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 sustain the benefits derived from this natural capital towards the future; however, this biodiversity is experiencing significant damage at an unprecedented speed.

We are committed to properly understanding the impact of our business activities on biodiversity and contributing to conservation. To this end, we are promoting initiatives in cooperation with local governments, environmental conservation NGOs, and specialized agencies. We focus on the three key areas of land use, procurement, and products, in order to promote biodiversity conservation as an initiative 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.

Contribution to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted by the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations is also expected of private corporations. We are expanding our biodiversity conservation activities by collaborating with external organizations.

Initiatives in Land Use

Green areas in our business sites can potentially 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 environment for a variety of living organisms if they retain indigenous vegetation and a watery environment.

Preservation of Biotopes in Collaboration with Governments and Experts

Forming an ecological network that connects greenery in our business sites and neighboring woodlands and parks enables birds and insects such as butterflies and dragonflies to move across the areas for flowers and water, expanding their living space. In addition, protecting rare plants and living creatures in local areas is an activity in collaboration with governments and with help and advice of experts to preserve endangered species designated by the Ministry of the Environment or local government that are deemed to be disappearing from that area. Other examples include the Biotope at the Eco Solutions Company in Kadoma City, Osaka Prefecture that concluded the Osaka Biodiversity Partnership Agreement with the government of Osaka Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture University, and the Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as Tsunagari no Hiroba at Panasonic Homes Co., Ltd. that was set up with the participation as part of Osaka Prefecture's project to create green wind streets and conclusion of the aforementioned agreement with Osaka Prefecture, Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture University, and the Research Institute of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries.

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 Eco 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. The Japanese Medaka fish have also been confirmed to be growing steadily in number.
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 Eco 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

Environmental Education for Children 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 the beginning of June 2017, when four 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.
When full blown summer came following rainy season, the company invited local elementary school children to "Tsunagari no Hiroba" for a hands-on environmental workshop. In the workshop, children caught Medaka fish and golden venus chub with a net, than studied these fish while listening to explanations on their ecology. The children learnt about biodiversity and endangered species, along with the role and necessity of biotopes. The company has been providing these workshops as an opportunity for the children to think about how they can protect nature through their actions. After the workshop, the children made comments such as "I want to think more about the global environment to protect the lives of living creatures" and "I want to learn more about the effect of alien species on human".
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

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. The ABINC certifies a corporation's manner of organization and management of greenery in their business site as a third party by assessing it based on the ABINC guidelines and the Land Usage Assessment Sheet (a quantitative biodiversity and environmental assessment tool) developed by Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB) and partner companies. In the course of assessment, we received positive remarks 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 pupils. The monitoring survey conducted since 2011 recognized 838 species of plants and living creatures, and found that our greenery is an important biotope in the urbanizing area, which contributes to the formation of local ecological networks.

The Matsumoto Factory of the Automotive & Industrial Systems Company obtained rank A in the JHEP Certification*1 in September 2015. The certification is updated annually through assessment and our biodiversity preservation activities in our greeneries are maintained continuously.

*1 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.

Entire view of the water front
Rare striated heron juveniles being reared in the factory premises

Efforts in Procurement

In an effort to address biodiversity conservation and sustainability, we consulted extensively with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan and formulated Panasonic Group Green Procurement Guidelines for Wood.

Exclusion of illegally logged timber and wood materials (Category 3)

In fiscal 2018, the total procurement of timber and woodmaterials was measured at approx. 350,000 m3. By category, this breaks down to 77.3% meeting Category 1 "Priority" procurement standards (a 0.3-point year-on-year decrease), 22.7% in Category 2 "Acceptable" (a 0.3+point year-on-year increase), and 0% in Category 3 "Avoiding" (same as previous year). Ever since the establishment of our Procurement Guidelines, we efforts to achieve zero procurement for Category 3, have been implemented with zero procurement continuing since fiscal 2015. We will continue our efforts and maintain zero procurement for Category 3.

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

In green procurement for wood, we implement the PDCA cycle based on development of the annual plan, and confirm the progress status at the end of the fiscal year as well as review the measures for the subsequent fiscal year.

We are also engaged in the reduction of the use of natural raw materials, from the perspective of preserving timber resources. Flooring materials (woody flooring material) Fit Floor Natural Wood Type (heat resistant & non-heat resistant) and Fit Floor (heat resistant & non-heat resistant) use "Fit Board," our unique new material made of 100% recycled wood material (excluding adhesives).

The Act on Promoting the Distribution and Use of Legally Harvested Wood (the Clean Wood Law) came into effect on May 20, 2017. Panasonic provides information concerning the legality of our wooden products based on the Clean Wood Law at the following URL.

Fit Floor Natural Wood Type (heat resistant & non-heat resistant) & Fit Floor (heat resistant & non-heat resistant)

Initiatives in Products

Together with the NGO BirdLife International, we have established a third-party assessment system to provide customers with information about product contributions to biodiversity. Through this system, we have assessed products which are closely linked to biodiversity.

We have also enhanced our Green Product accreditation criteria by adding biodiversity to the existing items. We define products that contribute to biodiversity conservation as those that use biodiversity-conscious 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 reduce disturbance from maritime transportation of the marine ecology of local sea areas. Ballast water is sea water used to retain the balance of a freight vessel at sea when it is not carrying shipment.
Because the ship travels across the sea taking sea water from one port and then draining the water into another port, the impact of foreign organisms such as plankton and bacteria on the local ecology, environment, and resources is becoming an increasingly serious problem. ATPS-BLUEsys treats microorganisms in the water with inline electrolysis without using filters, which is the first in Japan. The system can treat the water to a level lower than the standards by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and successfully acquired the IMO G9 Basic Approval (G9BA). Marketing of this system has been launched in fiscal 2018 as it acquired equivalent designation by System, ATPS-BLUEsys received type approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in March 2017.

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 emissions so as to establish sustainable towns by growing indigenous trees and plants and forming ecological networks that exist with communities.

Biodiversity Conservation Through Collaboration with and Support by NGOs and NPOs

We collaborate with NGOs and NPOs through the Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation, in an effort to promote biodiversity conservation on a global scale as well as in coordination with the industrial sector.

The Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation is an organization consisting of more than 110 Keidanren member enterprises that are actively involved in nature protection and biodiversity conservation. Since its establishment in 1992, it has been engaged in supporting NGO efforts in nature conservation, promoting exchanges between business enterprises and NGOs, promoting awareness of nature protection and biodiversity among businesses, and supporting the efforts in the Tohoku region to recover from the earthquake disaster through the restoration of nature.

Through corporate and private donations to the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, including donations from Panasonic, support worth a cumulative total of approx. 3.9 billion yen has been donated as of fiscal 2018 to 1,345 NGO projects in Japan and other countries.

Tree planting activity at the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

In fiscal 2018, we visited the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, where World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan operates, and Gunung Halimun Salak National Park in Java, where Japan Environmental Education Forum runs a project, to monitor their progress. In addition, we talked directly with local residents about their activities for environmental preservation in these parts and their lives, leading to the re-recognition of the importance of the compatibility between long-lasting nature preservation activities and living an independent. Panasonic has also been involved in marine protection activities*2 for some 20 years through collaboration with WWF Japan. In March 2018, we introduced MSC- and ASC-certified*3 sustainable seafood*4 in canteens in two business sites including the head office, with the help of WWF Japan and supplier companies. This is the first fine in Japan that a corporation continuously provides sustainable seafood in its canteens.*5 We plan to increase the serving frequency and the number of canteens offering sustainable seafood, aiming to provide it for all of our canteens across Japan by 2020. By familiarizing of sustainable seafood and MSC- and ASC-certification, we promote a change in our employees' consumer behavior while contributing to SDG 14, "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources," and bringing biodiversity preservation into the main stream.

*2 Including supports for the preservation of the tidal flats in Ariake Sea (2001 to 2006) and the Yellow Sea Ecoregion (2007 to 2015).
*3 MSC certification is the Marine Stewardship Council's certification for sustainably managed fisheries. ASC certification is the Aquaculture Stewardship Council‘s certification for responsible fish farming with the minimum impact on the environment and society. Both certifications are given after strict assessment by an external certification body.
*4 Seafood certified for sustainable production (catching or farming), as well as management and traceability of processing, distribution, and sales.
*5 As MSC- and ASC-certified seafood.

Sustainable seafood menu
MSC certification mark
ASC certification mark

Participation in the Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity

Panasonic is a member corporation of the Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB), through which we understand the global biodiversity trends and risks, and reflect the insight gained to our business operations.

We also participate in the Biodiversity Working group formed by four electrical and electronic industry associations.*6 The working group has developed a database of the associations' member companies' biodiversity conservation activities linked with the Aichi Targets. This database, including our activities, was then linked with the Nijumaru Declaration operated under the Aichi Target achievement promotion project*7 to further disseminate biodiversity activities.

*6 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).
*7 Refers to the Nijumaru (double circle) Project sponsored by the Japan Committee for International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (UCIN) to achieve the Aichi Targets.

Revitalization of Satoyama*8 in Coordination with Citizens Groups

We carry at various activities for environmental preservation through the Panasonic ECO RELAY JAPAN (PERJ) together with our domestic business sites, labor union, and retiree group.

Unitopia Sasayama Satoyama Revitalization led by PERJ is an initiative aiming at cyclical use of Satoyama as it used to be in the 26.4 ha of premises in the Unitopia Sasayama Resort owned by the Panasonic Group Workers Unions Association. This activity was certified as a partner project of the Japan Committee for United Nations Decade on Biodiversity in recognition of our unique initiatives such as utilizing a private company's resort facility as a trial field for biodiversity preservation and environmental education, as well as organizing nature conservation activities and related education programs in collaboration with various stakeholders incliding as local authorities, corporations, universities, NPOs, and local farmers.

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

Certification Ceremony