Approaches to Conservation of Biodiversity
Policy and Basic Concept
The Aichi Targets for 2020 were determined at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity that was held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in 2010. With this serving as an impetus, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement and other international agreements deeply important to biodiversity were also reached after that.
ITOCHU's business activities depends upon the values and resources that biodiversity provides, which is a blessing provided by the intricate relationships between earth's myriad of organisms. In order to minimize our impacts on biodiversity, ITOCHU is implementing two initiatives, which focus on our business activity impacts and our broader corporate citizenship impacts. For the former, our initiatives target our business sites and surrounding areas to ensure the conservation of local biodiversity and the sustainable use of forests, fisheries, and other commodities. For the latter, our initiatives target local communities in which we directly handle forest commodities aiming to make broader contributions for the local biodiversity as a part of our corporate citizenship commitments.
Given the global nature of our operations, it is a top management priority for us to address global environmental problems, including biodiversity issues across the globe. In order to promote conservation of biodiversity as indicated in our Environmental Policy, we have established the Biodiversity Declaration. As such, we will contribute to building a sustainable society.
Target: To Realize a Sustainable Society by Building a Society in Harmony with Nature
We will promote actions for biodiversity conservation more than ever before and will aim to further deepen them with our Biodiversity Declaration to make an international contribution.
- We will strive to prevent environmental pollution in order to ensure the conservation of ecosystems and endangered species as well as the human rights of indigenous communities when conducting our business activities.
- We will strive to maintain harmony between the workings of nature and our business activities by committing to the sustainable use of natural resources with regards to the commodities that we handle.
- We will voluntarily and steadily take actions conducive to biodiversity and then disclose information and engage in dialogue.
- We will work on business activities that take into consideration local ecosystems while utilizing the natural capital of each region. We will endeavor to further promote initiatives on nature conservation and biodiversity while linking up and cooperating with related organizations in Japan and overseas.
- We will foster a culture toward creating a society that cultivates biodiversity and improve awareness of this both inside and outside our company.
ITOCHU conducts product certification and traceability for biodiversity protection in products handled in businesses including the supply chain, and social contribution activities for biodiversity protection in business-related areas. We handle commodities related to forest protection (wood, wood products, paper raw materials and paper products, natural rubber, palm oil) and dairy products, meat, marine products, and textile raw materials, which are important for biodiversity. We regard them as products, and strive to disclose information and set goals for them.
Targets in Business Activities
|Theme||Target||FYE 2020 Results||SDGs|
Reduce the impact of ITOCHU's products and projects on biodiversity conservation across our supply chain
|By 2025, conduct a follow-up ESG risk assessment for all investment projects subject to high biodiversity risk (e.g. hydropower, mines, ships), where biodiversity should be a material risk item assessed, and implement a plan for improvement if necessary.||Identification of biodiversity risks|
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Implement initiatives to improve the sustainable use of natural resources in order to stably produce and supply commodities related to forestry, fishing, and agriculture in the future
- Sustainable palm oil: palm oil supplied from supply chains compliant to RSPO and RSPO-equivalent standards
- No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE): zero deforestation, zero peatland development, zero exploitations
- The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international NPO established in 1997 to work on spreading sustainable fishing. It is headquartered in London, England.
- Pole and line fishing is a method of fishing where one fish is caught at a time. It is a sustainable fishing method that does not involve the catching of large quantities of fish at one time. It is said that it is an environmentally friendly fishing method because it is also possible to avoid the bycatch of non-targeted fish.
For goals in other business activities, please see the Sustainable Procurement: Policies and Initiatives by Product Type.
Targets in Business-related Areas
Structures and Systems
Assessment of the Impact of Biodiversity on New Businesses
We have established items to assess what impact investment projects will have on the natural environment in the ESG Checklist for Investment — a checklist that must be submitted when entering into new business investment projects. We check whether or not there will be an impact on ecosystems attributable to the applicable project and whether or not there will be an impact on the natural environment (e.g., depletion of resources). If an impact is recognized, we perform risk management in advance of executing the project. For example, upon risk analysis, we make requests to external specialist organizations for additional due diligence if necessary.
Assessment of the Impact of Biodiversity on Existing Businesses
ITOCHU has introduced an environmental management system (EMS) based on ISO14001. We are building a system to evaluate the impact of its business activities on the business it is implementing, as well as the products it handles, in order to recognize the potential impact of its business activities on the global environment and prevent environmental risks. Through this system, we aim to comply with environment-related laws and regulations, prevent environmental risks including biodiversity, and promote environment-friendly businesses. In addition, in order to understand the actual situation of suppliers, seven core subjects of ISO26000 including biodiversity are set as essential survey items, and each company and each company and the handling amount are based on certain guidelines such as high-risk countries, products handled, and amount handled. The relevant group companies select important suppliers, and sales representatives of each company, overseas subsidiaries, and representatives of group companies visit the suppliers and conduct hearings.
Biodiversity Conservation in Business Activities
Consideration for Biodiversity in the Pulp Manufacturing Business
ITOCHU considers the prevention of deforestation by commodities related to forest protection (wood, wood products, raw materials for papermaking and paper products, natural rubber, palm oil) as a priority item. We are working to acquire product certifications such as FSC forest certification and to develop a traceability system to protect biodiversity.
For more information see Wood, Wood Products, Papermaking Raw Material, and Paper Products Celulose Nipo-Brasileira S.A.
Guidelines for Mine Closure
In our mineral resource development business, we have prepared a guideline for mine closure based on international standards*. Closure plans are designed not only for physical restoration but also for minimizing the impact and maximizing the benefits on the community by considering the local socio-economy and environment in cooperation with stakeholders. So, it is necessary to prepare funds, ensure the safety of the waterways constructed during the operation, prevent residual chemicals, and conserve ecosystems. Towards future mining closure, we have cooperated with partners, assessed the environmental impact and formulate mine closure plans as stipulated by the countries where projects are, and put the system in order to check the implemented process of the plan.
- EHS Guidelines (Mining) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Biodiversity Conservation in Business-related Areas
ITOCHU is working with stakeholders to protect endangered wildlife.
Support for a Biodiversity Conservation Program in the Amazon
ITOCHU has supported the Field Museum Concept since FYE 2017. This is a biodiversity conservation program in the tropical rainforest of the Amazon being advanced by the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University together with the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil for environmental conservation and biodiversity.
The Amazon is an area equivalent to more than half of the tropical rainforests on the earth — it is also known as a treasure trove of ecosystems. However, rapid economic development and local residents cutting down the forest due to their lack of environmental education has led to the gradual loss of this precious ecosystem over the last few years. The Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University is working together with the National Institute of Amazonian Research to conduct research and dissemination activities to maintain the precious ecosystem of the Amazon. Japan and Brazil have been working together to conduct research and develop facilities for conservation using the advanced technologies that are the specialty of Japan.
We supported the construction of the Field Station. This is a base for the natural observation and research of the diverse creatures and ecosystem of the Amazon in the Cuieiras region at a branch of the Amazon River. This facility was developed through industry, government and academia collaboration. In addition to a multipurpose building with a facility where visitors gather for seminars and research presentations (visitor center), there is also an accommodation building. The opening ceremony for this facility was held in May 2018. The station has made the long-term monitoring of animals and plants possible in an excellent region where a submerged forest and terra firme (solid ground) both exist. This has seen it attract attention both in Brazil and elsewhere around the world. In the future, advanced research will be conducted on the Amazon's tropical rainforest in the medium-to-long term. At the same time, environmental educational activities will be further simulated. It is hoped that this will lead to the conservation of the biodiversity in the Amazon. In addition to research on the Amazon's aquatic life (river dolphins and manatees) and upper reaches of the tropical rainforest that were difficult to study until now, many plans are being considered for the future.
In addition, for the purpose of saving the vulnerable species of the Amazon manatee, ITOCHU supports a program to reintroduce the Amazon manatee into the wild. The number of manatees being protected due to injuries associated with poaching is increasing. On the other hand, autonomous reintroduction into the wild is difficult. Accordingly, there was a pressing need to establish a project to reintroduce manatees into the wild. This project was aiming to reintroduce into the wild nine or more manatees and to semi-reintroduce into the wild 20 or more manatees during the period of the project over three years from FYE 2017. In reality, it has reintroduced into the wild 27 manatees and semi-reintroduced 28 manatees.
Project for Protecting Green Turtles, an Endangered Species
ITOCHU Corporation support activities for protecting green turtles, designated as an endangered species. The support is provided via Everlasting Nature (ELNA), a certified NPO. The total amount of support so far is 9.5 million yen.
People's lives are deeply connected to the natural environment surrounding green turtles. For instance, coastal development has reduced the availability of sandy beaches used as spawning grounds, the green turtles are caught as bycatch and eat refuse on the coast, mistaking it for food. The probability that a green turtle will reach maturity over a period of around 40 years is between 0.2% and 0.3% (the survival rate of young naturally hatched turtles). In order to cultivate an awareness of the environment on the part of employees, from 2018, ITOCHU conducted a Green Turtle Protection Tour on Chichijima in the Ogasawara archipelago, the largest green turtle breeding ground in Japan. In July 2019, ten ITOCHU employees and family members took part in the tour.
In addition, as the accommodation for volunteers staying in Chichijima for conservation activities was aging, we supported the construction of a new accommodation facility with improved living environment and convenience, and completed a unit house in May 2020.
Tropical Forest Regeneration and Ecosystem Conservation Activities on Borneo
Borneo is a tropical forest region spanning three countries — Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Its area is approximately double that of Japan. This makes it the third largest island in the world. Borneo, which is called a treasure trove of biodiversity, is developing. This has led to damage to the tropical forest to the extent that conservation of the ecosystem is not possible with natural regeneration alone. The WWF, a worldwide nature protection organization, is collaborating with the Forest Department in the local Sabah State to conduct an activity to regenerate a forest of approximately 2,400 hectares. This is taking place in North Ulu Segama, Sabah State in Malaysia in the northeastern part of Borneo — a forest regeneration area that has continued to be protected by the ITOCHU Group since 2009. The ITOCHU Group has supported the regeneration of 967 hectares of this land. The afforestation work was completed in 2014 and all on-site work, including maintenance and management work, was finished in January 2016. This is the largest area in which afforestation activities are supported by a regular company. This land is also home to the endangered species of the orangutan. The regeneration of this forest will also lead to the protection of many creatures living here in addition to this orangutan.
Hunting World's Borneo Support Activity
Hunting World, a luxury brand deployed by ITOCHU, has been using a logo with the motif of a young elephant without its tusks since the foundation of the brand in 1965. While serving as a symbol of freedom and revival, it also represents the challenge of looking toward the future in terms of the protection of endangered species. It contains the founder's love and respect for nature. Hunting World Japan, which sells Hunting World goods in Japan, has been supporting a biodiversity conservation activity being promoted by an NPO called the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) since 2008 to support the realization of coexistence with nature as called for by the founder. The company plans and sells charity goods and then provides 1% of those proceeds to the BCT. This helps with the funds to purchase land for a green corridor and the costs to rescue Borneo elephants that have gone astray in plantations. The company also independently acquired four acres of land in the green corridor project zone with its assistance funds up to that point in the fall of 2011 to create the Hunting World Kyosei no Mori (Symbiotic Forest of Hunting World). These donations have also helped with the funds to establish the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary. This is the first facility in the Wildlife Rescue Center that has been promoted by BCT Japan, which supports the BCT, since September 2013.
- Green corridor: This is an activity to conserve biodiversity. The land between forest protection zones and forest reserves are purchased back. Divided forests are then connected to create a movement route for animals.
Cooperation with Stakeholders
Initiative Participation (Activities Through Business and Industry Groups)
We participate in the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren). We support nature conservation projects in developing areas mainly in the Asia-Pacific region and in Japan through the Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation that was established in 1992 when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) was held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation has been working to build an environment in which the business community strives to conserve nature. This has included exchanges with NGOs, the holding of seminars and symposia, and the announcement of the Declaration of Nature Conservation by Keidanren, the Declaration of Biodiversity by Keidanren and the action guidelines for them (revised in October 2018). In addition, in recent years, the committee has also undertaken a tree-planting activity in the Tsunami Memorial Park Nakanohama (Miyako, Iwate Prefecture) that was affected by a tsunami as reconstruction support for Tohoku through the restoration of nature.
In addition, we have declared our approval of the Keidanren's Biodiversity Initiative announced on June 11, 2020.
Cooperation with External Organizations toward Sustainable Palm Oil
ITOCHU joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2006. We have set a target of handling only RSPO certified palm oil or palm oil equivalent to that by 2025. We are working on the procurement and supply of sustainable palm oil through cooperation and collaboration with other member companies.
We are also participating in the Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT). This is a project by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) that assesses major palm oil related companies in terms of more than 50 indicators based on data released to the public. We disclose information to stakeholders relating to the palm oil industry through two-way communication.
Participation in the CDP
We participate in the CDP. This is an NGO with the largest database in the world related to environmental information (e.g., climate change measures of companies). We do this as part of our work to proactively disseminate information about our initiatives on ESG for various stakeholders around the world. We have been answering the written inquiries of CDP Forests to assess forest management in the supply chain of companies since FYE 2014.
Aside from our business activities, the ITOCHU Group also conducts activities to conserve biodiversity through activities to contribute to society.
Sponsorship of Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwa Museum Renewal Project
ITOCHU donated 5 million yen for the 2020 renewal project of the Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwa Museum for the purpose of environmental conservation and regional promotion of the founding site.
Shiga Prefecture, where our company was founded, is one of the "SDGs Future City" and has Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Lake Biwa is one of only about 20 ancient lakes in the world. More than 1,700 species of animals and plants live there, and more than 60 species of native species also exist.It is also an important wetland for waterfowl and a registered wetland under the Ramsar Convention. Since its opening in 1996, the museum has attracted more than 11 million visitors, with the mission of deepening our understanding of the nature, history and life of Lake Biwa and building a better relationship between people and the lake.
In May 2019, we received a letter of appreciation from the governor of Shiga Prefecture, Taizo Mikazuki, for our support. The exhibition room which was renewed in October 2020 explains the transition of the forest and the climate around Lake Biwa.
Performance Data in Business Activities
- Performance Data Regarding Forest Certification and Legal Compliance, Sustainable Procurement Performance Data of Raw Materials for Papermaking
- Performance Data Regarding Sustainable Palm Oil Procurement
- Performance Data of Traceability of Meat
- Performance Data Related to Certification of Marine Products
- Performance Data of Organic Cotton Procurement
Performance Data on Business-related Areas
Conservation Project for Endangered Green Turtles
Compared to the Pevious Year
Compared to 2000
|Survey Scale||Number of Surveyed Coasts||Coast||Chichijima Islands||30||30||30||30||-|
|Total Number of Surveys Conducted||Times||364||280||168||172||102%||The Increasing Trend of Green Turtles in Ogasawara (Conjecture)|
|Total Survey Personnel||Person||1,178||1,078||732||692||95%|
|Results||Number of Surveyed Green Turtle Nests||Nest||Chichijima Islands||2,000||1,800||1,500||1,700||113%||378%||In the Chichijima Islands, we succeeded in temporarily stopping the 3-year decrease since 2016.||Increase|
|Hahajima Islands||500||500||600||400||67%||The decreases in 2020 are partially due to insufficient surveys conducted on the Hahajima and Mukojima Islands,|
|Number of Surveyed Post-hatching Nests (Conducted only on Chichijima)||Nest||1,900||1,200||1,000||1,200||120%||Increasing trend with repeated increases and decreases|
|Baby Turtles Returning to the Sea (Conjecture)||Head||63,700||55,000||43,700||55,000||126%||Trend in Escape Rate|
|Escape Rate (Number of Escaped Turtles / Number of Eggs)||%||36||25||32||36||113%||Good|
- Figures are approximate due to unpublished data. Table based on ELNA activity report (Japanese Only).
|Theme||Activities||Three-year (FYE 2017-2019) Performance Indicators||FYE 2017
|FYE 2017 Results||FYE 2018
|FYE 2018 Results||FYE 2019
|FYE 2019 Results|
|Return to semi-captive environment||Release of manatees into a semi-captive lake (Manacapuru) or a preserve established in a river (Rio Cuieiras).||
|Return to the wild||
|Providing environmental training for local residents and raising their environmental awareness||Raising awareness of biodiversity conservation among local residents through a project for returning manatees to the wild.||