Approaches to Conservation of Biodiversity
While the business activities of companies are heavily reliant on the supply of the natural bounty produced by biodiversity (ecosystem services), they are also a great burden on the ecosystem. To achieve sustainability for our planet and society, ITOCHU have stipulated consideration for environment as part of our Activity Guidelines under the ITOCHU Group Basic Policy for Sustainability Promotion. Through our business activities and social contribution activities, we will strive to protect biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of resources.
Concern for Biodiversity in Business Activities
Concern for Biodiversity in Wood Procurement
Natural forests around the world continue to be decreased at high rate. One of the primary drivers of deforestation is unsustainable forest management for production such as large-scale clear-cutting. In response, ITOCHU has established the procurement policy to conserve natural forests and to continue the sustainable use of forest resources.
Concern for biodiversity in pulp production projects
ITOCHU's Group company CENIBRA in Brazil has consistently engaged in everything from forest management to pulp production. In 2005, CENIBRA obtained forest certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as well as CoC certification (certification for management of processing and distribution processes). Of the roughly 250,000 hectares of land the company owns (equivalent to the area of Kanagawa Prefecture), about 130,000 hectares are used to plant trees and produce pulp, while the other approximately 100,000 hectares are preserved as permanently protected forest or legally protected forest, maintaining the ecosystem. The company also addresses the restoration of natural forests. Each year it plants some 70,000 tree samplings of the four varieties that make up the native forests in an initiative that spans as much as 300 hectares each year. Protective breeding activities for endangered species of bird are also underway at Macedonia Farm in a protected zone of natural forest. Scarce wild birds such as the pheasant family bird, mutum are protected and bred at the farm and later released into the wild.
Activities for Conservation of Biodiversity
Even apart from its business activities, the ITOCHU Group is working to conserve biodiversity through social contribution initiatives.
Support of Amazon Biodiversity Conservation Program
Starting in FY2017, ITOCHU Corporation has been supporting the new concept of "Field Museum," a biodiversity conservation program in the tropical forests of the Amazon that is being run by the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University with the National Institute of Amazonian Research for the purpose of conserving the environment and biodiversity.
The Amazon rainforest accounts for over half of all the rainforest acreage that remains on earth. It is widely considered a treasure-trove of ecosystems. However, the valuable ecosystem is being lost in recent years due in part to the rapid economic development and deforestation attributed to the lack of environmental education for local residents. Working with the National Institute of Amazonian Research, the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University conducts research and dissemination activities for maintaining the valuable ecosystem of the Amazon. The Japanese and Brazilian institutes have conducted joint conservation research and facilities development by using the advanced technologies at which Japan excels.
ITOCHU Corporation supported the construction of the Field Station, a base for natural observation and research into the diverse species and ecosystem of the Amazon. This facility was constructed in the Cuieiras region, through which a tributary of the Amazon River flows. An inaugural ceremony for this facility, which was constructed through industry-academia-government collaboration, was held on-site in May 2018. The Field Center has lodging facilities as well as a multi-purpose building including a visitor center to welcome seminar and conference guests, permitting long-term monitoring of flora and fauna in an optimal region with both inundated forests and terra firme (non-flooded areas). The facility has thus attracted attention in Japan and other countries.
It is anticipated that the Field Station will facilitate medium- to long-term advanced research on the tropical forests of the Amazon, while helping to stimulate environmental education activities to help conserve Amazonian biodiversity. A large number of projects are being planned in addition to those for research on water-dwelling animals (river dolphins, manatees) of the Amazon and the upper canopies of the rainforest, which have traditionally been challenging to study.
The activities also include a program for protecting the Amazon manatee, a vulnerable species, and ITOCHU Corporation supports a program for reintroducing the manatee to the wild. While an increasing number of manatees are being taken into protective custody after being injured by poachers, it is difficult for the animals to return to the wild on their own. This has made it imperative to establish a project for reintroducing the creatures to the Amazon. The program aimed to have at least nine manatees return to the wild and at least 20 return to semi-captive environment within the three-year project period from FY2017. By May 2018, 15 manatees had returned to the wild and 21 had returned to a semi-captive environment. For more details, please see the Support of Amazon Ecosystem Conservation Program.
Support for Purchasing Milk for Amazon Manatees at Eco Shop Pavilion in KidZania Tokyo
In April 2012, ITOCHU Corporation opened Eco Shop, an environmental pavilion giving children hands-on experience with eco activities, in KidZania Tokyo, a facility devoted to vocational experience for children. In FY2018, this pavilion was renovated under the theme of "Amazon Ecosystem Conservation" as a promotional measure for the Amazonian manatee reintroduction project (Manatee Homecoming Project). For each child visiting, the pavilion donates 10 yen as financial support for purchasing milk for Amazon manatees. Based on the number of children who visited this pavilion in FY2018, ITOCHU donated an amount equivalent to the amount needed to feed one manatee for 968 days.
Activities for Revival of Tropical Forest and Conservation of the Ecosystem on the Island of Borneo
The island of Borneo is largely covered with tropical forests spanning the countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. In area, it is about twice as large as Japan and the third-largest island in the world. It is known as a treasure-trove of biodiversity. However, it is also in the process of development, and some tropical forest areas have been damaged to the point that their ecosystems cannot be conserved on the strength of nature's own powers of revival alone. The ITOCHU Group is supporting activities since 2009 for revival of forests in the district of North Ulu Segama in the Malaysian state of Sabah, in the northeastern part of the island. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the globally active organization for protection of nature, is engaged in activities for forest revival in an area of about 2,400 hectares, in coordination with the Sabah Forestry Department. The ITOCHU Group is supporting revival over a portion measuring 967 hectares larger than any other zone of forest revival supported by an ordinary private enterprise. The afforestation was completed in 2014, and all on-site operations including maintenance and management operations were completed in January 2016. The district is also a habitat for the orangutan, an endangered species. The revival will help to protect not only the orangutan but also many other species living there.
For more details, please see the Activities to Restore the Tropical Rainforests and Conserve Borneo's Ecosystem.
Hunting World's Activities to Support Borneo
Hunting World is a luxury brand handled by ITOCHU Corporation. Since its creation in 1965, its logo has depicted a tuskless baby elephant. Besides symbolizing freedom and rebirth, this logo likewise anticipated the issue of protection of endangered species, and underscores the love and respect for nature felt by the brand's founder. To realize his dream of coexistence with nature, Hunting World Japan Co., Ltd., which sells the brand in Japan, has been supporting activities for conservation of biodiversity by the NPO Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) since 2008. The company designs and sells charity goods, and donates 1% of the proceeds from these sales to BCT. By so doing, it is defraying part of the cost for purchase of land for the green corridors and rescue of Borneo elephants which have strayed into plantations. In addition, the fall of 2011 saw the birth of Hunting World Kyosei no Mori (Symbiotic Forest of Hunting World) based on independent purchase of four acres of land within the Green Corridor Plan* zone, using the financial aid provided up to that year. Furthermore, BCT Japan, which is supporting BCT, helped out with the funding needed for establishment of the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary, the first facility in the Wildlife Rescue Center project, which began in September 2013.
- Green Corridor Plan: A initiative for conservation of biodiversity by such activities as buying back land separating forest preserves and protected forests, to make a corridor for movement between them by wild animals.