As of early 2018, there are WHC-certified programs in 25 countries. The latest international program to receive Conservation Certification is the CEMEX Dominicana program in the Dominican Republic (read about the CEMEX program here). Our international reach, however, began 10,000 miles away and 27 years ago, on the southeast coast of Australia.
Not far from Melbourne lies Alcoa’s Portland Aluminum smelter operation, which first received WHC certification in 1991, and was the first program outside of the U.S. to do so. The buffer zone of the smelter facility, then encompassing 247 acres, was the site of an innovative conservation program that integrated industry, wildlife habitat, public recreation and environmental education.
Creating and restoring habitat for wildlife was a key element in the program’s design. Much effort was invested in rehabilitating wetlands, maintaining the native vegetative diversity, and managing the unique combination of shrub, heath and grassland habitat on-site. Portland Aluminum’s program also heavily focused on the management of the eastern gray kangaroo and its habitat.
Back in 1991, the certification of the Alcoa Portland Aluminum program was instrumental in WHC’s successful growth of internationally-certified programs, and served as an example of how companies can expand company-wide conservation initiatives internationally. Today, Portland Aluminum, a joint venture of Alcoa of Australia and Marubeni Aluminum Australia, continues its heritage of conservation that began with WHC decades ago. Portland Aluminum is now known as a “Smelter in the Park,” with surrounding parklands for community relaxation, research and learning, and habitats for wildlife, and is recognized worldwide as a benchmark for industrial and environmental harmony.