Environment : Biodiversity Conservation

eco ideas

Approaches to Biodiversity

Business management and human life in our society is founded on the ecosystem services—a multitude of nature’s blessings provided by our natural capital, including soil, air, water, and animals and plants. It is important to preserve biodiversity to continuously receive blessings from this natural capital towards the future; however, this biodiversity has been declining at an unprecedented speed and scale.

Contributions by private companies to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted by the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) and to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have also been required. In the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration of COP 14, held in November 2018, “Mainstreaming of biodiversity in the energy and mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and processing sectors industries” was adopted. Aiming to properly understand effects of our business activities on biodiversity, and to contribute to its conservation, we have promoted the activities, collaborating with local governments, environmental conservation NGOs, and relevant professional institutions. Concretely, we have focused on the three key areas of land use, procurement, and products, in order to promote biodiversity conservation activities incorporated into our businesses. In promoting the key areas, we formulate a biodiversity action plan (BAP), which is the basic concept of Article 6 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and implement measures, check the achievement progress, and improve the initiatives accordingly.

Activities for Land Use

Green areas in our business divisions have a lot of potential to contribute to conserving biodiversity in that area. In particular, hardly any natural environments where wild animals can live and breed remain in urban areas. Therefore, even small areas of green in corporate premises can become a precious habitats of a variety of living things if they have indigenous vegetation and a watery environment.

Preservation of Biotopes in Collaboration with Governments and Experts

Once an ecological network that connects greenery in our business divisions, neighboring woodlands and parks is formed, living things such as birds, butterflies, and dragons in each area can move around wider areas for flowers and water through the ecological networks, and their habitats are expanded. In addition, the Ministry of the Environment and municipalities designate rare species of living things in local areas as endangers species for their preserving. Therefore, we have conducted preservation activities, in collaboration with environmental officers and experts. For example, 1) Biotope of Panasonic Life Solution Company in Kadoma City, through a Biodiversity Partnership (BP) Agreement concluded with Osaka prefectural government, Osaka Prefecture University, and Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture Fisheries (RIEGF) under Osaka prefectural government, and 2) "Tsunagari no Hiroba (i.e. Place for green networking)" of Panasonic Homes Co., Ltd, Headquarters, through a BP concluded with Osaka prefectural government, Toyonaka city government, Osaka Prefecture University, and RIEGF, Osaka prefecture by participating a project to build "Kazeno michi (Wind street with greens)".

Acquisition of External Certification Based on Quantitative Evaluation

The Kusatsu Factory of the Panasonic Appliances Company in Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture, obtained a certificate from the Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community (ABINC) in March 2018 for its contribution to biodiversity. In the course of assessment, we received high ratings concerning how we are building greenery to suit diverse living creatures by appropriately preserving the natural environment, keeping invasive alien species under control and regularly monitor them to track their status, and the proactive use of greenery in liaison with external organizations and local people, such as the local public bodies and primary school students. In the monitoring survey we have conducted since 2011, 840 species of living things were recognized. At the same time, the survey result indicated that our greenery is an important biotope in the urbanizing area, which contributes to the formation of local ecological networks. We won recognition for our activities, earning the top three-star rating in Shiga Prefecture’s fiscal 2018 Shiga Biodiversity Action Certification Program.*2

*1 ABINC is a certification system by third-party evaluation on greenery improvement and management at business divisions based on the land use score (biodiversity quantitative assessment tool in environmental assessment) and Guidelines for Sustainable Business Sites developed by the Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB).
*2 Shiga Biodiversity Action Certification Program is the first system in Japan for rating wide range of activities conducted by business enterprizes in the area of biodiversity conservation with 1 to 3 stars granted by governor.

Sustainable Forest Biodiversity Report II of Panasonic Appliances Company
Three-star rating in Shiga Biodiversity Action Certification Program

The Matsumoto Factory of the Automotive & Industrial Systems Company*3 obtained rank A in the JHEP Certification*4 in September 2015. The certification is updated annually through assessment and our biodiversity preservation activities for greening are maintained continuously.

*3 The company name: Automotive & Industrial Systems when it received the certification
*4 A quantitative biodiversity assessment method developed by Ecosystem Conservation Society Japan based on the Japan Habitat Evaluation and Certification Program (HEP) used for environmental assessments.

Panasonic Appliances Company’s Sustainable Forest

Protection of Rare Species with the Biotope and Utilization in Environmental Education

In March 2009, we built Hanei no Hiroba (Square of Affluence), an area of about 11,000 m2 of greenery in Life Solutions Company in the Kadoma site, and a corner of the greenery was made into a biotope of 300 m2. To make the best of its location positioned between the Yodogawa River and Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park in Osaka Prefecture, we have been monitoring its living organisms following expert advice and instructions of Osaka Prefecture University from the stage of planning for the biotope. The biotope has been maintained by volunteering employees from its start. Each early spring, spot-billed ducks nest and hatch their eggs in the biotope, and the ducklings help raise the environmental awareness among employees.
In June 2012, with the proposal and instructions from the Aquatic Life Conservation Research Center of the Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, Osaka Prefecture, we introduced hemigrammocypris rasborella (a fresh water fish belonging to the carp family) and monochoria korsakowii (a marsh plant) in the biotope. The number of hemigrammocypris rasborella that had been 40 at the start grew to roughly 1,500 in September 2013 and 7,400 in September 2014. Monochoria korsakowii are also growing steadily in number. In November 2013, with the conclusion of the Osaka Partnership Agreement among Osaka Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture University, Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Panasonic, 100 Japanese Medaka fish (oryzias latipes; Ministry of the Environment & Osaka Prefectural Government endangered species) from Kita-Kawachi were newly introduced to the biotopes.
In October 2015, we invited local elementary school children to a workshop to study ecology and creatures in the biotope. We offered an opportunity for children to think about nature and the environment through learning about our biotope habitants and their lifecycles, as well as facts on endangered species.
In October 2016, the series of ecological activities by Life Solutions Company was presented with the Osaka Environment Award 2015, hosted by the Osaka prefectural government. This award is given to an individual, non-profit organization, or company that has made significant contribution of a model activity in building an enriched environment. The company's joint environmental project with Osaka Prefecture University and the Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, Osaka Prefecture, also received the Collaboration Prize under the Osaka Environment Award 2015.
The biotope is expected to contribute to the local biodiversity and greater awareness among employees.

Nature observation in the biotope

Biodiversity Education Utilizing "Tsunagari no Hiroba"

As part of its 50th anniversary commemorative program, Panasonic Homes Co., Ltd. created a biotope called "Tsunagari no Hiroba" (Square for Connection) within the grounds of its headquarters in April 2013 for a purpose of passing the global environment to the future generation and providing a place where living creatures coexist with the local environment. Tsunagari no Hiroba includes "Tsunagari no Mori" (Forest for Connection) consisted of approx. 2500 trees and plants that are mainly native ones; "Mizu no Hiroba" (Water Place) in which Japanese Medaka fish (oryzias latipes) born in Senri region were stocked into a 150 square meter biotope; and "Taiyou no Hiroba" (Place of Sun) where an 11kw photovoltaic power generation system is installed.
In February 2014, Panasonic Homes Co., Ltd. signed "the Osaka Partnership Agreement on Biodiversity" with Osaka Prefecture, Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture University, and the Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries (Osaka Prefecture). This Agreement aims to encourage companies which take an initiative for protecting biodiversity to further promote their activities by providing cooperative support from the five organizations, as well as to enlighten the citizens on the importance of biodiversity preservation.
As one of the activities of the Agreement, the headquarters and "Tsunagari no Hiroba" located next to its building displayed banners for an enlightenment campaign on promoting biodiversity in Osaka. This aimed to widely familiarize the importance of biodiversity protection to its employees as well as visitors, and encourage them to engage in voluntary activities to preserve biodiversity.
In June 2017, when five years had passed since its open, the company carried out monitoring survey on the rare species preserved in the biotope. Mark and recapture conducted on samples captured indicated the propagation of Medaka fish and golden venus chub that were stocked into the biotope, showing that the activities for biodiversity protection had been successfully ongoing in this small ecosystem in the biotope.
Panasonic will continue to actively expand our initiatives to protect the natural environment including biodiversity, as a responsibility of companies that benefit from resources based on a rich biodiversity and services brought by the ecosystem.

Bird-eye view of "Tsunagari no Hiroba"
A banner for an enlightenment campaign on promoting biodiversity in Osaka

Efforts in Procurement

With the aim of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, we consulted extensively with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan and formulated Panasonic Group Green Procurement Guidelines for Wood.

Exclusion of timbers and wood materials whose regulatory compliance in their logging has not been confirmed (Category 3)

In fiscal 2019, the total procurement of timber and wood materials was measured at approx. 350,000 m3. By category, this breaks down to 79.3% meeting Category 1 “Priority” procurement standards (a 2.0+point year-on-year decrease), 20.7% in Category 2 “Acceptable” (a 2.0-point year-on-year increase), and 0% in Category 3 “Avoiding” (same as previous year). Ever since the establishment of our Green Procurement Guideline, we have worked on to achieve zero procurement for Category 3, and have achieved zero procurement for the Category 3 continuingly since fiscal 2015. We will continue our efforts and maintain zero procurement for Category 3.

At the end of every fiscal year, we confirm the progress status at the end of the fiscal year as well as review the measures for the subsequent fiscal year.

Green Procurement Guidelines for Wood Consulted and Formulated with WWF

Green Procurement Guidelines for Wood Consulted and Formulated with WWF. Category 1 “Priority” procurement standards, Category 2 “Acceptable” , and Category 3 “Avoiding”.

We are also engaged in the reduction of the use of natural raw materials, in terms of timber resource conservation. In Fit Floor Natural Wood Type (heat resistant and non-heat resistant) which is used as flooring materials (woody flooring materials), our unique newly developed materials where 100% recycled wood materials (excluding adhesives) , called “Fit Board”, is used.

Cross section of a Fit Floor (heat resistant & non-heat resistant)

Activities in Products

In collaboration with Bird Life International, an international NGO, we have established a third-party assessment method in order to provide customer with information on product contributions to biodiversity. Using this method, we have assessed products which are closely linked to biodiversity. In addition, with our Green Product accreditation criteria, we defined products that contribute to biodiversity conservation as those that use biodiversity-friendly materials in their major components and those that include functions to help biodiversity conservation.

In fiscal 2014, Panasonic Environmental Systems & Engineering Co., Ltd. developed ATPS-BLUEsys, a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) to mitigate effects of transit of vessels in the surrounding sea area on marine ecosystem. Ballast water is sea water held in tanks in a vessel to increase its stability and maneuverability during transit when the vessel does not hold cargos. As the ballast water held in the ballast tank is different from the water of its discharging country’s sea area because of transit of the vessel, effects of harmful foreign aquatic creatures such as plankton and bacteria, on the local ecosystem , environment, and resources has been big issues. ATPS-BLUEsys enables to treat microorganisms in the water with the first inline electrolysis method developed in japan without using filters to a level lower than the standards by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The company acquired the IMO G9 Basic Approval (G9BA) for the system. Marketing of this system has been fully launched in fiscal 2018, as the company acquired a certification equivalent to the IMO approval for the system from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in March 2017. Furthermore, the company has conducted tests to comply with the U.S. regulation.

In addition, Panasonic has developed Sustainable Smart Towns (SSTs) in Fujisawa City and Yokohama City in Kanagawa Prefecture. We are currently planning to develop another SST in Suita City in Osaka Prefecture. The SST urban design guidelines adopt the idea of biodiversity for greening towns as well as plans for reducing greenhouse gas emission, in order to establish sustainable towns by growing indigenous trees and plants and forming ecological networks that coexist in communities. Based on the SST guidelines, we have completely eradicated invasive foreign species in landscaping (planted zone) at the Fujisawa SST, and “Sora shima (literally Sky Island)”, the largest SST in western Japan.

Biodiversity Conservation Through Collaboration with and Support to NGOs and NPOs

Panasonic participates in Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation, aiming to promote activities for biodiversity collaborating with industrial sectors, as well as activities for biodiversity conservation on a global scale through NGOs and NPOs.

Through corporate and private donations to the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, including donations from Panasonic, Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation provided support worth approx. ¥4.3 billion to 1,490 NGO projects in Japan and overseas in cumulative total till fiscal 2019.

Samoan children learning about the environment

In fiscal 2019, we visited the site where environmental education is provided to children in the Independent State of Samoa. The site is run by Conservation International collaborating with a local NGO and residents, under the fund. At the site, we confirmed that the learning of children on various environmental issues particularly linked to island countries, such as effects of climate change, conservation of coral reefs, and issues of oceanic plastics as well as wastes generated from household in the island is disseminated to members of their family and community.

Panasonic has also been involved in marine protection activities*5 for some 20 years through collaboration with WWF Japan.

Main activity at the present is continual supply of MSC- and ASC-certified*6 sustainable seafood*7 to employee canteens that started for the first time in Japan from at Panasonic headquarters in March 2018. The six catering companies who support our activity acquired CoC certification.*8 Three other companies who have collaborated for this activity with Panasonic also adopted sustainable seafood in their canteen. The number of sites where sustainable seafood is introduced in Panasonic canteen was increased to 12 sites. We aim to introduce sustainable seafood to canteens at new 30 sites in fiscal 2020, and to all Panasonic canteens in Japan in fiscal 2021. Through a supply of sustainable seafood at employee canteens, we promote to change consumption behaviors of our employees who are consumers, in order to mainstream biodiversity and contribute to SDG 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. Panasonic was highly evaluated with aforementioned activates, and won the excellent award in “Select” section in the Biodiversity Action Award held by Japan Committee for UNDB.

*5 Including supports for the conservation of the tidal flats in Ariake Sea (2001 to 2006) and the Yellow Sea Ecoregion (2007 to 2015).
*6 MSC certification is certified by Marine Stewardship Council for sustainably and properly managed fisheries. ASC certification is certified by Aquaculture Stewardship Council for responsible fish farming to minimize environmental load on the environment and society.
*7 Seafood that has been certified sustainable production with MSC and ASC certification and managed under CoC certification
*8 CoC is the acronym for Chain of Custody. Certification on securing management and traceability in processing, distribution, and marketing.

Sustainable seafood menu at the employee canteens
Fried oysters grew in Tokura, Sanriku region, granted the 1st ASC certification in Japan with Panasonic support
“Sustainable seafood” received an excellent award in “Select” section, of the Biodiversity Action Award

Participation in the Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity

Panasonic has worked hard to try to understand global trends in biodiversity and potential risks, and has provided their feedbacks to own businesses, through participating Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB).

In fiscal 2019, we held a symposium on ocean plastic wastes was organized in EcoPro 2018. We also produced a 1st booklet by companies for member companies, titled “Let’s Try Biodiversity!”, through participating in the Biodiversity Working Group of four Electrical and Electronic Industry Association*9. With the booklet, we conducted three study sessions. The working group of the four Electrical and Electronic Industry Association reported on the activities in the business forum at the COP 14 meeting and other venues, which appealed the biodiversity activities conducted by Japanese companies to overseas. These activities by the four Electrical and Electronic Industry Association were highly evaluated. As a result, the four Electrical and Electronic Industry Association won an excellent award in “Communicate” section, of the Biodiversity Action Award 2018 held by the Japan Committee for UNDB.

*9 Four industry associations of: The Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association (JEMA), Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), Communications and Information Network Association of Japan (CIAJ), and Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association (JBMIA).

「Let’s Try Biodiversity!」
“Let’s try Biodiversity”, collaboration of the four EEIA won an excellent award in “Communicate” section, of the Biodiversity Action Award

Restoration of Satoyama*10 in Coordination with Citizens Groups

Panasonic have conducted various activities for environmental conservation through the Panasonic ECO RELAY JAPAN (PERJ) together with our domestic business sites, labor union, and retiree group.

Unitopia Sasayama Satoyama Restoration led by PERJ is an activity , aiming at circular use of Satoyama resources by reproducing the Satoyama conditions as they used to be, in the 26.4 ha of premises in the Unitopia Sasayama Resort owned by the Panasonic Group Workers Unions Association. In 2017, this activity was certified as a partner project of the Japan Committee for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity in recognition of our unique activities such as utilizing a private company’s resort facility as a trial field for biodiversity conservation and environmental education, as well as organizing nature conservation activities and related educational programs in collaboration with various stakeholders including local authorities, corporations, universities, NPOs and local farmers. The ongoing project was also awarded the Biodiversity Action Award 2018.

*10 Satoyama is a Japanese traditional living area with rich nature that has been utilized by people, and where multiple organisms exist

“Unitopia Sasayama Satoyama Restoration” won the Biodiversity Action Award