Environmental Stewardship

Innovative, Forward-looking Multi-Stakeholder Environmental Vision & Strategy 

  • Environmental Stewardship

Quintana Roo

International Division

Leading by Example in the Mayan Riviera

As part of its long-range sustainability focus, in 2018 the company commissioned an external and independent assessment at Sac-Tun, its large site near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to explore new opportunities for sustainability initiatives and further mitigation of the effects of its operations. Based on this assessment and its decades of operational experience, Sac-Tun developed a long-term environmental vision and strategy that has been praised by local government authorities and NGOs as a model for other businesses and industries in Mexico.  

“This initiative represents several months of work, but our commitment is a long-term one, a commitment that is now being formalized between Vulcan Materials and the state government.  We have this major commitment being made by Sac-Tun, which is why they have our most profound gratitude and recognition for the work they are doing as part of their vision to remain in Quintana Roo and promote both environmental and social responsibility.”  Alfredo Arellano, Ecology and Environment Minister, Quintana Roo, at Sept. 29, 2019 on-site ceremony launching the new sustainability vision and strategy together with Sac-Tun partners.

In addition to its ongoing environmental stewardship initiatives, the company is now also working closely alongside NGOs, scientific research institutes, government officials and local communities in the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world, and its associated federal protected areas.  Strategic projects in five priority programs were identified in our multi-stakeholder workshops in January 2019.  They are contributing to the environmental goals of NGOs and the local, state and federal governments.

The highest priority programs are:

  • The conservation of endemic, threatened, or endangered species of flora and fauna.
  • The conservation of priority environmental services and ecosystems to strengthen the adaptation of humans and nature to the impacts of climate change.
  • Environmental education, citizen science and sustainable fishing communities.
  • Special projects, working with other stakeholders to address the sargassum problem in the Mayan Riviera.    

From these programs, three specific initiatives emerged as areas of special emphasis beginning in 2019, as part of an initial three-year long strategy.  These actions will increase and build on existing environmental conservation activities at Sac-Tun, in addition to supporting the conservation of protected areas and species of local, national, and global importance.  They are also designed to contribute to socio-economic development and the well-being of local communities.  

These actions:

  • Focus on restoring our exploited lands for the benefit of both wildlife and local communities.  This includes environmental and cultural awareness projects, scientific research, and community activities.
  • Reduce the impact of the company’s operations on fauna and flora by, among other things, ensuring the conservation of parts of the forest in selected areas or “biological corridors” that allow keystone species, such as the jaguar, to move freely through the company’s area of influence.
  • Help the company become a leader in the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef, focusing primarily on the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve and associated protected federal areas (four Biosphere Reserves and one Fauna and Flora Protection Area) and numerous other protected areas in the State of Quintana Roo.

The most immediate efforts and resources are focused on:

  • Endemic, threatened, or endangered species
    • Jaguars and other felines (Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro)
    • Manatees (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur – Chetumal)
    • Sea turtles and whale sharks (Pronatura Península de Yucatán, AC)
  • Priority ecosystems and sustainable communities
    • Aquifers and cenotes along the Mayan Riviera (Amigos de Sian Ka’an, AC)
    • Fishing refuges, community participation and citizen science (Comunidad y Biodiversidad, AC)
    • Protected natural areas in the State of Quintana Roo (State Ministry for Ecology and the Environment – SEMA)
    • Massive seasonal influx of sargassum along the coasts of Playa del Carmen and Quintana Roo

Learn more about these initiatives: Link

Initial funding of USD $1.5 million over a three-year period is earmarked for these initiatives, in partnership and implemented by the organizations and institutions which helped the company refine its Environmental Strategy for the region. These programs and projects will significantly contribute to  implementation of the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve Management Plan, coordinated by the National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) of the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), in addition to the management plans for associated protected areas (Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve and the Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve, and Yum Balam Flora and Fauna Protection Area).  Some of the projects will also contribute to programs of the Commission on Aquaculture and Fishing (CONAPESCA) and the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) of the Ministry for Agriculture and Social Development (SADER).

Together with the state government of Quintana Roo, through its Ministry for Ecology and the Environment (SEMA), we will support the establishment of new protected natural areas and development of their management plans for:  Laguna Manatí Protected Natural Area and coastal lagoons in the urban Cancun-Isla Mujeres region; Laguna de Bacalar State Park, Laguna Chacmuchuch State Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and Ecological Conservation Zone (Benito Juárez – Isla Mujeres; creation of the Puerto Morelos Wetlands State Park; creation of the Majahual Wetlands (Othon P. Blanco); the Xcacel-Xcacelito Ecological Conservation Zone (expansion, Tulum); and a social feasibility study for the creation of a protected area in Laguna Bacalar.

The experiences and lessons learned during these first three years will enable Sac-Tun to continue consolidating its environmental endeavors and identifying additional projects and partners, including other scientific and technological research institutions and organizations, companies committed to protecting the environment, and authorities at the municipal, state and federal levels of government.  

“We are very pleased to offer our time, commitment and resources to projects and programs in close partnership with governmental, non-governmental and private sector institutions,” said Vulcan’s International Division President Ernesto Enriquez. “These initiatives will be instrumental in helping conserve one of the most emblematic and biodiverse regions in Mexico and the world.”