Lafarge Eco Systems is the environmental arm and a fully owned subsidiary of Bamburi Cement PLC whose operations are in sustainable land use and quarry rehabilitation.
Dr Felix Mandl – the founder of Bamburi Cement, apart from being a pioneer industrialist was concerned about the need for environmental rehabilitation due to the mining activities.
The company history
In 1959 an agronomist, René Haller was hired by Dr Felix Mandl to produce food for the employees on the quarry reserve land, and plant trees. The activities of the Garden Department, included gardening, landscaping, fruit, vegetable, livestock and poultry farming for the employees mostly housed on site.
1971 marked the pioneering of the quarry rehabilitation. Dr Haller started the first phase of the rehabilitation process experimenting with the extensive open quarries, marked by planting 3,000 trees on the hard coral. The aim was to recreate coastal forests and ecosystems, but whilst doing so also create a revenue stream to support the implementation of the long term vision. He started a fish farm, using the groundwater (excavation goes up to 30-60cm above groundwater table) to grow the fish.
In 1978 the Garden Department was incorporated into a limited company known as Baobab Farm. Bamburi Nature Trails (now known as Haller Park) was officially opened to the public in 1984 followed by Bamburi Forest Trails in 1995. In 2004, Baobab Farm Limited was renamed to Lafarge Eco Systems Limited.
In 2007, Lafarge Eco Systems started the Bio Fuel project on its reserve land in Vipingo and Diani. The aim is to provide alternative fuel for the kilns which produce cement.
In 2013, Lafarge Eco Systems embarked on an intensified and extended environment education program. Some of the initiatives under this program include strategic and cooperative partnerships with schools and universities for capacity building in environmental related areas, sharing of information, collaborative research and enhanced training.
Mission and Vision
Bamburi Cement Vision
To be the undisputed leader and preferred partner by providing innovative solutions for nation building.
Lafarge Eco Systems Mission
We champion environmental restoration, conservation, education and awareness in line with Bamburi Cement’s vision and commitment to Sustainability.
Eco Systems & Biodiversity
The aim of the rehabilitation program in Lafarge Eco Systems is to:
- Recreate coastal ecosystems for biodiversity conservation
- Sustainable utilization of natural resources and
- Rehabilitate mined limestone quarries.
Bamburi Cement has therefore transformed the Quarry wastelands into world class environmental showcases namely Bamburi Haller Park and Bamburi Forest Trails.
These two sites combined host a variety of organisms, endangered and threatened plants and animal species which include:
- More than 400 plant species ranging from trees, shrubs, herbs, palms, grasses and lianas
- 53 endangered and vulnerable plant species which are also listed on the IUCN(*) Red List of Endangered Species
- 15 large animals where some are listed as either endangered or vulnerable.
- 104 species of butterflies
- 180 bird species with 2 seasonal species listed as endangered
- 14 amphibian species- 13 are listed in the IUCN Red List as least concern
- 17 dragonfly species all listed as least concern at the IUCN Red List.
Bamburi Haller Park and Bamburi Forest Trails have over time grown to become resource centres for environmental education and conservation.
The knowledge and experiences acquired over time during the ecological restoration processes at the Bamburi Cement’s limestone quarries are shared interactively to benefit the general public and more so educational groups. This is a sustainability initiative aimed at changing world view on industrial activities and environmental resources.
A series of learning activities have been designed by the environmental education unit to enhance learning.
The activities are designed to respond to the needs of Pre-schooler, the Primary Schooler, the high school learner and Higher education learning requirements.
Programs are also tailor-made to respond to more specialized learning needs such as specialized study needs such as Zoology and Botany, Aquatic sciences, environmental sciences, among others.
The activities include:
- Site Visits – Tours, tree planting, bird watching, butterfly surveys, learning about wetlands, vegetation surveys among others.
- Environmental materials/ handouts – These are on various environmental resources and activities such as Butterflies, trees, reptiles, mammals, insects, and rehabilitation among others are provided at a fee (on request).
- Qualified Education and Information personnel on the sites to organize and tailor-make programs and activities for different learning needs.
Lafarge Eco Systems manages Bamburi Cement’s reserve lands in a manner that factors in geological and environmental factors.
The company oversees the active and sustainable utilization of the reserve lands through development of bio-fuel tree plantations. The reserve land served three main purposes:
Active and sustainable utilization of Bamburi’s mining reserve land through bio-fuel tree plantations. This was started in 2006.
Fuel-wood production for use in cement kilns, power generation plant, or commercial use. As part of Bamburi’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the wood from the biofuel initiative which is a carbon-neutral fuel, substitute part of the coal used at the cement production kilns, at a reduced cost.
Community integration through employment and income-generating activities for neighboring communities. This is through providing employment, seedling production by community nurseries; training in nursery management and food security through the shamba system projects. This is a form of agroforestry that allows the local communities to produce food crops on Bamburi reserve land while taking care of the vegetation.
Visit the Lafarge Eco Systems website www.lafargeecosystems.co.ke for more information.