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Biodiversity

KPI

  • Item

    Implementation rate of biodiversity conservation activities for ecosystems near production facilities

  • FY 2014 results

    (Consolidated) 46% (all domestic business locations, two locations overseas)

Responsible departments

Each business location

* Activities are conducted by each office, and the Biodiversity Committee that the CSR & Environmental Affairs Department serves as a secretariat for implementing company-wide policy discussions and activities.

Stance and target

Why is "Biodiversity" a critical issue to be addressed?
Explanation of the reason and background

We are engaged in a business that is dependent on natural capital (the gifts of nature) including natural rubber. In addition, many production facilities use large quantities of water for the cooling of equipment and emit heat and carbon dioxide. We recognize that the burden on the natural environment caused by these kinds of business activities is not unrelated to the loss of biodiversity currently proceeding on a global scale. We view efforts to preserve the links between the variety of life nature has blessed us with (= biodiversity) and to use natural resources in a sustainable manner and carry biodiversity on to future generations to be our responsibility.

Guidelines on Biodiversity

Basic Policy

We are running our business by heavily relying on the grace given by nature. We should pass on this rich nature to our future generations by addressing the preservation of biodiversity and utilization of sustainable biological resources through our business activities, whilst recognizing the fact that the "linking diversified lives equals to biodiversity", which is the basis of this grace, has been dwindling rapidly on a global scale lately.

Action Guidelines

  1. Recognition as a Management Issue
    Since Yokohama Rubber is directly using biological resources and conducting business activities that may affect biodiversity, we recognize the importance and risks towards the grace of nature. Therefore we will address the preservation of biodiversity from a long-term perspective.
  2. Participation by All Employees
    We will raise the awareness of our employees in regards to the grace of nature. All our employees will contribute to the preservation of biodiversity both at work and their local communities.
  3. Determine the Effect on Biodiversity and its Reduction
    We will determine the effect that our business activities may have on biodiversity, and shall thereby try to avoid or minimize such effect.
  4. Preservation of Biodiversity through the Supply Chain
    In order to preserve biodiversity, by understanding that it is important to be considerate as early as the stage of resource extraction, we shall contribute to the preservation of biodiversity at resource mining sites through cooperation with relevant personnel of the supply chain.
  5. Sustainable Usage of Biological Resources
    We will work on any sustainable usage of biological resources by gathering knowledge with regards to biodiversity, and also through technological development, innovation of design and production, or approaches to biodiversity in the value chain.
  6. Information Sharing and Communication
    We will work on the information gathering or social requirement as to preservation of biodiversity; we shall thereby disclose our activities and achievements proactively to facilitate dialogue and tie-ups with our stakeholders, such as customers, local communities, NGOs, and the government.

Vision (attainment goal) / target

In the preservation of biodiversity, we aim for harmony with nature and the development of employees with an awareness of the environment. We will conduct activities to that end through our business activities and social activities.
Yokohama Forever Forest project aims to plant 500,000 seedlings in both our domestic and overseas production sites and related department sites by FY 2017.

Yokohama Rubber's Environmental Activities Policy

Overview of Yokohama Rubber’s Activities to Conserve Biological Diversity

Measures for vision achievement

The locations of our offices differ in terms of geography, history, and culture. Because the living things that live at these locations also differ, we believe that it is necessary to assess the situation and establish issues for each office, and based on this we deploy our biodiversity conservation activities in steps. After gaining a general understanding of the environments surrounding offices including waters, green areas, nature reserves, residences, and plants, we conduct surveys on the water quality of rivers that our business activities have an effect on and monitoring of observed wildlife in the communities surrounding offices that have been surveyed, and set the organisms subject to assessment. Through monitoring throughout the year, we assess the impact of our business activities, determine which organisms are subject to preservation, conduct preservation activities, and release the results.
In water quality surveys, we measure water temperature, electrical conductivity, pH, etc., and in the monitoring of organisms, we conduct bird observation, vegetation surveys, and observation of aquatic organisms and insects.
Note that Step 3 activities have been completed for all domestic business sites, and activities are also gradually being deployed overseas.

  Water quality Aquatic life Vegetation Wild birds Insects
Mie Plant  
Mishima Plant      
Shinshiro Plant    
Onomichi Plant
Hiratsuka Factory  
Ibaraki Plant  
Nagano Plant  
YTMT    
YRTC    

Yokohama Forever Forest Project

A cumulative total of 369,000 trees have been planted as of the end of 2014 (achievement rate of 74%). In order to assess forest growth and environmental changes, we conduct surveys on the amount of growth (measurement of tree height and diameter at breast height) and surveys on wild birds observed within plant premises. From surveys on the growth amount of seedlings we have calculated the fixed quantity of carbon dioxide from the Yokohama Forever Forest Project and determined that the fixed quantity of carbon dioxide from the Yokohama Forever Forest Project is higher than that for a typical broadleaf forest. This is likely the effect of the mixed planting and close planting of various kinds of trees.
In wild bird surveys, 52 types of wild birds have been observed on plant premises up until now. From the third year of tree planting, we began to see brown-headed thrushes that have a penchant for forests. We believe this reflects how the Forever Forest is functioning as it should as a forest for wild birds. In addition, we observed the crowned willow warbler and the great reed warbler that is seen near water, which suggests that the Forever Forest is functioning as a stopover for wild birds as they move throughout their habitat.

Review of FY 2014 activities

Step 4 (conservation activities) have been reached for all domestic plants. In addition, at overseas production facilities Step 4 has been commenced for tire plants and natural rubber processing plants.

Expansion of biodiversity conservation activities in supply chain

As a survey of biodiversity conservation at the stage of raw procurement, we conducted biodiversity surveys at four types of natural rubber plantations in Indonesia and Thailand (large-scale plantations, traditional large plantations, traditional small plantations, and agroforestry plantations). As a result, an abundant variety of species was confirmed at plantations other than large-scale plantations, and we found that an environment was formed with diversity similar to in Japan.

Communication in local communities

A panel discussion on biodiversity was held for the first time at the 6th Think Eco Hiratsuka public event held at the Hiratsuka Factory. With the participation of many stakeholders (approximately 60 participants) including employees, local residents, and environment NPOs, efforts were made to report on the achievements of Yokohama Rubber related to biodiversity and the policy for activities going forward.

Case introduction

Mie Plant

Three teams continued biodiversity conservation activities as follows.

  • Tall team: Conducted water quality survey on rivers that factories discharge wastewater into (Hinokijiri River and Hotosu River) and aquatic life survey on organisms such as killifish
  • Black team: Measured the number of foreign species removed and native plants and conducted a loggerhead sea turtle egg laying survey at beaches (Ominato sea coast) near to where wastewater flows out
  • Short team: Created biotopes in rainwater ponds at plants, conducted water quality survey, biological survey, aquatic life survey, and water quality measurements

In addition, a large number of fish died when plant water discharge was suspended during summer holiday of 2013. As a result of pumping up groundwater at the time of suspended operations in 2014 in response to this, there were no noticeable fish deaths, suggesting that water discharge from plants is connected environmental conservation. Based on requests from Ise City, we have decided to let discharge water flow during long holidays going forward.

Shinshiro Plant

We continued to conduct water quality surveys and biological surveys on the Noda River and Kuroda River where factory wastewater is discharged to. In 2014, bullhead was found in the Noda River and Japanese river crab was found in the Kuroda River, proving that they are clean rivers. A fallow rice field was converted into a biotope at Yotsuya Senmaida.
On October 24, Plant Manager Shirokawa accounted the initiatives at the Shinshiro Plant at the "Role of the Local Community in Achieving Aichi Targets: Biodiversity Municipality Network Panel Discussion" sponsored by the Department of the Environment, Aichi Prefectural Government.

Mishima Plant

We continued to conduct water quality surveys and biological surveys on the Goten River where factory wastewater is discharged to. It was confirmed that electrical conductivity (EC) was lower downstream from the factory water discharge area than upstream, confirming that factory water discharge is contributing to improvements in water quality.

Nagano Plant

The Nagano Plant is located in an area that is highly natural compared to other plants. As there is almost no drainage other than rainwater, we believe the environmental impact of this plant is low compared to other plants. In biodiversity conservation activities at the Nagano Plant, we focus on both contributions to the local community and employee education. Goosefoot that is a quasi-endangered species in Nagano Prefecture and stonewort that is a category I endangered species were found during monitoring last year.

Ibaraki Plant

We continued to conduct water quality surveys and biological surveys on the Sonobe River where factory wastewater is discharged to. In biological surveys we studied vegetation, aquatic life, and birds. Because the Sonobe River is used as an agricultural irrigation water, we take sufficient care towards the quality of discharge water. Because electrical conductivity is lower and transparency is higher at the plant water discharge area than upstream, we believe that plant wastewater management is sufficient. Appasus that is a quasi-endangered species in Ibaraki Prefecture was found in the aquatic life survey.

YTMT

YTMT, a tire plant in Thailand, is located within an industrial park. Because water intake and discharge is centrally managed at industrial parks unlike the plants in Japan, it is not possible to confirm the impact of individual plants on water intake and discharge areas. For this reason, we monitor birds and insects in order to assess the green areas (Forever Forests and biotopes) on plant premises. We also secure habitats for local species and conduct environmental education for employees through these activities.

YTRC

YTRC is located in Surat Thani Province, Thailand and is the only natural rubber processing plant in the Yokohama Rubber Group. While large volumes of water are used in the natural rubber processing process, we work to effectively use water resources through 100%. We discovered from the result of the surveys that anti-flood ponds on the premises have fulfilled the role of a wand for the adjacent Tapi River. For this reason, we have conducted regular monitoring of aquatic life (fish) and water quality since November 2014. For the preservation of local ecosystems going forward, we would like to confirm these survey results and advance with dialogs with neighboring residents.

* Wand: A topographic feature that is connected with the main body of the river but that forms a pond-like shape as it is surrounded by river structures. If provides a stable habitat for aquatic life such as fish, and also serves as a breeding place for a variety of vegetation.

Issues and future improvement measures

Up until now, activities have focused on assessing the species that live in areas affected by the business activities of the Yokohama Rubber Group. In the future, we will expand activities to overseas business locations, and maintain and improve biodiversity in areas where our businesses are located to lead to sustainable operations.
Because biodiversity is a concept that people in general are still not familiar with, we will enable employees to deepen their understanding of the importance of biodiversity conservation through participation in monitoring activities and conservation activities and actively communicate information to local communities to provide a better understanding of our efforts.