Conservation of Biodiversity
Policy and Basic Concept
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, we are 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 Policy. As such, we will contribute to building a sustainable society.
Biodiversity-friendly Environmental ManagementWe recognize that our business activities depend on the blessings of biodiversity and that they may affect the ecosystem. Accordingly, we shall promote environmental management that incorporates a wide range of environmental activities (such as interrelated climate change measures, resource circulation measures and biodiversity conservation) into our business activities to build a society in which we coexist with nature.
Understanding and Reducing the Impact of the Relationship between Business and BiodiversityWe are aiming for a net positive impact on biodiversity by understanding the relationship between our business activities not only in our group companies but across our entire group and biodiversity from a global perspective. We shall strive to avoid and minimize the impact our business activities have on biodiversity. At the same time, we shall promote the restoration of the ecosystem.
We have established a procurement policy to protect natural forests and forest resources concerning forest commodities (such as timber, natural rubber and palm oil). We shall promote information gathering to confirm there is zero deforestation due to production from protected areas designated by law.
Compliance with International Treaties and the National Laws of Each CountryWe shall promote the conservation of biodiversity by complying with international treaties on biodiversity (e.g., the Convention on Biological Diversity) and the relevant national laws of each country.
We shall promote social contribution activities to protect endangered species in the areas in which we conduct business activities. This is in addition to not participating in transactions relating to endangered species designated by the Washington Convention (CITES)* with our business activities.
Enhancement of Partnerships and Conservation of Local EcosystemsWe shall look to share awareness of biodiversity by cooperating with industry groups, supply chains, NGOs and international organizations. We shall then make our biodiversity conservation efforts more effective.
We shall take into account conservation of biodiversity in the areas in which we conduct business activities. At the same time, we shall promote conservation of biodiversity from the perspective of creating communities that utilize natural resources to contribute to the realization of affluent and safe lives in local communities. We shall do this together with stakeholders such as local residents and NGOs in addition to governmental bodies.
Enhancement of Information Sharing and DisseminationWe shall promote understanding of biodiversity to local residents of the areas in which we conduct business activities in addition to our employees through awareness activities.
We shall contribute to raising awareness of biodiversity over the whole of society by continuously disclosing the details, targets and achievement status of our efforts.
- CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Member of the Board
Executive Vice President
Chief Administrative Officer
Established in April 2022
ITOCHU conducts product certification and traceability for biodiversity conservation in products handled in businesses including the supply chain, and social contribution activities for biodiversity conservation in business-related areas. We consider forest resources (wood, wood products, paper raw materials and paper products, natural rubber, palm oil), dairy products, meat, marine products, and textile raw materials as important commodities for biodiversity and strive to disclose information and set goals for them.
Targets in Business Activities
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- Sustainable palm oil: palm oil supplied from supply chains compliant to RSPO and RSPO-equivalent standards.
- NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation): zero deforestation, zero peatland development, zero exploitations
- MSC (The Marine Stewardship Council): an international NPO established in 1997 to work on spreading sustainable fishing. It is headquartered in London, England.
- CoC (Chain of Custody Certificate): A certification for processors and distributors to ensure the traceability of MSC certified marine products and other products in the management of processing and distribution processes specified by MSC.
Refer to: For goals in other business activities
Targets in Business-related Areas
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Structures and Systems
Assessment of the Impact of Biodiversity on New Businesses Investments Projects
For business investment projects that ITOCHU undertakes, the impact of the project on environment and society is evaluated in advance using the ESG Checklist for Investment — a checklist that must be submitted when entering into new business investment projects. For example, it includes assessing the impact on the natural environment and biodiversity such as the impact on ecosystems and the depletion of resources. If an impact is recognized, we conduct a risk analysis, and if necessary, we ask an external expert to conduct additional due diligence. The project is then only undertaken upon confirming that there are no problems in the results of those investigations.
Assessment of the Impact of Biodiversity by Product Type
ITOCHU Corporation has introduced an environmental management system (EMS) based on ISO14001, and is aware of the impact our business activities can have on the environment and society. In order to prevent environmental and social risks, we use the LCA analysis method to conduct a “sustainability risk assessment” for each product we handle. This evaluation is a mechanism for evaluating the presence or absence of processes that have a negative impact on biodiversity in the value chain. We aim to prevent environmental pollution and promote environment-conserving 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.
Assessing nature-related Dependencies and Impacts in Line with TNFD
ITOCHU participates in the TNFD Forum organized by the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). In FYE 2023, with reference to the TNFD beta framework (βV0.1-βV0.4), we conducted a primary survey to identify business activities that have a high degree of dependence and impact on biodiversity and natural capital in the Group's business. Specifically, using the natural capital impact assessment tool (ENCORE) developed by the United Nations Environment Program and other organizations, we classified the activity processes carried out in the value chain, including upstream and downstream of our business, according to the processes specified by ENCORE. Then, we aggregated businesses with similar processes and created 28 groups. For each of the 28 groups, we calculated the score for each degree of dependence and impact while taking into account the degree of our involvement, etc., resulting in the “dependence/impact mapping” shown in the table right.
From now on, we plan to implement what is called the LEAP approach; “Evaluation of the degree of dependence and impact on identified business activities”, “Identification of important risks and opportunities based on the degree of dependence and impact”, “Formulation and monitoring of response policies”.
Biodiversity Conservation in Business Activities
Consideration for Biodiversity in the Forestry Products 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 biodiversity conservation.
Consideration for Biodiversity in Mine Closure
In our mineral resource development business, we have prepared Environment, Health, Safety (EHS) guidelines based on international standards*, which also stipulate the consideration of biodiversity in the closure of mines. 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. It will require 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 project partners, assessed the environmental impact and formulate mine closure plans as stipulated by the regulations of countries where projects are located, and also put the system in place to check the implementation process of the plan by utilizing EHS check list.
- EHS Guidelines of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Biodiversity Conservation in Business-related Areas
ITOCHU is working with stakeholders to protect endangered wildlife.
Mangrove Planting Project in Collaboration with Uken Village of Amami Oshima Island, a World Heritage Site
Located on the west coast of Amami Oshima Island, Uken Village is striving to nurture and protect its abundant and irreplaceable natural environment, home to many different creatures, so that the next generation will always and proudly cherish it. ITOCHU has been supporting this initiative since 2021, and has started supporting reforestation activities in mangrove forests using Kandelia obovata* seedlings raised by children in Uken Village. In 2022, we have started tree planting activities in Uken Village, Edateku Island. We shall contribute to biodiversity conservation through mangrove planting, and also aim to create CO2 credits in the future.
- Kandelia obovata is a species of plant that comprises the mangrove forests found in Kagoshima and Okinawa prefectures.
Mangrove Ex-Situ Conservation Project
In addition to the in situ conservation of Kandelia obovata in Uken Village, Amami Oshima, ITOCHU has started Ex-Situ conservation in collaboration with the Tsukuba Botanical Garden of the National Museum of Nature and Science. In 2022, we donated the seedlings from viviparous seeds to all the children of the elementary school near our Tokyo head office, Minato Ward's Aoyama Elementary School.
Collaborative Conservation Project for Rare Freshwater Fish with Shiga Prefecture and Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwa Museum
With the aim of preserving the environment in the area where ITOCHU was founded, ITOCHU has launched a project to conserve the endangered Ayumodoki and Zenita tanago (research on establishing breeding techniques for rare freshwater fish) in collaboration with Shiga Prefecture and the Shiga Prefectural Lake Biwa Museum. Lake Biwa is one of only about 20 ancient lakes in the world, and is home to more than 1,700 species of flora and fauna, including over 60 endemic species. It is also an important migratory site for waterfowl and is a registered wetland under the Ramsar Convention.
At the Lake Biwa Museum, we subculture rare freshwater fish such as Ayumodoki, which are endangered. At present, about 35 species of Japanese freshwater fish are being bred and preserved in captivity at the Conservation and Breeding Center installed at the Lake Biwa Museum and at the breeding facilities in the Aquatic Exhibition. Some populations are potentially extinct in their habitat. Continuing to preserve these species will serve as Ex-Situ conservation of rare freshwater fish in Japan, and is an important initiative in anticipation of their future return to the wild.
Support for a Biodiversity Conservation Program in the Amazon
ITOCHU established its office in Brazil in 1957 and has expanded business in various sectors including forestry and mineral products. Those products benefit from the abundant water and biological resources of Brazil, including the Amazon. Since FYE 2017, with the aim of conserving the environment and biodiversity, we has been engaged in activities to save Amazon manatees, a species in danger of extinction, through support for the “Field Museum Initiative” a biodiversity conservation program in tropical forests in the Amazon promoted by the Wildlife Research Center of Kyoto University in collaboration with the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Brazil, and the construction of a research facility “Field Station”. This project is part of the SATREPS Project, a joint project between the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). With the support of ITOCHU, over the 3 years from FYE 2017, the project aimed to release more than 9 manatees to the wild and more than 20 manatees to the semi-wild. In fact, 27 manatees have been released to the wild and 31 manatees to the semi-wild, and more than 100 local residents have been provided with learning opportunities.
Project for Protecting Green Turtles, an Endangered Species
With the aim of conserving biodiversity, ITOCHU supports conservation activities for the green turtle, which is listed as an endangered species in the Ministry of the Environment Red Data Book, through the certified NPO Everlasting Nature (ELNA). ELNA was established in 1999 with the aim of conserving the marine life in Asia and the surrounding marine environment, and is an organization that has received certification as an NPO from Kanagawa Prefecture.
Thanks to ELNA’s 24–hour conservation activities, the number of nesting sites of green turtles on the Ogasawara Islands is gradually increasing with repeated increases and decreases.
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.
Refer to: ELNA activity report (Japanese Only)
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 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 brand plans and sells charity goods and then provides 1% of those proceeds to the BCT. This helps with the funds to purchase land for “Green Corridor Project*1” and the costs to protect Borneo elephants that have gone astray in plantations. The brand independently acquired the 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 No.1 (Symbiotic Forest No.1 of Hunting World).
Furthermore, the brand has continued support activities and has now acquired the Hunting World Kyosei no Mori No.4 (Symbiotic Forest No.4 of Hunting World). In 2019, the brand started supporting “Grateful Repayment Project*2” promoted by BCT Japan, which supports BCT. These donations have also helped with the funds to establish the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary, a facility for protecting and temporarily rearing injured Borneo elephants and to pay for food to keep Borneo elephants protected alive.
- Green Corridor Project: 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.
- Grateful Repayment Project: This is an activity to protect and temporarily raise Borneo elephants that have lost their places of life.
Collaboration with Outside Initiatives
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, 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 2030. 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.
Performance Data in Business Activities
- Performance Data Regarding Forest Certification and Legal Compliance, Sustainable Procurement Performance Data of Raw Materials for Papermaking
- Performance Data on Natural Rubber
- Performance Data Regarding Sustainable Palm Oil Procurement
- Performance Data on Sustainable Coffee Bean Procurement
- Performance Data on Traceability of Meat
- Performance Data Related to Certification of Marine Products
- Performance Data on Organic Cotton Procurement
Performance Data on Business-related Areas
Endangered Ayumodoki and Zenitanago Conservation Project (Research on establishment of rearing techniques for rare freshwater fish)
|Targets after 5 years
|Breeding for individual maturity
|Full length (mm) (Average)
|Targets by 2024: Emergence of fertile mature individuals (10 individuals) and establishment of breeding methods for maturity*4
|Degree of obesity*1 (Average)
|Breeding by artificial insemination
|Cumulative number of breeding fry
|Cumulative number of breeding fry: 500
|Average length after 6 months (mm)
|Breeding by artificial insemination
|Number of parent fish
|Establishment of artificial insemination technology (Hatching rate, Floating rate about 80%)
- Value obtained by dividing body weight by body length cubed and multiplying by 100. A measure of maturity.
- The value obtained by dividing the artificially inseminated eggs from the hatched eggs (percentage of individuals hatched normally among the artificially inseminated eggs).
- Value obtained by dividing the number of larvae that hatched from the larvae that surfaced (swimmed) in spring (a value that indicates how many larvae have learned to swim over the winter).
- For the time being, the goal is to produce 10 breeding mature individuals and to establish breeding methods for maturity.
Conservation Project for Endangered Green Turtles
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Compared to the Previous Year
Compared to 2000
|Number of Surveyed Coasts
|Total Number of Surveys Conducted
|Total Survey Personnel
|Number of Surveyed Green Turtle Nests
|This is a significant increase from last year, but in terms of long-term secular change, 2,000 spawning nests around 2008 to 2016 has not been seen in recent years.
|Number of Surveyed Post-hatching Nests (Conducted only on Chichijima)
|Baby Turtles Returning to the Sea (Conjecture)
|Escape Rate (Number of Escaped Turtles / Number of Eggs)
|The Increasing Trend of Green Turtles in Ogasawara (Conjecture)
|Increasing trend with repeated increases and decreases
|Trend in Escape Rate
|Good with repeated increases and decreases
- Figures are approximate due to unpublished data. Table based on ELNA activity report (Japanese Only).
Support for a Biodiversity Conservation Program in the Amazon
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|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.