Our environmental protection measures include efforts for the achievement of a low-carbon society, the establishment of a circular economy, and the preservation of biodiversity.
To ensure the sustainable utilization of living resources, we give due consideration to reducing the impact of our business activities on biodiversity, and we have established guidelines for the preservation of biodiversity. Based on these guidelines, the Asahi Kasei Group began examining the impact of our business activities on biodiversity. In order to promote business activity mindful of biodiversity, we are working to raise awareness among personnel by various means including our RC education program.
Notable actions in fiscal 2016
We examine the impact of our business activities on biodiversity when there is a newly used or a change in use of raw materials, and confirm that no problem will be caused. Our plants and offices are undertaking a variety of initiatives to preserve biodiversity in accordance with the ecosystem of each location.
National network to promote the Satoyama Initiative in Japan
The Japan Network for Promoting the Satoyama Initiative, established in September 2013, is comprised of 108 organizations (as of February 2017) including companies, research institutions, governmental bodies, NGOs, NPOs, etc. Various organizations in Japan join together under the keyword “Satoyama” to bridge differences and build a platform to enable interactions, cooperation, and information exchange among the participants in order to make efforts to conserve and use biodiversity into a nationwide effort. Asahi Kasei is a founding corporate member of the Satoyama Initiative, and in fiscal 2016 we took part in leadership meetings, general meetings, seminars, liaison meetings, on-site observations, and the 1st Asian Conference on Biocultural Diversity in October.
Actions in Moriyama
Conservation activity for endangered smallhead stickleback, a freshwater fish
In Moriyama, we draw groundwater for use as industrial water to cool equipment. Its quality is strictly monitored and it is discharged to nearby rivers after use. Part of the discharged water from our Moriyama Works is also used for agriculture, which has become vital for the local farmers as well as wildlife inhabiting the waterfront areas. Against this backdrop, we started activities to protect biodiversity from fiscal 2010 focusing on water, which is intrinsically related to our business operations.
In fiscal 2015, we started to revive the population of wildlife inhabiting waterways and their surround areas, including ex-situ conservation of the freshwater fish called smallhead stickleback which is designated as an endangered species. In the spring of 2016 we confirmed that smallhead stickleback were breeding in the conservation pond we prepared within the plant grounds. We held a nature observation tour to convey the intent of our conservation activities, and brought in an expert to explain the importance of protecting the biodiversity of the local area.
“Mission 79 Dragonfly” project of the Kotou Area Biodiversity Network
Having established interactions with one another in relation to environmental concerns, the Shiga Plant of Sekisui Jushi Corp., Shiga Works of Daifuku Co., Ltd., Shiga Plant of Asahi Kasei Jyuko Co., Ltd., and Moriyama Works of Asahi Kasei Corp. began collaborative activities for protection of biodiversity in the local area. The collaboration aims to protect biodiversity in the Kotou area of Shiga by drawing together businesses, the people of the community, local government bodies, and experts.
The Kotou Area Biodiversity Network formed for this purpose has now launched “Mission 79 Dragonfly” as a project to protect the biodiversity of dragonflies in the area. There are 79 species of dragonfly confirmed to inhabit the Kotou area of Shiga. As the lifecycle of dragonflies is deeply related to water, the population of dragonflies is said to be a barometer of the quality of the local environment. We believe this project to protect and survey dragonflies will contribute to the protection of the overall biodiversity of the Kotou area.
Actions by Asahi Kasei Jyuko Co., Ltd.
The Shiga Plant of Asahi Kasei Jyuko is located in an area where there had formerly been a continuously distributed natural lakeside ecosystem of rice paddies, woods, and ponds. In addition to participating in the Kotou Area Biodiversity Network, in fiscal 2016 Asahi Kasei Jyuko began a program to survey and protect dragonflies, whose numbers are recently decreasing due to development of the area.
In the first year of the program, the company conducted a simple survey of the ecosystem in and around the grounds of the Shiga Plant, and conducted three surveys of dragonflies. As a result, 32 species of dragonfly were confirmed, including the important Libellula quadrimaculata, out of 72 species with potential to inhabit the area. Ongoing surveys are planned in the following year and thereafter.
Together with Crefeel Koto Co., Ltd., which cooperated in the survey, Asahi Kasei Jyuko also made a poster and a simple field guide on the dragonflies found in the area, and donated them to children in the community.
Asahi Kasei Jyuko will continue to promote the conservation of the ecological network which provides a pathway for living creatures to move back and forth between the mountains and flatlands.
Actions in Nobeoka
The 1st tree-planting of the Gokase Asahi Forest
In the Nobeoka area, we held the 1st tree-planting of the Gokase Asahi Forest in the town of Gokase, Miyazaki, on April 8, 2017. Since 2006 we have supported a reforestation program led by Miyazaki prefecture to create forests in cooperation with companies. We created an Asahi Forest by planting broad-leaf trees and other trees native to the area on mountain sites totaling 40 hectares in Hinokage and Takachiho, and 1 hectare in Kitakata, which were left bare after cedar and cypress had been harvested.
A total of 2,050 saplings of broadleaf trees such as wild cherry, Japanese zelkova, oak, maple, and sawtooth oak were planted on a 1 hectare site in Gokase. Although rain made for unsteady footing, some 530 people including many of our employees and their families, related parties, and nearby residents participated in the tree-planting.
Thanks to the cooperation of many residents of Gokase as well as staff and related parties, a series of events including the opening ceremony, tree planting in the rain, enjoyable lunch, a market of local specialties, and a drawing for prizes left a memorable impression on the participants.
Actions in Fuji
In Fuji, the Asahi Woods of Life we created within the grounds of our plant and laboratory complex has grown vigorously over the past nine years since we planted trees together with members of the community. This pioneering effort to preserve biodiversity has drawn many visitors, and the annual firefly watching event was enjoyed by more than 3,000 people over three days. We are also working successfully with a nearby university to introduce and propagate rare species native to the area.