Corporate Social Responsibility Information

Contributing to the Reduction of Greenhouse
Gases through Our Business

Wood Biomass Power Generation Business

The Sumitomo Forestry Group operates wood biomass power generation facilities which are fueled by recycled chips made by using scrap timber primarily left over from construction and woodchips made by using previously unutilized wood left over from logging.
The CO2 released as a consequence of burning the woodchips had previously been absorbed from the atmosphere via photosynthesis as the trees grew. Therefore, when viewed over the entire life cycle of the trees, combusting the woodchips does not result in an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. For this reason, the Group has been engaged in wood biomass power generation as a new type of business that contributes greatly to the advancement of forestry, such as the effective use of wood, reductions in CO2 emissions and the maintenance of local forest environments.

Facilities at the Kawasaki Biomass Power Plant

Facilities at the Kawasaki Biomass Power Plant

Throughout fiscal 2015, the Group has prepared Mombetsu, Tomakomai, and Hachinohe Biomass Power Plants for the start of their operations. Together with its already operational Kawasaki Biomass Power Plant to the Group participates in total four wood biomass power generation businesses in Japan. Drawing on its past experience in the wood biomass power generation business, the Group will continue to expand business operations utilizing renewable energy suited to local conditions and other requirements.

The Group’s Wood Biomass Power Generation Business
Business Location Power generation capacity Start of operations Main features
Kawasaki Biomass Power Generation Business (Joint investment with Sumitomo Joint Electric Power Co., Ltd. and Fuluhashi EPO Corporation) Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture 33MW February 2011
  • Largest power generation facility in Japan to burn biomass exclusively
  • Utilizes recycled chips produced by using construction debris and waste pallets from Tokyo and surrounding suburbs, as well as thinnings and pruned branches
  • Equipped with environmental mechanisms, such as flue gas desulfurization equipment, an exhaust gas denitrizer and a bag filter, the urban-oriented biomass power generation facility clears Kawasaki City’s strict environmental standards
Mombetsu Biomass Power Generation Business (Joint investment with Sumitomo Joint Electric Power Co., Ltd.) Mombetsu City, Hokkaido 50MW December 2016 (scheduled)
  • Thinnings, wood left over from logging and other materials are procured from within a 75km radius of the power plant and turned into chips at an adjacent plant before being used as fuel
  • Will also use palm kernel shell, plus some coal as an auxiliary fuel
Tomakomai Biomass Power Generation Business (Joint investment with Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Iwakura Corporation and Hokkaido Gas Co., Ltd.) Tomakomai City, Hokkaido 5.9MW December 2016 (scheduled)
  • Will use 100% of unused forest materials from Hokkaido in wood chips
Hachinohe Biomass Power Generation Business (Joint investment with Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co., Ltd. and East Japan Railway Company) Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture Approx. 12.4MW December 2017 (scheduled)
  • Thinnings from the Sanpachi-Kamikita-Shimokita region of Aomori Prefecture, timber offcuts, and railway forest thinnings from the nearby railway lines are gathered and used as the main source of fuel
  • Will also use some palm kernel shell

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Solar Power Generation Business

In November 2013, Sumitomo Forestry launched operations at an 876 kW solar power generation facility that it had constructed in Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture. In fiscal 2015, the facility generated about 2,680 MWh with 3,430 kW total generation capacity as a result of the facility expansion.
The Company gives consideration to mitigating the environmental impact of the power generation facility and have installed wooden mounting frames that are mainly made of domestically produced Japanese cedar.

Solar panels and environmentally friendly wooden frames

Solar panels and environmentally friendly wooden frames

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Contributing to Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Utilizing Forest Management and Reforestation Know-How

The Sumitomo Forestry Group applies its expertise in areas such as sustainable forest management and reforestation to projects that contribute to the reduction or absorption of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Group will make positive efforts to advancing projects that comply with new systems, such as REDD+,*1 which is currently under consideration by the United Nations, and the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), which is being proposed for introduction by the Japanese Government, as well as to gathering knowledge required for those projects.

  • *1. The developed version of REDD, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. The concept "REDD+" includes, besides that of REDD, the positive emission reduction of GHGs through sustainable management and conservation of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

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Feasibility Studies for Overseas Projects to Regenerate Forests and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sumitomo Forestry is conducting feasibility studies of projects designed to reduce and inhibit GHG emissions through the preservation and regeneration of forests that are facing devastation and annihilation in Vietnam and Indonesia. These are highly promising projects that should contribute to ongoing deliberation of REDD+ and the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).

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Investigating New Mechanisms for Regeneration of Forests and Biomass Power Generation in Vietnam

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment has contracted the Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC) to implement a Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) feasibility study program, and in fiscal 2013, Sumitomo Forestry was awarded a contract to conduct a study. Since then, the Company has conducted a feasibility study for a project in Dien Bien Province, northwestern Vietnam that would preserve and regenerate forests that had been degraded due to slash-and-burn cultivation, improve the livelihoods of local residents, and reduce GHG emissions through biomass power generation using timber supplied from those sustainable forests.
The region is vital as a water source with the area being home to a number of dams used for power generation. It is also one of Vietnam’s poorest regions. The project will contribute to environmental conservation and sustainable community development, and will also lead to establishment of a bilateral credit mechanism whereby any reductions achieved through the business are counted as Japan’s reductions.
In fiscal 2015, the Company started offering a coaching program on coffee farming and process techniques, as a support that can generate cash income. Coffee had been grown at a small scale in the region in the past although local farmers lacked know-hows and techniques. The coaching program is expected to have contributed to yield increase and quality improvement of the coffee produced at the farm. The Company will continue to conduct studies while coordinating and cooperating with Japanese Government officials, government authorities in Vietnam, Vietnam Forestry University, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), ASKUL Corporation.

Demonstration farm in Vietnam for coffee farming technical training

Demonstration farm in Vietnam for coffee farming technical training

Study being conducted in Vietnam

Study being conducted in Vietnam

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Measures to Regenerate Forests in Indonesian Peatlands

Indonesia has much peatland, where large volumes of carbon have accumulated. However, as the land dries due to drainage of water to develop the land for agriculture, decomposition by micro-organisms progresses and releases the stored carbon into the atmosphere as CO2. The risk of dried peatland catching fire is high, and if a fire did break out, it would result in a large volume of CO2 emissions.
On the other hand, if degraded peatland especially in the vicinity of villages can be turned into agroforests or otherwise used properly, it is likely that this could inhibit fires from breaking out, and consequently prevent any emissions of CO2 attributable to fire.
Therefore, since fiscal 2012, in the degraded peatlands of Central Kalimantan, in collaboration with Hokkaido University and the local University of Palangka Raya, Sumitomo Forestry has been engaged in developing revegetation methods that incorporate considerations for local residents and the local economy. In cooperation with the Mitsubishi Research Institute, this project to establish new mechanisms that contribute to global warming mitigation through the preservation and appropriate use of peatland has been selected in the FY2014 Program to Reduce Global Warming Emissions from Non-Energy Related Activity Overseas, which is organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

Forestation assessment in Indonesia

Forestation assessment in Indonesia

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Participation in the Japan Public-Private Platform for REDD+

The Japan Public-Private Platform for REDD+ was established in November 2014 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, an independent administrative corporation. Sumitomo Forestry joined the platform as a member of the Executive Committee, in a move to conserve forests in developing nations and to contribute to sustainable development such as mitigating climate change, preserving biodiversity and reducing poverty. The aim of the platform is to promote REDD+ activities, and moving forward, by expanding its circle of activities, it will contribute to global warming countermeasures through public-private collaboration.

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CSR Report 2016