Conserving the Natural Environment ~ Biodiversity ~
We Strive to Conserve Natural Environments and Biodiversity.
Basic ConceptLessening the Impact of Business Activities on Biodiversity
While the business activities of Sekisui Chemical Group receive blessings of nature coming from biodiversity, they also negatively impact the ecosystem. In April 2008, the Sekisui Chemical Group incorporated biodiversity-related items into its Environmental Management Policy. Following this, the Group has been making efforts to reduce the environmental impact of, for example, greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous chemicals and to prevent pollution by promoting the effective use of resources and energy that are more limited than ever. Having established a set of guidelines on biodiversity in 2011, the Group strives to conserve biodiversity, including the natural environment, through both environmentally conscious business activities and actions to preserve the environment undertaken around the world.
Long-term Environmental Management Vision Toward the Realization of a Planet Where Biodiversity Is Preserved
To contribute to the realization of a planet where biodiversity is preserved, Sekisui Chemical Group aims to return more natural capital to the planet than it uses by 2030, through three initiatives: expand and create Environment-contributing Products, reduce environmental impact, and conserve the natural environment.
SEKISUI Environment WeekHeld to Help Develop Human Resources with Excellent Environmental Activity Promotional Skills
At the Sixth SEKISUI Environment Week, held in fiscal 2018, a total of 28,396 employees participated in activities.
The activities were creatively devised to match each business site and included beautification around the areas, tree planting, energy-conservation in the offices and much more.
Procurement of Sustainable Raw MaterialsUsage of Sustainable Timber and Assurance of Traceability
To contribute to the elimination of deforestation as well as the sustainable use of timber resources, at Sekisui Chemical Group every effort is made to ensure that the timber used in products is logged in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements, such as FSC-certified wood. In addition, the Group conducts investigations into commercial distribution with regard to the logging area, tree species and quantity of timber materials to ensure traceability. For recycled materials, we use timber- and wood-based materials that are already used in markets, as well as unused thinnings and branches.
Initiatives to Improve Green Space QualityInitiatives to Improve Green Space Quality at All Domestic Production Sites and Laboratories
We are moving forward with efforts to improve green space quality at business sites with the aim of maintaining flora and fauna habitats, building ecosystem networks that connect regions and business sites and invigorate regional partnerships. Under the Environmental Medium-term Plan (2017-2019), we aimed to improve our score on the JBIB Land Use Score Card® by five points compared with fiscal 2016. As a result of improving the environment of waterside biotopes in co-sponsorship with museums and planting native shrubs in green spaces, we improved our average score by 4.3 points (compared with fiscal 2016) in fiscal 2018.
Example of Green Space Quality ImprovementTsukuba Office Biodiversity Project
Sekisui Chemical’s Tsukuba Office launched the Tsukuba Works Biodiversity Project, a project open to all general employees on a voluntary and participatory basis, and 17 members who had put up their hands promote green space activities at the office. Planting seedlings that include those of Japanese aster and Tsurigane carrots, which are native to the Tsukuba area, and other highly regional flora, the members create green spaces that show consideration for biodiversity so that the fauna that inhabit the area can live. During SEKISUI Environmental Week in fiscal 2018, calls were made to employees to mark out a green space promenade. In addition to its use as a relaxation area for employees on weekdays, this promenade hosts “sowing meetings” during which members engage in the planting of highly regional seeds. Organized by members of the Biodiversity Project, these meetings are also a forum for exchange between employees of the Tsukuba Office.
The members will carry out activities to increase the value of green space, to enable the conducting of environmental education utilizing green space long into the future.
- SEKISUI Environment Week activity (marking out)
- The promenade and planting zone established on the office premises.
- General view of a sowing meeting
An Example of Our Initiatives to Improve Green Space QualityCreating a Biotope in Harmony with Regional Ecosystems
In 2000, Kyushu Sekisui Industry Co., Ltd. created an around 6,300m2 biotope named “Country Woods” on its premises. Drainage from the factory (cooling water from machinery) is reused for the biotope’s pond. The trees that were small when the creation of the biotope began have now grown, and some are over 15m high.
Also, a variety of species can be found inside the biotope. Kingfishers are among the birds that make visits, purple emperor butterflies flutter around the weeping willow, and Japanese moles live underground. Around April and May, the light purple flowers of Salvia plebeia (sage weed, a species on the Near Threatened list) come into bloom by the waterside.
In an ongoing regional environmental project, a company called Environment Consultants conducts surveys of the pond in particular. A survey in 2015 found 15 individuals of the rare species Abbottina rivularis (a fish on the Endangered IB category list). After that, when the habitat was improved by removing the koi and ginbuna carp from the biotope pond, an average of 72 individuals could be confirmed in surveys in 2017 and 2018, and the number of Abbottina rivularis increased. Furthermore, not noted at the time of the 2015 survey, four individuals of the fish known as the rosy bitterling were found for the first time in the 2017 survey. Having then introduced bivalves and improved the habitat and breeding environment, one survey in 2018 was able to confirm the presence of an average of 10 individuals, and the rosy bitterling population thus appeared to be gradually increasing, too.
Since this biotope is open to the public, it has also become a place for relaxation for the local community. Continuing to improve the biotope environment while conducting biological research, we will also conduct education for nature conservation by organizing natural environment field trips.
- Autumn colors in the biotope
- General view of biological research being conducted with a casting net.
Park-like Production Plant in the Middle of a Forest Rich with Nature
Sekisui Medical Co., Ltd.’s Iwate Plant is a park-like facility, the grounds of which are rich in greenery and natural beauty; 95% of the plant’s area is covered by green. There, high-quality pharmaceutical products which are distributed throughout the world are manufactured, in a safe and efficient manner. Through its environmentally friendly wastewater treatment system and reduction of CO2, the plant aims to exist in harmony with its precious surrounding natural environment. As a result of surveys of the birds and plants as well as of the animals that gather in the surrounding area, including streams and springs, 673 species were found. Of these, 14 species, including Argyronome laodice (Pallas’ fritillary, a species of butterfly on the Endangered II category list) and Hynobius lichenatus (Tohoku salamander, a species of amphibian on the Near Threatened list), are recognized as ecologically valuable. In recognition of the above activities, the Iwate Plant has acquired 4 Stars (the highest rank) under the “Iwate-friendly business place certification system,” certified by Iwate Prefecture. Through manufacturing, the plant will continue to contribute to people’s healthy and fulfilling lives, and the conservation of ecosystems.
- Making a forest by planting saplings
- Watching the species that live in spring water
Promoting Biodiversity in the Housing BusinessTown Development That Takes Natural Environments and Ecosystem Preservation into Consideration
The Sekisui Heim Group is working to create sustainable town schemes by maintaining and improving the property value of the towns in its residential housing business.
In Smart Heim City Asaka, the lots of which Tokyo Sekisui Heim Co., Ltd. commenced selling in the spring of 2019, approximately 25% of the development area was set aside as green space,*1 and town development was carried out in consideration of the surrounding natural environment and ecosystem preservation. We established a park with an open grassed space in "Neighbors Circle*2", which will become a town landmark, and the road leading from there to the area where the lots are being sold is being developed as a lush, dedicated road for pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, "Fitness Park", which consists of a park with fitness equipment and a promenade along the Kurome River, is a healthcare area zone where people can exercise while communing with Nature. As a result of its greening policy with a sense of unity and continuity, Smart Heim City Asaka acquired Ikimono Symbiotic Coexistence Enterprise Certification, awarded by ABINC*3, in fiscal 2018.
*1Refers to the "green coverage ratio" that shows the proportion of green space etc. with regard to the ABINC*3 application site.
*2Neighbors Circle is the name of a plaza that includes Neighbors Store, a childcare facility, clubhouse and Miyadai Park (managed by Asaka City).
*3The Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community (ABINC) is a system that certifies the results of biodiversity conservation efforts to encourage businesses to coexist with nature and people.
Artist’s impression of the Neighbors Circle meet-up area upon completion
Full area diagram of Smart Heim City Asaka
Environmental Contribution Activities in Collaboration with Local CommunitiesExpanding Initiatives at Domestic Production Sites and Housing Companies
Sekisui Chemical Group is promoting measures aimed at protecting the natural environment in collaboration with local communities at domestic products sites and laboratories. Working in partnership with NPOs, elementary schools, and local government authorities, we pushed forward various initiatives in such areas as woodland conservation and environmental education at 26 business sites in fiscal 2018. This was an implementation rate of 55%.
At seven* of its mainstay housing companies, Sekisui Chemical Group has also been engaging in forest and woodland conservation activities since fiscal 2013. In addition to gaining an insight into the importance of the multifaceted functions of forests, steps are being taken to improve communication with local communities through increased collaboration. All seven housing companies took part in activities in fiscal 2018.
For an example of our initiatives, see "Social Contribution Activities."
The seven companies are: Hokkaido Sekisui Heim Group, Sekisui Heim Tohoku Group, Tokyo Sekisui Heim Group, Sekisui Heim Chubu Group, Sekisui Heim Kinki Group, Sekisui Heim Chushikoku Group, and Sekisui Heim Kyushu Group
“Sekisui Forest” Preservation Activities (Tokuyama Sekisui Co., Ltd.)
Cooperation with NPO / Making a children’s forest hands-on workshop (Sekisui Heim Chubu Group)
Wastewater WETInvestigation of Causes at Business Sites Where Impact Had Been Confirmed by Previous Surveys
Sekisui Chemical Group strictly adheres to wastewater standards regulated by laws and ordinances and has set even tougher standards for the management of wastewater from its production sites. To prevent negative effects on and ensure the safety of the water environment for aquatic life in the places where wastewater flows, the Group has conducted whole effluent toxicity (WET) assessments of wastewater and surveys of the habitat conditions in the rivers where wastewater is released since fiscal 2013. Looking at past surveys, 96% of the water emitted into public water areas by Sekisui Chemical Group production sites has been checked. In fiscal 2018, the Company continued to conduct investigations into causes at business sites where past surveys have revealed an impact on living organisms. As a result, we have been able to specify causative agents.
General view of a river ecosystem survey
Examples of living creatures used in WET assessments (zebra fish)
Cooperation with External OrganizationsDialogue and Partnership with Stakeholders
An Association Aiming for and Taking Action in Biodiversity Conservation
In 2013, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. became a member of JBIB (Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity), which is a group of Japanese corporations committed to biodiversity conservation. In order to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in and outside Japan, we promote diverse activities, such as conducting research regarding biodiversity together with various companies.
Activities to Conserve Green Spaces
We work together with an environmental consulting firm on environmental conservation activities and development of local environment, such as research on ecosystems at production sites and laboratories, conservation of biodiversity, and extermination of non-native species.
Social Contribution Activities
To develop personnel who contribute to the environment, we engage in natural environment conservation activities in various regions around the world, through cooperating with local governments, academic institutions, schools, NPOs and NGOs.
Results from the JBIB Land Use Score Card®
|JBIB Land Use Score Card®||Increase by 2.6 points||Increased by 4.3 points|
|Points of JBIB Land Use Score Card®||JBIB Land Use Score Card® is a tool promoted by JBIB, which evaluates the level of effort to preserve biodiversity with respect to the land owned by the Company. It is a sheet for evaluation of every business site regarding the size and quality of its green space, management system, etc. on a scale from 0 to 100.
We implement assessments of every business site for the fiscal year using the JBIB Land Use Score Card® and calculate the increase from the number of points it had in fiscal 2016. The index is the average value of the points increase of all business sites.
SEKISUI Environment Week Participation Rate
|Participation rate in the SEKISUI Environment Week initiative||84.9%||88.1%|
|Proportion of participants in the SEKISUI Environment Week initiative||Total number of participants in the SEKISUI Environment Week initiative / total number of employees in the business sites participating in the initiative x100|
Rare Species Identified at Sekisui Chemical Group Facilities and Their Surroundings up to Fiscal 2018
(including out-of-area conservation*)
* Out-of-area conservation: A method for protecting endangered species by sheltering them in safe facilities and increasing their numbers, avoiding extinction.