Biodiversity is now part of Aalborg Portland's sustainability reporting

Rørdal Grusgrav

Biodiversity thrives in Rørdal chalk pit. Rare plant species such as dwarf milkweed (Polygala amarella) and autumn gentian (Gentianella amarella) are thriving despite of more than 100 years of chalk extraction. NIRAS has carried out mapping of impact on ecosystems and biodiversity in Aalborg Portland's chalk pit, to prepare the cement company for the upcoming disclosure requirements on biodiversity impact, based on the EU directive for sustainability reporting, CSRD.

November 22, 2023
  • SDG: #15
  • SECTORS: Miljø
  • COUNTRIES: Denmark

Aalborg Portland, Denmark’s largest cement manufacturer, is collecting data on biodiversity impact for the upcoming sustainability reporting under the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). NIRAS has assisted to prepare Aalborg Portland for the disclosure requirements on biodiversity, which is a part of the CSRD. Our focus has been the corporate impact on biodiversity from the extraction of raw materials in Rørdal chalk pit near Aalborg. 

NIRAS has reviewed the existing license to operate and the associated restoration plan. This has been compared with the status, targets and KPIs for biodiversity as defined by Aalborg Portland's Italian owner, Cementir Holding. In accordance with corporate commitments, a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) has been prepared. The BMP clarifies the impact of extraction on biodiversity in and around the chalk pit. The BMP also sets targets, actions and suggested monitoring tools to protect and enhance biodiversity. 

Rørdal kridtgrav

The disclosure-requirements on biodiversity in CSRD motivate companies to establish a framework for their work on biodiversity.  

"For most companies, biodiversity is a new sustainability parameter " says Martin Hesselsøe, Market Director for Nature and Biodiversity at NIRAS-Denmark. "Mapping of the corporate biodiversity impact -on site as well as in supply chain- is essential for the upcoming disclosure requirements on biodiversity in the sustainability reporting. However it is equally important to focus on tools to avoid, mitigate or minimize the impact on biodiversity, on site as well as in the supply chain." 

The impact on biodiversity in supply chains 

The major corporate impact on biodiversity can often be found in the supply chain. For cement companies the material impacts on biodiversity are commonly found in mining areas where the raw materials are sourced. A number of different tools are available to investigate risk and impact on biodiversity in a global supply chain. 

In this case, Cementir has done a global screening of raw material suppliers using the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT). This tool is primarily used to compare biodiversity risks associated with alternative suppliers in a global supply chain. However, screening with global tools such as IBAT will not always be sufficient. Often local assessments  of the specific area are needed – in this case, Rørdal Chalk Pit. 


Biodiversity may thrive in a gravel pit 

Rørdal chalk pit in Aalborg (Denmark) has been active for more than 100 years. Since long before any standards for sustainability and biodiversity reporting has emerged. To track the historical impact and changes to the area, NIRAS' experts used old maps, aerial photos, restoration plans for the area, and national databases on biodiversity found in and around the site. 

Recent studies conducted at the chalk pit showed that the biodiversity is estimated to be high. This is partly due to several rare species such as dwarf milkwort, autumn gentian and several orchids. These species thrive in the area due to the varied terrain - especially the exposed limestone slopes that have been exposed by the extraction of chalk. 

Biodiversity monitoring 

The next-step recommendation to Aalborg Portland is to preserve the existing exposed limestone slopes as far as possible. Also, the shallow parts of the shoreline along the lake should be preserved and expanded. Additionally, it is recommended to initiate systematic monitoring to enable future disclosures on biodiversity impacts. 

As more and more European companies become subjected to the CSRD, Martin Hesselsøe expects a steadily increase in this type of projects. 

Martin Hesselsøe concludes: "With CSRD, there is now a focus on corporate responsibility and contribution to mitigate the biodiversity crisis –  locally and globally. We are pleased to contribute to the new agenda through our work for Aalborg Portland and many other NIRAS customers,"  

In total, around 50,000 companies, including 2,300 companies in Denmark, are expected to be covered by the disclosure requirements in CSRD by 2026. 

Reach out

Martin Hesselsøe

Martin Hesselsøe

Market Director (Nature & Biodiversity)

Aalborg, Denmark

+45 4097 9503

Rasmus Lie Nielsen

Rasmus Lie Nielsen

Project Employee

Aalborg, Denmark

+45 6020 8066

Rikke Juul Monberg

Rikke Juul Monberg


Allerød, Denmark

+45 6034 0965

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