classify those impacts to determine the appropriate controls. We follow the standard mitigation hierarchy:
Our preventative approach is intended to minimise our environmental burden by systematically avoiding any impact as much as possible, with offsetting as a final measure to compensate for any unavoidable effects.
We encourage the active participation of our host communities through conservation agreements that encourage sustainable development projects and the sensitive use of natural resources. This allows us to continuously maintain and monitor the areas where our offsetting activities take place and encourage local communities to take ownership of them, as well as contributing to the consolidation of Paz Territorial.
Vivo Perijá: forest offsedng in the Serranía del Perijá mountains
The Santa Marta water fund
We are currently the only private sector members of the Santa Marta y Ciénaga Water Fund. The fund is an initiative promoted by the Latin American Association of Water Funds; it includes representatives from the public sector, environmental organisations and NGOs. The fund’s objective is to encourage conservation of the water sources that supply the municipalities of Santa Marta and Ciénaga in Magdalena.
Activities include a pilot project to work on the restoration and conservation of the Estrella Hídrica de San Lorenzo in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which is the source of several water sources that supply those municipalities. This is to improve the availability and quality of the water.
The pilot will include an offsetting programme in the basin of the Toribio river, to be managed through conservation agreements between our teams and the local communities, co-ordinated to cover a corridor through the basin. This will involve agreeing and establishing leading land management practices such as conservation work, sustainable crop production systems and the treatment of waste water.
Restoration of the mangrove ecosystem at the mouth of the Toribio river
Puerto Nuevo has partnered with Colombia’s Marine and Coastal Research Institute (INVEMAR) on a three-year project to restore the mangrove ecosystem at the mouth of the river Toribio. The main focus is building local capabilities to allow management of environmental sustainability, landscape adaptation and management, hydrology, and monitoring and restoration.
Improving small-scale fishing around Puerto Nuevo
Fish stocks are facing depletion around the world. We are observing this taking place within the Salamanca Gulf, close to Puerto Nuevo. The depletion is linked to overfishing, as fishing activity has increased and the technology and equipment used has improved, to satisfy growing demand.
Trawling with nets, such as the “changa” used in Ciénaga, is generally considered to be one of the main reasons for depletion of fish stocks. Taking fish that are too small to have reached sexual maturity also affects fish population and natural reproduction cycles, reducing fish numbers.
Bearing this in mind, we developed a two-part strategy to support the sustainable management and use of local marine and coastal resources:
- An integrated management model incorporating environmental, oceanographic and biotic components with local fishing resource capacity, for use as a tool for the appropriate authorities to develop fishery management regulations.
- Strengthening the value chain for small-scale fisheries using a sustainable business model with responsible fishing practices, and encouraging commercial partnerships between fishermen and restaurants that support responsible fishing and consumption. This includes supporting good resource management, cold chain and responsible fishing practice. The project includes providing support to improve the organisational, administrative and psychosocial capacity of local fishing associations.
We developed this strategy in partnership with international NGO Conservación Internacional, INVEMAR, and the international development non-profit organisation ACDI/VOCA. These organisations favour public-private inter-institutional work to create and build capacity in local institutions, and to improve the quality of the lives of the communities that use the resources.