Declaration of Biodiversity and Biodiversity Action Guidelines

Sumitomo Forestry established its policy on Biodiversity Conservation in Company-owned Forests in Japan in fiscal 2006, and its Timber Procurement Philosophy and Policy in fiscal 2007. The Company also revised its Environmental Policies in fiscal 2007 to incorporate biodiversity considerations. Then in March 2012, the Sumitomo Forestry Group established its Declaration of Biodiversity, setting out the Sumitomo Forestry Group's understanding of and stance on biodiversity; Biodiversity Action Guidelines, specifying an internal set of guidelines; and Biodiversity Long-Term Targets as specific goals of activity.

In July 2015, the Group initiated the Sumitomo Forestry Group Environmental Policy, bringing together the Environmental Philosophy*, the Environmental Policies, the Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration of Biodiversity, and the Sumitomo Forestry Group's Biodiversity Action Guidelines. Therefore, the efforts in biodiversity are also operated based on the policies integrated in the Sumitomo Forestry Group Environmental Policy.

* The Sumitomo Forestry Group formulated the Environmental Philosophy in 1994 and the Environmental Policies in 2000.

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Long-Term Biodiversity Targets

As well as advancing biodiversity conservation initiatives, the Group established its Long-Term Biodiversity Targets in March 2012 as a way of contributing to the international community in respect to attainment of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) in 2010. Rough schedules for achieving each of the long-term targets were put in place covering the period up until 2020 and served as a guideline for advancing initiatives.


The Sumitomo Forestry Group’s Long-term Biodiversity Targets and Overall Results

[The Sumitomo Forestry Group’s Long-term Biodiversity Targets (summary)]
Established March 2012 Revised April 2017
Overall Results
Group-wide Targets
  1. (Aim to achieve sustainable forests)
    In all timber-related businesses, from upstream to downstream, we will work to prevent a reduction in forest areas and pursue forest sustainability.
    • We will strive to regenerate forests through reforestation and natural regeneration and logging a planned, sustainable manner that takes into account the forest’s ability to grow.
In Japan, we maintain a 100% forest certification rate for company-owned forests, formulated forest management plans every five years that include the forest management entrusted from outside of company-owned forests, received certifications from The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and have been strategically implementing operations. In forest management overseas, we replanted all of the cut-over areas toward reforestation and have been executing planned sustainable harvesting.
  • We will increase the procurement and use of sustainable timber, such as forest certified timber, plantation forest timber and Japanese timber.
In May 2019, we formulated an action plan to redefine the meaning of “sustainable timber and timber products” in light of growing concerns about deforestation as a factor of climate change since 2015. We migrate any timber or timber products not satisfying this new definition to alternative woods and gradually stop handling those items with the goal of procuring 100% sustainable timber and timber products by the end of fiscal 2021.
  • We will promote the efficient use as well as the recycling and reuse of timber.
Expanding the biomass power generation business which uses scrap wood and unused forest materials as main fuel, and in turn helps cascaded use of timber as well as circular and effective use of forest resources, we have planned and invested in six plants (power generation capacity of 252 MW) as of 2020 since our first venture in one plant in 2012 (power generation capacity of 33 MW).
  1. (Increase the amount of CO2 absorbed by and sequestered in forests and timber)
    By cultivating healthy forests and promoting the use of timber through the greater use of timber construction materials and the construction of wooden buildings, we will strive to increase the amount of CO2 absorbed by and sequestered in forests and timber to contribute to the protection of biodiversity and the alleviation of climate change.
In April 2012, the Wood Promotion Office (currently the Construction Market Development Department) began to be fully engaged in wood construction initiatives for medium- to large-scale buildings. Sumitomo Forestry entered into a business and capital alliance with Kumagai Gumi in November 2017 and welcomed Cohnan Kensetsu as a Group company in November 2020. In this way, we have been expanding the wood construction business for medium- to large-scale structures. The carbon stock in fiscal 2012 was 11,000 thousand t-CO2 for forests in Japan, 3,790 thousand t-CO2 for forests overseas and 203 thousand t-CO2 per year for housing in Japan. In fiscal 2020, it was 13,480 thousand t-CO2 for forests in Japan, 10,140 thousand t-CO2 for forests overseas and 185 thousand t-CO2 for housing and medium- to large-scale wooden buildings in Japan.
Individual targets
  1. (Forests)
    We will promote forest management that regenerates, maintains and increases biodiversity.
    • We will carry out zoning to protect ecosystems and the habitats of living creatures.
Our forest management in Japan and Indonesia clearly zones areas to protect the ecosystem and habitats of living creatures using names such as environmental forest or protected forest. Our forest management in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand manages areas not designated as plantation forest as natural forest while conducting substantial zoning.
  • We will ensure that in terms of area, 20% or more of our Company-owned forests in Japan are environment forests that emphasize environmental conservation.
Environmental forests comprise 35.8% of our Company-owned forests in Japan excluding forest roads and other amenities, which is well above our target of 20%. Our overseas forest management has a 68.0% ratio of protected and other non-commercial forest area. (However, this includes forest roads, seedling farms and other areas for which the area is not strictly measured.)
  • We will maintain that 100% Company-owned forests remain forest-certified.
Our Company-owned forests have sustained a 100% rate of certification thanks to efforts such as the acquisition of forest certifications the year following any purchases of new forests. In addition, we have acquired certifications overseas for 174,000 ha (75.3%) of 231,000 ha of forest area under our management.
  • We will maintain and increase biodiversity at our operation sites based on results of our biodiversity monitoring of Company-owned forests in Japan.
We conducted monitoring surveys of Company-owned forests every year until fiscal 2016 to gain a consistent assessment of the impact on birds and mammals before and after forest work (clear cutting). The deer population grew dramatically in forests throughout Japan, disrupting the equilibrium of the ecosystem, harming biodiversity due to vegetation damage, and worsening soil runoff. Therefore, currently we strive to conserve biodiversity by identifying living conditions and moving patterns of the deer as well as trapping and ridding the deer in Company-owned forests.
  • We will conduct operations at plantation forests overseas while considering how best to contribute to local communities, economies and education.
In plantation forests managed overseas, we view sustainable development of local communities as a vital managerial challenge, and thereby, undertake activities that meet the needs of local residents in the areas through education, medicine and hygiene, infrastructure development, agriculture, and livelihood enhancement. Sumitomo Forestry worked to set up water purification equipment in villages and provides basic educational support by building local elementary schools and deploying teachers where facilities and instructors are lacking in addition to medical support which includes free examinations for neighboring residents.
  1. (Products)
    We will provide products and services that take into account biodiversity, such as forest-certification and products and services that have undergone environmental assessment.
We have redefined the meaning of sustainable timber and timber products and have set a target for a 100% procurement rate of sustainable timber and timber products by the end of fiscal 2021. At the same time, Sumitomo Forestry is still considering how to provide the products and services associated with environmental evaluations which it could not by 2020.
  1. (Design)
    We will work to develop homes and communities that are in harmony with the natural environment and their surrounding urban landscapes.
We always design residential properties taking into consideration the adjacent land and buildings. In the development of detached housing complexes, we have acquired the first Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community (ABINC) certification under the detached housing complex and city area category.
  1. (Construction)
    We will manage and minimize the generation of waste by promoting a zero-emissions policy in building and construction.
Our recycling rate in building and construction was 86.8% for new housing construction in 2011. By fiscal 2020, we successfully increased it to 95.2%. (The definition for zero emissions is a recycling rate of at least 98%, which is our 2021 target.) The recycling rate in our remodeling and renovation business beyond our target during this term was 72.3% for fiscal 2020 with a 99.0% recycling rate during demolition work.
  1. (Greening)
    We will be considerate to the surrounding ecosystems and tree species and actively cultivate native species.
We have worked to expand the active promotion for the planting of native species in our work on housing exterior and greening for new detached houses to environmental greening business and greening material marketing fields. We have actively worked with the ABINC certification for biodiversity established in December 2013 and acquired the first certification under the detached housing complex and city area category in March 2018.
  1. (Plants)
    We will manage and minimize pollutants, waste and noise, and reduce their impact on biodiversity.
We have continually achieved zero waste emissions since 2009 at our manufacturing plants in Japan. Our overseas manufacturing plants also achieved zero emissions by reaching a total recycling rate of 98.4%. We properly manage pollutants, noise and other regulatory values and quickly notify the government of anything over the regulatory value while planning and taking corrective actions.
  1. (Public relations)
    We will actively communicate the importance of biodiversity to all stakeholders, including customers, business partners, and local communities.
Public information on biodiversity is not as abundant as it once was since the adoption of Aichi Biodiversity Targets at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) in 2010 due to factors such as a declining social interest in biodiversity as interest in natural assets as a whole and climate change crisis grow. We are looking into ways to better spread this information in the future in accordance to post-Aichi targets.
  1. (Research)
    We will gather the latest information and develop conservation technologies to implement biodiversity initiatives.
We have developed and verified technologies related to biodiversity. More specifically, we developed greening recovery technologies for old mining sites, and mats resembling forest floor vegetation that consider the local environment and limit management costs, and conducted tests into the genetic diversity of plantation seedlings in our Company-owned plantations.
  1. (Social contribution)
    We will protect trees that are historically and culturally important and also preserve their genetic material.
In addition to cutting, grafting and other conventional techniques, we also actively used tissue cultures and protected the DNA of cherry blossom and other precious trees throughout Japan. Since 2015, we have succeeded in propagating plum and pine trees (coniferous trees) through tissue cultures while expanding the scope of tree species to protect.

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Company Structure for Biodiversity Conservation

In accordance with our environmental management structure, the Representative Director and President is the person in charge of Sumitomo Forestry Group's biodiversity conservation initiatives, and the Executive Officer in charge of the Sustainability and the General Manager of the Sustainability Department manage Sumitomo Forestry Group company activities.

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Commitment to Protected Areas

To manufacture and secure timber resources, Sumitomo Forestry owns or manages many forests both in Japan and overseas. None of these forests is located in areas designated as world heritage sites. Furthermore, we have not and will not operate in areas designated as world natural heritage sites. Regardless of land ownership, national parks in Japan, which has a small land area, operate under the Regional Natural Park System and many national parks include private property. A portion of Sumitomo Forestry's Company-owned forests are located inside national park areas, and as is the case for other areas designated as protected forests or other, we operate in strict compliance with all legal regulations.

Furthermore, in terms of risk assessment, in areas determined to be important from a biodiversity perspective, we not only strictly adhere to all legal regulations, also work to mitigate our impact through reevaluation, minimization, revitalization, offsetting and other efforts.

We manage approximately 48,000 hectares of Company-owned forests in Japan and approximately 230,000 hectares of forests overseas. These managed forests are categorized as environmental forests, commercial forests and other. Both in Japan and overseas, a nature conservation area is created according to its categorization as an environmental forest or protected forest and operations in such areas are not permitted in principle.

However, the borders of these lands set by the government do not always match the boundaries of the ecosystem. Affiliated companies PT. Wana Subur Lestari (WSL) and PT. Mayangkara Tanaman Industri (MTI) conducted thorough animal and plant surveys that included conservation forest neighboring areas under governmental management before defining preservation areas and business areas. WSL and MTI also worked with local organizations to build a conservation network that defines a net of green corridors to prevent closed off islands which would isolate the regions where orangutans, long-nose monkeys and other rare flora and fauna live. These protected areas account for over 20% of our operating land, higher than the 17% goal for protected regions set out in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Managed Area of WSL/MTI/KMF

Managed Area of WSL/MTI/KMF

Conservation Network

Conservation Network

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Stakeholder's Evaluation of Initiatives

The concept and specific initiatives of the conservation network advocated by WSL and MTI have attracted attention both in Japan and overseas as unprecedented efforts worldwide. At the Indonesian Pavilion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) held in Madrid, Spain in 2019, representatives from international organizations, researchers, and non-profit organizations highly praised our presentation of these initiatives as a representative of private organization.

In addition, in our urban greening business, we obtain third-party evaluations by actively encouraging our customers to register for “Ikimono Kyozon Jigyousho®” certification set by the Association for Business Innovation in Harmony with Nature and Community (ABINC) or the Social and Environmental Green Evaluation System (SEGES) green certification implemented by the Organization for Landscape and Urban Green Infrastructure.

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Support of Related Initiatives and Cooperation with Organizations

Sumitomo Forestry participates in many organizations that are actively involved in biodiversity conservation. The chairman of Sumitomo Forestry serves as vice chairman of the Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation, made up of Keidanren member companies. In addition, employees are temporarily assigned to serve as secretariat members* and committee members are dispatched to the planning task force, which is in charge of operations. In June 2020, Sumitomo Forestry committed to the Keidanren Declaration of Biodiversity and Action Policy (Revised Edition) proposed by the Keidanren Declaration on Biodiversity Initiative. We also participate in the Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB), made up of companies passionate about biodiversity, and conduct joint research on corporate biodiversity initiatives in subcommittee meetings.

In the Double 20 Project in Japan to achieve the targets for Aichi, we have registered three projects as of June 2016; The Sumitomo Forestry Group's Biodiversity Long-term Targets, Sumitomo Forestry-owned Forest Operations Friendly to Biodiversity, and the Environmental Education Program at Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori Project. These three projects are highly praised for many reasons that include the creation of many independent links, content with a great impact that utilizes the features of the company in its efforts and for the ripple effects to related industries that can be expected thanks to the relationship outlined with Aichi targets. In March 2017, these projects were bundled and recognized as a business tie-up with the Japan Committee for United Nations Development Business (UNDB-J; 10th).

Sumitomo Forestry Landscaping Co., Ltd. is actively striving toward the registration of “Ikimono Kyozon Jigyousho®” certification for Sustainable Business Sites promoted by the Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community (ABINC) and the SEGES Green Certification promoted by the Organization for Landscape and urban Green Infrastructure for properties undertaken with the environmental greening business. Moreover, the Chief Corporate Advisor of Sumitomo Forestry acts as the chairman of the Organization for Landscape and Urban Green Infrastructure.

* Initiatives implemented up to fiscal 2019.

Participation in Drafting the Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement in Biodiversity

The Ministry of the Environment drafted the Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement in Biodiversity (Ver. 1) in 2009 for business proprietors as a means to advance biodiversity conservation and sustainable use with recognition that corporate activities play a vital role in those efforts. Sumitomo Forestry was involved in drafting these guidelines as a member of the investigative committee.

The Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement in Biodiversity brings together basic information and approaches necessary to conserve biodiversity and reduce loss in a way that is easy for private sector organizations not yet addressing biodiversity issues to understand while also offering a means for business proprietors already engaged in efforts to play an even more effective role.

In December 2017, the second version was released in light of growing interests and expectations about conserving biodiversity driven by the SDGs and other international targets. These guidelines presented the sustainable timber procurement of Sumitomo Forestry as one excellent example initiative.

Signing of Commitment to the Business for Nature's Call to Action

Business for Nature is a global business coalition founded in July 2019 for the purpose of bringing together the voices of business and conservation organizations and forward-thinking companies as one to amplify their call to governments . In May 2020, the Coalition devised a Call to Action to encourage the adoption of legislation to reverse nature loss in this decade when formulating the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Sumitomo Forestry signed its commitment to the Call to Action in September 2020.

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Sustainability Report