Approaches to Conservation of Biodiversity
Policy and Basic Concept
The business activities of companies rely heavily on the blessings of nature (ecosystem services) produced by biodiversity. On the other hand, such activities place a great burden on ecosystems. ITOCHU has stipulated that consideration must be given to the environment in the ITOCHU Group Basic Policy on Promotion of Sustainability to realize a sustainable earth and society. We are working to conserve biodiversity and utilize sustainable resources through our business activities and activities to contribute to society.
|CSR Issues/Societal Issues||FYE 2018 action plans||Status*||FYE 2018 results||FYE 2019 action plans||SDGs|
|Implementation and follow-up on social contribution programs aimed at environmental conservation
[Basic Activity Guidelines 2 Environmental Conservation]
||Discover and promote new projects targeting environmental protection in Japan and overseas.||13.
- ：Partially implemented
- ：Not implemented
Structures and Systems
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.
Advance Residence Investment Corporation ("ADR") is one of Japan's largest real estate investment trusts (J-REIT) specializing in rental housing. The ITOCHU Group sponsored its establishment. ADR has a portfolio centered on rental condominiums developed and managed by the ITOCHU Group, and AD Investment Management Co., Ltd. ("ADIM") serves as ADR's asset management company.
Below are examples of sustainability-related efforts by ADR.
Identification of material issues (critical issues related to sustainability)
Item Material issue (critical issue related to sustainability) Related SDGs Environmental
Extending service life of properties through large-scale repairs and value enhancement work
Obtaining environmental, energy conservation, and other certification
Management and reduction of energy consumption, CO2 emissions, water usage, and waste volume
7, 11, 13
Cooperation with property management (PM) and building management (BM) firms in implementing environmentally friendly practices (supply chain management)
11, 13, 17
Improving tenant satisfaction and engaging with tenants
Contributing to local communities
3, 11, 13
Developing employee skills
4, 5, 8
Improving work-life balance
Linking asset management fee to fund performance
Material issues (critical issues related to sustainability) have been identified using the steps below.
Step 1 Clarify
We have clarified our material issues from among wide range of issues concerning the economy, environment and society using sustainable development goals (SDGs) and other global social issue initiatives, external evaluations (GRESB, DJSI, and MSCI), and various guidelines (GRI 4 Guidelines, SASB).
Step 2 Prioritize and establish
We prioritized the issues clarified in Step 1 based on their importance to stakeholders/stakeholder expectations and the level of impact ADR has on the economy, environment, and society. We then identified nine material issues for promoting ADR sustainability activities.
Step 3 Discuss at Sustainability Promotion Committee and have representative director make decision
The validity of the material issues identified in Step 2 was discussed and verified by the Sustainability Promotion Committee, and the nine material issues were ultimately decided by the representative director.
Step 4 Regular review
In order to flexibly address changes in the social environment, reflect stakeholder feedback, and improve our disclosure transparency, we will review these material issues regularly.
Environmentally conscious asset management
① Installation of LED lighting
As of January 31, 2018, LED lighting has been installed at 48 properties (22% of the portfolio).
② Introduction of green lease clause
We have introduced a clause on appropriate use of energy and water in our lease agreements with tenants (signed with roughly 36.7% of rental unit tenants as of February 28, 2018).
Consideration for Biodiversity in the Pulp Manufacturing Business
Guidelines for Mine Closure
In our mineral resource development business, we have prepared a guideline for mine closure based on international standards*. In addition to land reclamation, mine closure plans should be designed so that there is as little negative impact and maximum profit as possible on the local society and economy. To achieve that, such proper measures should be taken as to prepare funds for closure, ensure the safety of waterways constructed at the time of the mine's operation, and to prevent contaminations with chemicals being used. 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)
Cooperation with Stakeholders
- 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 efforts 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.
- Examples of Cooperation with Government Agencies and Universities
ITOCHU supports the Field Museum Concept advanced by Kyoto University together with the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil to preserve the ecosystems of the Amazon. We are providing our assistance to the project to reintroduce Amazon manatees into the wild and the construction of the Field Station. This is a SATREPS project — a three to five year research program that sees researchers from Japan and developing countries jointly conducting research toward global-scale challenge solving and future social implementation. It is jointly run by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Aside from our business activities, the ITOCHU Group also conducts activities to conserve biodiversity through activities to contribute to society.
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. The opening ceremony for this facility that was developed through industry, government and academia collaboration was held in May 2018. 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 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.
One of these is a program to save 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. However, it has reintroduced into the wild 15 manatees and semi-reintroduced 21 manatees by May 2018.
Support for the Milk Costs of Amazon Manatees with Participation in KidZania Tokyo's Eco Shop Pavilion
ITOCHU opened the Eco Shop in a vocational experience facility for children called KidZania Tokyo in April 2012. The Eco Shop is an environmental pavilion that allows children to experience eco activities. We reopened this pavilion under the theme of conserving the ecosystem of the Amazon to promote a project to reintroduce Amazon manatees into the wild (Manatee Homecoming Project) in FYE 2018. There is a mechanism in which we donate 10 yen to Brazil for the milk costs of Amazon manatees for each child who participates in this pavilion. We donated an amount equivalent to the milk costs of one Amazon manatee for 968 days in accordance with the number of those who experienced this pavilion in FYE 2018.
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.
Performance Data on Biodiversity
Support activities for the Amazonian manatee
The Amazonian manatee, a large aquatic mammal in danger of extinction, is an endemic species of the Amazon River that is fully herbivorous unlike cetaceans. As the result of massive overhunting in the past, the population has plummeted, and though manatees are currently protected by law, they show no sign of recovering owing to poaching for their meat.
Since 1972, the National Institute of Amazonian Research has been actively protecting and breeding Amazonian manatees, and the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University, along with the National Institute of Amazonian Research, aims to establish a release program that returns rescued manatees to nature.
As the number of Amazonian manatees protected by the National Institute of Amazonian Research grew (reaching about 60 in January 2016) and holding tanks became crowded, a release program was launched in 2008 to return both rescued and captive-raised manatees to the wild. The biology and ecology of Amazonian manatees still not being fully understood, only four manatees have been released as of 2016 by the National Institute of Amazonian Research. Further, the captive-raised individuals that were released were found to have difficulty finding food on their own in the natural environment, leading to some individuals becoming weakened and getting rescued again. Further, the Amazon region has a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season is marked by abundant rainfall, bringing an abundance of grazing vegetation and making travel in rivers easy, whereas during the dry season, which sees scant rain, river levels drop and many tributaries turn into land, restricting the movement of manatees. Even some wild manatees ending up stranded in parched areas have been reported to have died. The variety and amount of grazing plants are known to drop dramatically in the dry season, and captive-raised manatees who are unfamiliar with such environmental changes have a hard time adapting to the wild following their release. Thus to ensure the success of releases, methods that are optimal for manatees need to be developed and established. Further, new techniques for evaluating the manatees' adaptation to nature are also being developed based on observation of their post-release behavior. ITOCHU Corporation supports this program to reintroduce Amazonian manatees into the wild under a project called the Manatee Homecoming Project, and has established the following three-year performance indicators. This initiative is helping to put a stop to the loss of biodiversity defined as Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
|Theme||Activities||Three-year (FYE 2017-2019) performance indicators||FYE 2017
|FYE 2017 Results||FYE 2018
|FYE 2018 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.||