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 2015
Through the examination of the impact of our business activities on biodiversity, we came to realize the extreme importance of biological resources and ecosystem services for our operations. In any case of ecosystem services being newly used or a change in use of biological resources, we confirm that no problem will be caused. Our plants and offices are undertaking a variety of initiatives to preserve biodiversity in 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 107 organizations (as of January 2016) 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 2015 we took part in leadership meetings, general meetings, seminars, liaison meetings, on-site observations, and production of a collection of case studies.
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 eight 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.
Actions in Nobeoka
The 5th tree-planting of the Asahi Forest in Takachiho
In the Nobeoka area, we held the 5th tree-planting of the Asahi Forest in Takachiho, Miyazaki, in May 2015. Since 2006 we have supported a reforestation program led by Miyazaki prefecture to create forests in cooperation with companies. As a part of this effort, we are creating the Asahi Forest by planting broad-leaf trees and other trees native to the area on a mountain site of 40 hectors which was left bare after cedar and cypress had been harvested.
Under clear skies, a total some 550 people including many of our employees and their families, related parties, and nearby residents participated in planting 2,500 trees including oak, wild cherry, Japanese zelkova, maple, and sawtooth oak on a 1 hectare site. We will continue to contribute to the protection of the rich natural environment in the Nobeoka area through afforestation activities for the benefit of future generations.
Actions in Moriyama
Conservation activity for endangered smallhead stickleback, a freshwater fish
In Moriyama, our industrial water coming from underground is used for cooling equipment. After use it is strictly controlled to be disposed to nearby rivers. Part of the disposed water from Moriyama plant 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, in Shiga prefecture, we started a joint project with the Lake Biwa Museum and Moriyama city community associations 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.
Smallhead stickleback, related to the stickleback and 5 cm in length, is confirmed to exist only in the springs located in the eastern part of Shiga prefecture and some parts of Gifu prefecture in Japan. Records show that smallhead stickleback formerly inhabited Moriyama, Shiga, our plant location, but its wild population decreased and eventually disappeared after 1980s due to depletion of the springs and deterioration of the natural habitat.
We are now working to conserve and breed smallhead stickleback in a safe pond located in our Moriyama plant site, while promoting awareness of the preservation of biodiversity both within and outside of our company through our activities.