Reducing the Impact of Corporate Activities on Biodiversity
Corporate activities of SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group are blessed by the fruits of nature derived from biodiversity, while negatively impacting the ecosystem. Recognizing this, we consider nature as a form of capital that has value, and will therefore realize returns on the impact of use through products and initiatives.
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group promotes the efficient use of limited resources and energy, and strives to reduce the environmental impact caused by greenhouse gases and harmful chemical substances and prevent pollution. At the same time, we endeavor to enhance functions and services that enable customers who use our products to contribute to conserving biodiversity.
As a guide for behavior based on this stance, we established a set of guidelines* on biodiversity in 2011. In cooperation with various stakeholders, the Group realizes a return to natural capital through both environmentally conscious business activities and actions to preserve the environment undertaken around the world, while at the same time striving to conserve biodiversity in an effort to achieve nature positivity.
- Biodiversity Guidelines
1.Analysis/assessment and reduction of impact
While analyzing/assessing the impact on our business activities, we will work to reduce any negative impact on ecosystems.
2.Contribution from technologies and products
While working diligently to develop and supply technologies and products that contribute to the conservation or recovery of biodiversity, we will learn from lean natural circulation and promote manufacturing that utilizes that wisdom.
3.Raising employees’ awareness and habitat conservation
Through the promotion of social contribution activities, such as nature conservation activities, we will raise employees’ awareness and make efforts to conserve the habitat of living things.
4.Dialogue with stakeholders
We will work diligently to promote biodiversity conservation by interacting and collaborating with various stakeholders, such as local communities, NGOs, and education/research institutes.
5.Information transmittance and learning/diffusion
To remain a company that is trusted by and meets the expectations of society, we will disclose our voluntary efforts in biodiversity conservation and their outcomes. At the same time, we will thereby contribute to the enlightenment and the dissemination of a sustainable society.
Toward the Realization of an Earth with Maintained Biodiversity
To contribute to the realization of an earth with maintained biodiversity, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group engages in activities based on its Long-term Environmental Management Vision, SEKISUI Environment Sustainability Vision 2050*1.
As stated in the SDGs, natural environment and social environment issues are interconnected, and in order to solve a single issue, we must remain conscious of multiple issues while working to find solutions.
Looking ahead, we intend to strengthen our partnerships with stakeholders and evolve activities conscious of the need to solve not only issues relating to the natural environment and social environments, but also contribute to realizing a return to social capital as well as natural capital*2, through which we hope to achieve a nature positive earth.
To this end, we have drawn the following grand design of initiatives to be focused on by 2050
Biodiversity Grand Design
Toward achieving nature positivity and an earth with maintained biodiversity
Initiatives for realizing a return to natural capital through corporate activities
- Revise manufacturing processes
- Revise product designs to be nature positive
- Expand our degree of contribution through products to enhance sustainability
Initiatives to help realize a return to natural capital through society
- Enhance initiatives involving raw materials procurement
- Support social transformation
Initiatives to accelerate returns to natural capital as part of corporate activities and society
- Human resources development
- Stakeholder collaboration
We will focus our energies on the above.
- For details of the Long-term Environmental Management Vision: SEKISUI Environment Sustainability Vision 2050 see.
- For details of the Integrated Index, Sekisui Environment Sustainability Index see.
Biodiversity Initiatives to Date and the Future
We envisioned and have promoted the following initiatives to address biodiversity
1.Assessment and reduction of the impact of business activities on biodiversity
Developing assessment methods and conducting assessments, reducing impact
Greening of business sites (promoting landscaping and biotope development)
Promoting biodiversity-conscious purchasing
2.Development and promotion of related technologies and products
Incorporating biodiversity assessments at the product development stage
3.Raising employees’ awareness
Conducting nature conservation activities at all business sites
Expanding Sekisui Nature Study Course and nature conservation activities
4.Dialogue and cooperation with external stakeholders
Supporting innovations inspired by nature, and holding public forums
Supporting nonprofit and other organizations through Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
5.Transmittance of information
Participating in exhibitions
Educating the next generation (Children’s Nature Study Course, school visits)
Providing information through Sustainability reports, site reports, and the Company’s website
Starting with the next Medium-term Management Plan, we will take action by applying an awareness of biodiversity (natural capital) to initiatives intended to solve environmental issues that are already underway. In addition, we will enhance efforts to ascertain current conditions, and if any negative impacts on biodiversity are identified, we will work to mitigate negative items while searching for measures that connect to nature positive outcomes with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of initiatives. For this purpose, as well, we will include additional indicators for efforts to ascertain current conditions.
Biodiversity Initiatives in the Next Medium-term Management Plan
JBIB Land Use Score Card® Evaluation Points
Current Medium-term Management Plan (2020-2022) Targets +3 points over a 3-year period (compared with fiscal 2019)
Fiscal 2022 Results +4.9 points (compared with fiscal 2019)
Next Medium-term Management Plan (2023-2025) Target +3 points over a 3-year period (compared with fiscal 2022)
FY2030 Target Promote ecosystem consideration* at all business sites
FY2050 Target Maintain ecosystem consideration at all business sites
- Ecosystem consideration: Increased quantitative evaluation of biodiversity
For details, see Environmental Management Promotion System.
System for Addressing Biodiversity
At the twice-yearly meetings of SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group’s Environmental Subcommittee, which has been established under the Sustainability Committee chaired by the president, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group discusses and deliberates on the direction of initiatives and specific items for initiatives in regard to biodiversity and other environmental issues involving its corporate activities.
When new land is acquired, for example through large-scale land development, such as when constructing our own factories, or through M&As, we carry out environmental assessments of the impact that our business may have on the atmosphere, water areas, soil, etc. During these environmental impact assessments, we also conduct verification of any impact with regard to biodiversity.
Assessment of Impact on Biodiversity (Natural Capital)
Under its SEKISUI Environment Sustainability Vision 2050, the Group is working to realize an earth with maintained biodiversity. To that end, we are promoting activities that incorporate a net-positive approach toward ecosystems.
As previously mentioned, the Sekisui Environment Sustainability Index is used as an integrated indicator to confirm the degree of progress toward realizing the Group’s environmental vision, and is calculated as the rate of return to natural and social capital, which can be considered an assessment of the degree of impact on overall biodiversity.
Furthermore, going forward we will also take steps to identify and monitor the impact of two aspects on plants (primary growth of plants) and biodiversity (rate of extinction of living species).
For some time, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group has recognized that the use of raw materials, emissions of chemical substances, and disposal of products sold place a serious burden on biodiversity. Due to the greater understanding of the unique effects of these chemical substances in recent years as part of LCA databases used to monitor impact, the impact per unit amount of chemical substances has been increasing. In response, we intend to update the databases we use, reconfirm the benchmarks, and expand our return starting with the next Medium-term Management Plan.
Trends in Rates of Return to Biodiversity and Plant Primary Production
|Plant Biomass aspects
In regard to the two aspects of plants (primary production of plants) and biodiversity (rate of extinction of living species), we will confirm the rate of return for each, and adopt these as verification indicators to enable the Group to have a positive direct impact. The above indicates that trend. Although the return rate for both aspects remains below 100%, by engaging with climate change, resource circulation, and other environmental issues going forward, we will promote corporate activities that move steadily toward nature positivity.
Among the raw materials used by the Group, we understand that paper derived from biomass and materials derived from petroleum have a major impact.
In a bid to reduce this impact, we recognize the importance of strengthening procurement that takes into account sustainability also with respect to non-fossil resources as identified in our resource recycling policy. With the aim of strengthening sustainable procurement, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group is reviewing consideration items pertaining to supplier management and conducting activities aimed at reducing environmental impact and corporate risks in cooperation with suppliers based on guides.
Meanwhile, products that contribute significantly to biodiversity include, for example, products that contribute to the reduced use of mineral, fossil, and forest resources. These products are used in a wide range of areas and include products that contribute to resource recycling by reducing energy consumption during the use of vehicles and transportation, improving durability, and promoting a shift in raw materials. Examples of the former include KYDEX, LLC products for aircrafts and railroads. Examples of the latter include products related to the SPR method for sewage pipe rehabilitation. Products that contribute significantly to the primary growth of plants include, for example, products that reduce global warming and products that can reduce waste. Once again in the case of the former, an example is Sekisui Heim’s housing equipped with solar power generation system panels. In the case of the later, examples include Kraft tape, which enables the use of a thinner paper core than previously possible.
To expand these contributions, we are developing products and technologies that contribute to decarbonization while working to reduce waste from products sold. We also acknowledge the importance of putting in place services and technologies that promote recycling. With this in mind, we are looking to achieve each of the aforementioned goals by expanding our lineup of products to enhance sustainability.
The rate of return to plant biomass increased in fiscal 2022. We believe this increase can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the reduced use of raw materials that have a negative impact, improvements in the quality of green spaces at production sites, and contributions from products that have a positive impact on the land used.
As far as biodiversity is concerned, we also recognize that increases in the impact of chemical emissions and the decrease in sales of products that contribute to biodiversity have led to a decline in the rate of return.
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group will continue to promote manufacturing while considering the direction of trends from these rates of return in order to engage in nature positive corporate activities.
Innovation Inspired by the Nature Research Support Program and Holding Forums
As an effective approach to manufacturing that is geared toward solving social as well as environmental issues, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group has recognized the importance and necessity of learning from nature’s wisdom since 2002. Based on this understanding, we established the nature-inspired manufacturing research support program to promote the development of biomimicry technology and have organized forums where researchers can share their results.
While basic science requires time for research and support, we believe that learning from nature’s wisdom has the potential to create fundamental innovations that differ from conventional energy-consuming technologies.
For researchers outside the Company, this program has encouraged the development of 294 technologies (cumulative total as of the end of March 2023). Amid efforts to the promote development based on this understanding, the following types of technologies and products have emerged.
[Contribution to a next-generation telecommunications society]
Transparent flexible reflector film developed from studies of the brilliance of morpho butterfly wings
Fluoroplastic-compatible adhesive tape developed from the study of mussel secretions
[Contribution to extending healthy lifespans (and COVID-19 countermeasures)]
Viru-taker™ and Allerbuster developed from the study of plant-based resins
[Contribution to addressing climate change (heat island effect countermeasure)]
Fractal sunshade material Airyshade developed from the study of the cool shade of trees
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group will continue to place considerable importance on learning from nature’s wisdom in its manufacturing with the aim of developing nature positive products and businesses in the future.
Use of Sustainable Timber and Ensuring Traceability
To contribute to the eradication 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 timber. 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.
In 2022, we newly raised the target of eliminating deforestation by 2030 and revised our Timber Procurement Policy* for the purpose of achieving this goal. Moreover, we formulated the Sustainable Timber Procurement Guidelines to realize procurement in line with this policy. In addition to continuing to procure timber in a legal manner as a matter of course, we also began initiatives towards reducing the impact of deforestation on the human rights of indigenous peoples and the environment.
- For details, see the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group Timber Procurement Policy.
Initiatives to Improve Green Space Quality at All Domestic Production Sites and Research Institutes
Having prepared habitats for local flora and fauna at 45 business sites (total site area 3,238,000 m2, total green space area 850,000 m2) in Japan, we are moving forward with efforts to improve the quality of green spaces at business sites. Our aim is to build ecosystem networks that connect local communities and business sites while invigorating local partnerships. Under the Environmental Medium-term Plan (2020-2022), we aimed to improve our score on the JBIB Land Use Score Card® by three points compared with fiscal 2019.
Under the guidance of the environmental consulting company Regional Environmental Planning, Inc., we are engaged in a range of activities at each business site. For example, we are formulating and executing green space design and management plans in harmony with the surrounding natural environment, conducting sustainable maintenance and management that utilize natural cycles, eradicating invasive species and conserving rare species, and maintaining communication with stakeholders. As a result, in fiscal 2022 we improved our average score 4.9 points compared with fiscal 2019. Under the New Environmental Medium-term Plan (2023-2025), we aimed to improve by three points compared with fiscal 2022.
Activities to Survey Non-native and Conservation Plant Species and to Eradicate Non-native Plant Species
Many non-native species have invaded and become firmly established all around us. Some of them are plants that damage ecosystems, including those that deprive native species of their habitats, and others are plants that are harmful to people.
Based on this situation, SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group has been conducting surveys of exotic plants and precious plants in and around its business sites with the cooperation of experts at 24 factories and offices since fiscal 2018. After selecting those species (plants) to be eradicated and those to be conserved, we prepared countermeasure manuals that describe appropriate removal methods and timings and are using these to conduct on-site confirmation. We are also continuing to carry out eradication-related activities, such as receiving lectures on eradication from experts on an as-needed basis.
To create and maintain better environments within our business sites, it is desirable to focus on non-native species and species conservation (precious species) while managing green spaces that show that we give consideration to biodiversity.
General view of a plant survey
(research and development facility)
General view of an eradication
lecture (SEKISUI Board Minakuchi)
Example of species targeted for
eradication (burr cucumber)
Ecosystem Survey Conducted by Removing the Water from a Biotope Pond for the First Time in 17 Years
Kyushu Sekisui Industry established a biotope in 2000 to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as has been regularly conducting biodiversity surveys since 2015, as well as pond bottom sediment/water quality management and ecological surveys of rare native species living there since 2017. The pond was recently drained in order to improve the bottom sediment/water quality and to conduct ecological surveys. New employees also participated on that day as part of their environmental education, and we also asked NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Saga Station for an interview to publicize our activities, which were featured on the evening news.
As for rare species, we confirmed a stable population of Parrot feather fish but were unable to catch any Rhodeus ocellatus, Hemigrammocypris rasborella, or Biwia zezera fish species, suggesting that their populations are very small and thus creating a stable habitat requires better conditions. The pond’s embankment has been damaged by an invasive species of carp and therefore requires periodic reconstruction work to prevent damage. Other maintenance issues include sunken ditches from age-related deterioration, and we will maintain the biotope, recognizing it as an important place for coexisting with nature. In addition, once a year we invite nearby elementary schools to the biotope to take part in nature observation events as a way to contribute to local communities.
Looking ahead, we aim to integrate the biotope with digital transformation (DX) using digital devices to observe it online.
Wetland biotope conservation
The ray-finned fish, abbottina
rivularis, an endangered species
Certification Equivalency from the Site Coexisting with Nature Certification Demonstration Project
Sekisui Medical’s Iwate Plant participated in the Site Coexisting with Nature Certification Demonstration Project administered by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, and received a screening result "equivalent to certification as a trial result". As an outcome of biodiversity monitoring surveys conducted in fiscal 2022, 951 species of flora and fauna were found to be growing and inhabiting the area. Among these, the survey discovered 22 rare species, including Japanese serow (Special Protected Species) and Japanese Dormouse (Glirulus japonicas). By creating an environment that contributes to biodiversity through efforts to continuously plant deciduous broadleaf trees and to provide spawning grounds for Tohoku Salamanders and forest tree frogs, for example, we perform sustainable maintenance and management that leverages natural cycles. These efforts have been highly acclaimed by experts leading to the equivalent of accreditation.
Spawning ground and pre-
hatchling Tohoku salamanders
Common buzzard chick
Asiatic black bear and her cub
Received the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Award at the 30th Global Environment Prize for developing sustainable communities
The Sekisui Heim Group is working to create sustainable town schemes by maintaining and improving the asset value of the towns in its residential housing business.
ASAKA Lead Town (Asaka City, Saitama Prefecture) is the first phase of the sustainable town development project that brings together the Group's environmental contribution technologies to address not only environmental issues and strengthens resilience to natural disasters, but also social issues associated with the declining birthrate, aging population, and regional depopulation through 1) underground infrastructure, 2) energy-saving, above-ground housing, and 3) town operation and management. We aim to maintain and improve the town concept (safe, comfortable, convenient, sustainable towns) through platforms that update towns by incorporating residents' voices. In fiscal 2021, SEKISUI CHEMICAL received the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Prize at the 30th “Global Environment Awards” in recognition of its efforts and achievements in developing sustainable communities that offer total support that extends to its own design, development, and management initiatives, with the award ceremony being held in April 2022.
Going forward, we plan to continue to expand our environmental and social contributions nationwide by developing problem-solving town development projects throughout Japan.
<Characteristics of the ASAKA Lead Town Sustainable Town Development Project>
1.Underground: Building resilient infrastructure to cope with natural disasters
Combining the Group’s resilience technologies, we have built a disaster-resistant infrastructure (electricity, water, gas, land). We have realized a disaster-resistant, sustainable town with safe and reliable lifelines by installing rainwater storage and drainage facilities to reduce flood damage during heavy rains, underground power lines to prevent damage from toppling utility poles during earthquakes, and highly earthquake-resistant and durable water and gas pipes.
2.Above ground: Energy self-sufficient
*1and efficient eco-friendly homes
All detached houses are equipped with a photovoltaic (PV) power generation system and storage batteries. Energy self-sufficient*1 living helps reduce CO2 emissions. Condominiums feature PV systems and storage batteries installed in common areas to effectively use renewable energy, as well as supply surplus power mainly from PV systems through the trading power service SMARTHEIM DENKI*2. In addition, this project contributes to the environment and provides peace of mind during power outages and water shortages mainly by securing drinking water*3*4 when water supply is cut and by using products that help contribute to daily water conservation.
3.Operation management: Create towns where various people and nature coexist in harmony
This project maintains spaces where various people, nature, and animals can coexist in harmony by ensuring a green environment that coexists with local ecosystems, establishing nursery schools and elderly care facilities, and providing places for intergenerational exchanges. We maintain and improve the town concept (safe, comfortable, convenient, sustainable towns) by the Group engaging in town-wide integrated management and by establishing a town-updating platforms that uses digital technology to engage in dialogue with residents.
- Not entirely energy self-sufficient, so some electricity must be purchased from power utilities
- SMARTHEIM DENKI is a power trading service operated by Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. (retail electricity utility registration number A0308) that supplies electricity. This service includes electricity generated other than PV, including hydroelectric, thermal, and nuclear power. This service makes no guarantee about supplying renewable energy or providing environmental value.
- In the "drinking water storage system", water intake is only possible from pre-planned water fixtures. If water has not been used for more than four days, the quality of the stored water may have deteriorated and thus the first 70 liters must be boiled if it is to be used as drinking water.
- Stored water, in the "Tametoku" system, that has been cut off for more than three days may have deteriorated in quality and therefore should be boiled before using as drinking water.
Resilient underground infrastructure to cope with natural disasters
Eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes
Mangrove Reforestation Activities and Carbon Stock Volume Survey in Thailand
SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group conducts mangrove reforestation activities for the purpose of restoring and maintaining mangrove ecosystems in Thailand, and for contributing to the region. In fiscal 2022 we planted nearly 30,000 trees on 10 ha of tideland in the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat along with local fishermen. These activities also helped educate local children. As part of the most recent planting activity, we conducted species surveys of the large-scale mangrove planting conducted five years ago. As a result, we confirmed a steady increase in biomass, and were able to estimate the activity’s contribution to the gradual conversion of carbon to rich tropical peatland.
Tree planting in 2m x 2m intervals
Five-year old mangrove trees
Cooperation with External Organizations
Business Associations Aiming for and Taking Action in Biodiversity Conservation
Organizer .........................Ministry of the Environment
Significance/objectives ...Achievement in Japan of internationally agreed 30by30 targets
Activities ..........................Summarize and promote deployment of efforts necessary, such as OECM certification, to stop and recover biodiversity loss (become Nature Positive) by 2030
Our Company’s role .......Expressing support and aiming to accelerate efforts through in-house and corporate collaboration
JBIB (Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity)
Significance/objectives ...Contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in Japan and overseas
Activities ..........................Promoting diverse activities, such as conducting research regarding biodiversity together with various companies.
Our Company’s role .......Exchanging opinions with companies that promote biodiversity conservation and sharing case studies while accelerating in-house efforts and raising awareness of social efforts
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 eradication of invasive species.
Social Contribution Activities
To develop personnel who are able to 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®
|Increased by 4.9 points (compared with fiscal 2019)
|Points of JBIB Land Use
|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 calculation sheet to evaluate every business site regarding the size and quality of its greenspace, 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 2019. The index is the average increase of the points across all business sites.