Corporate Social Responsibility Information

Sustainable Forest Management

Sustainable Forest Management

Forests perform a variety of functions for the public good, such as storing and purifying water, preventing floods and landslides, absorbing and retaining CO2 which is linked to global warming, and preserving biodiversity.
On a basis of appropriate management, the Sumitomo Forestry Group advances sustainable forest management both in Japan and overseas to ensure that timber resources will be available in perpetuity while preserving the public functions of forests.

Forest Management and Timber Usage

Forest Management and Timber Usage

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Cultivation—Preserving the Public Functions of Forests Through Appropriate Management

The Sumitomo Forestry Group manages a total 46,443 hectares of its own forests in Japan and a total of around 230,000 hectares of plantation forests overseas. The Group works to maintain and enhance the public functions of these forests by carrying out underbrush clearing, pruning, thinning and other appropriate management required for them to grow.
Carbon stocks*1 of the Company-owned forests in Japan in fiscal 2015, the amount of immobilized carbon dioxide at beginning of fiscal 2016 were 12,399,034 t-CO2 (up by 214,013 t-CO2 from the previous fiscal year) whereas those of overseas plantations were 3,060,000 t-CO2.

  • *1. The amount of CO2 absorbed by forests and stored as carbon

Carbon Stock of Forests in Japan and Overseas

Carbon Stock of Forests in Japan and Overseas
  • *1 Domestic: Carbon stock as of the beginning of each fiscal year
  • *2 Overseas: Carbon stock as of the beginning of each calendar year

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Harvesting—Supplying Timber Products Through Systematic Harvesting

In fiscal 2015, the Sumitomo Forestry Group harvested 41,886 m3 of trees in Japan and 175,246 m3 of trees overseas based on medium- to long-term harvesting plans. Harvested trees are milled and processed before finally reaching the market as products such as housing and furniture. In the case of timber turned into structural members for housing, the products are used for several decades.
Trees retain CO2 as carbon even after they are turned into products. Using timber products and constructing wooden houses can therefore be likened to building forests in the city.
The total domestic carbon stocks in timber that was used in construction of the houses in fiscal 2015 reached 175,000 t-CO2.
The Sumitomo Forestry Group helps to increase carbon stocks even in cities by advancing MOCCA (wood use integration)*1 activities, thereby contributing to global warming prevention efforts.

Carbon stock of the timber used in the construction of houses in fiscal 2015

Carbon stock of the timber used in the construction of houses in fiscal 2015

  • *1. A collective term for Sumitomo Forestry Group activities that aim to expand the use of timber resources through the promotion of wood construction and wood materials in residential and non-residential buildings and structures.

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Usage—Wood Can Be Reused and Does Not Increase CO2

Even after being dismantled or at the end of their product life, wooden houses and timber products can be reused as fiberboard or other wood materials in construction or as raw material for making paper, and all that time it will continue to retain CO2. The CO2 released when timber is ultimately burned as a wood fuel is what has been absorbed from the atmosphere as trees grow, and therefore it does not represent an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere over the life cycle of the tree.

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Planting–Preparing for the Next Cycle

Harvesting and using timber alone will lead to a diminishing of forest resources. The Sumitomo Forestry Group therefore promotes sustainable forest management by always planting new trees after harvesting. In fiscal 2015, the Group planted approximately 84 hectares of forests in Japan and around 3,663 hectares overseas. The newly planted trees will absorb CO2 during their growth and retain it as carbon.

CSR Report 2016