Creating a society in tune with nature

Preserving Biodiversity at Business Sites

Aiming for a Higher Level of Activities

The Mitsubishi Electric Group has long promoted "Improving the Quality of Greenery" at all of its business sites. The aim is to encourage all employees to recognize biodiversity-related issues as personally relevant issues and to act proactively and voluntarily. In recent years, as our efforts have become more widespread, we have shifted toward creating a mechanism to continuously upgrade our activities.

Diverse benefits we receive from biodiversity are called Ecosystem Services and are categorized as follows:

  • Provisioning Services, which provide food and resources;
  • Regulating Services, which regulate the climate;
  • Cultural Services, such as the healing effects of the natural landscape;
  • Supporting Services, such as soil formation.

The preserving biodiversity is vital for the continued existence of human beings and is the essence of environmental issues.

Since it takes many years to maintain and improve biodiversity, steady and continuous efforts are required. Therefore, we will continue to promote biodiversity initiatives as part of our business activities, along with other issues such as achieving the Aichi Targets*1 and contributing to the SDGs*2.

Through these efforts, we hope to further contribute to the preservation of the local ecosystem and earn the trust and appreciation of local communities, which will lead to further boosting our corporate value.

  1. *1 Aichi Targets: Global targets adopted at the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in October 2010.
  2. *2 SDGs: (Sustainable Development Goals)
    Sustainable Development Goals through 2030, included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.
diagram: Activities Contributing to Local Ecosystems

Improving the Quality of Greenery in Line with Three Courses of Action

The Mitsubishi Electric Group has set forth three courses of action as guidelines for all business sites. They are: (1) reducing negative impact on living creatures, (2) aiming for a richer symbiosis with other living creatures, and (3) restoring the relationship between employees and nature in the working environment. At each business site, action plans provide for the preservation of local indigenous species, control of alien species, and development of green space in consideration of the surrounding ecosystem, to ensure these initiatives are steadily addressed in all businesses.

Three Courses of Action

Courses of Action Examples
A. Reducing negative impact on living creatures 1. Control development pressure and alien species pressure* (1) Assessment of impacts on living creatures
(2) Alien species control
2. Call attention to and preserve rare species and endemic species (1) Disclosure of list of living creatures on premises
(2) Preservation of rare species and endemic species
(3) Cooperation in regards to conse
3. Manage pesticides, preserve greenery and natural resources (1) Control the killing/harming of living creatures
(2) Consideration to natural resources, such as water and soil
B. Aiming for more fruitful symbiosis with other living creatures 4. Set up functional greenery (1) System to manage green space
(2) Management of land used by flying organisms
(3) Development of priority land for greenery and living creatures
(4) Provision of continuity of greenery with areas surrounding business sites
(5) Contribution to biodiversity preservation activities in areas surrounding business sites
5. Break away from agricultural orientations such as simplifying/specifying greenery (1) Diversification/multi-stratification of vegetation
(2) Management of greenery that accords with the characteristics of plants, etc.
(3) Contribution/consideration to regions
C. Restoring the relationship between employees and nature in the working environment 6. Proactively utilize ecosystem services in the workplace (break rooms, individual floors) (1) Provision and utilization of opportunities for cultural services
(2) Provision and utilization of opportunities for supply services
7. Change situation from everyone being disinterested and unrelated to everyone being involved (1) Education for understanding and promoting action
(2) Creation of relationships through the workplace or work duties
  • * Activities are carried out pursuant to the regulation on raising, planting, storing, carrying, or other handling of specified IAS in the Invasive Alien Species Act.

Promoting Harmonious Coexisting in Nature at Our Business Sites by Initiating Studies on Living Creatures

Our lives are supported by Ecosystem Services* based on biodiversity, such as food and water supplies, climate stability, etc. In order to maintain this way of life, the Mitsubishi Electric Group established the Action Guidelines for Biodiversity in May 2010. As a measure to conserve biodiversity at our business sites, we have established three courses of activities at all our business sites: reducing negative impacts on living creatures; aiming for more fruitful symbiosis with other living creatures; and restoring the relationship between employees and nature while working. By promoting Improving the Quality of Greenery activities at each of our business sites, we are working to expedite employees' understanding of and participation in the activities, thereby contributing to the surrounding community and developing human resources who will act for the global community.

  • * Ecosystem Services are generally classified into four categories: Provisioning Services, Regulating Services, Cultural Services, and Supporting Services (e.g., UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment).
diagram: Expansion of Activities in Japan
photo: Shizuoka Works

In recent years, most of the land within a one-kilometer radius of Shizuoka Works has become factories and residential areas, and there is increasingly less green land. However, away from Shizuoka Works, there remain lush natural areas, such as Mt. Udoyama on the east side and Mt. Yatsuyama and Mt. Yahatayama on the west side, with abundant greenery, which are homes to birds and insects.

In light of this environment, we are working on developing More Accessible Green Space, which connects fragmented greenery separated by urban areas like steppingstones. Living creatures temporarily use this green space, making it easier for them to come to and from the green areas. Employees observe the status of living creatures on the premises daily and measure the effectiveness of their efforts to make further improvements.

In addition, Shizuoka Works introduces on its intranet the "More Accessible Green Space" and living creatures that are observed on the premises and focuses on organizing events to familiarize visitors with living creatures. We are actively disseminating information to employees and are continuing our efforts to stimulate interest in living creatures.

In the Itami area, the first study was conducted in fiscal 2017 to assess living creatures inhabiting the area, and based on the results, we are focusing on improving the environment to make it more accessible for local native dragonflies and other insects, aquatic organisms and plants.
A biotope was installed near the main gate of the Itami area in fiscal 2020. Although small in scale, it is designed to be a breeding ground for dragonflies and is also characterized by the planting of plants native to the area. Since then we have been carrying out maintenance and management activities such as weeding while regularly monitoring the types of living creatures that come to the area. These management activities are carried out in cooperation with each business site on the premises, and also include employee-participation activities that serve as study sessions and are therefore useful for educating and raising awareness-raising.

In fiscal 2021, we decided on the nickname "Itatope" after an internal nickname competition to make it more familiar to the public.
We are also continuing our efforts to conserve the rare species of the ritha tree* found on the premises by growing some of the young trees in pots and transplanting them to other places on the premises.

  • * Rank C on the Hyogo Prefecture Red List 2010
  • photo: Itatope maintenance and management activities

    Itatope maintenance and management activities

  • photo: Transplanted ritha tree

    Transplanted ritha tree

photo: Development of biotope

At the Power Distribution Systems Center, a total of four seasonal studies have been conducted to investigate living creatures since February 2016. Based on these results, through trial and error, we have been focusing on creating an environment with an aim of coexisting with living creatures.

In January 2017, employees took on the challenge of creating a small-scale biotope. Based on the results, we commissioned a specialist to create a new biotope. This biotope is intended to provide a place for wild birds and other animals to rest, and its location has been designed in such a way that makes it possible to observe them from the new production building completed in February 2018. We have also been monitoring the progress of the project by conducting additional studies for birds in March 2020 and dragonflies in September 2020.

In addition to these efforts, we have been working to conserve endangered species and create opportunities for employees and local children to learn about living creatures.

Quantitative Assessment Based on the Biodiversity Guidelines (Check Sheet)

In March 2020, Mitsubishi Electric formulated the "Biodiversity Guidelines (Check Sheet)" to quantitatively assess the status of biodiversity initiatives at its business sites and steadily improve activities for preserving biodiversity. The guidelines promote the quantitative assessment of the implementation level of activities according to 186 promotional items divided into 5 mandatory items for all business sites and 7 areas (medium items) based on the above-mentioned "Courses of Actions." This check sheet is to be used by personnel in charge at each business site to self-assess the status of initiatives and identify strengths and issues at the implementation level.

5 mandatory items for all business sites

- A person in charge, the department in charge, and specific operations for promoting biodiversity initiatives have been identified.
- There is a medium-term plan for conducting biodiversity preservation activities.
- Biological surveys are conducted.
- Environmental education on biodiversity is provided every year.
- Feedback is given regarding the medium-term plan.

Assessment Results for Fiscal 2023

text: Improvement rate in fiscal 2022

We defined the ratio of the score to the base year as the improvement rate* and evaluated the level of implementation of activities in each field in fiscal 2023. As a result, the company-wide average for each field is shown in the radar chart below, and the average improvement rate for all fields increased from 1.28 in fiscal 2022 to 1.35.

As with the previous year, improvement rates increased in the three areas of 1. Control development pressure and alien species pressure, 3. Manage the impact of pesticides, etc., and 5. Break away from industrial perspectives that tend to simplify or specify the purpose of green spaces. This is regarded as the result of each business site being aware of these fields as ongoing challenges and addressing them as important action items for biodiversity preservation. Improvement was seen in other areas as well, and particularly in 7. Change the situation from everyone being disinterested and indifferent to everyone being involved, which increased 0.08 points from the previous fiscal year. It is thought that the efforts made by each business site to promote education and disseminate information to enhance the visibility of biodiversity preservation activities led to a gradual awareness of the importance of the activities among employees. Using the Biodiversity Guidelines, we will continue our efforts to revitalize and elevate our biodiversity preservation activities to an even higher level.

  • * Improvement rate is calculated by dividing the score of the year being evaluated by the score of the base year, with fiscal 2020 as the base year.
graph: Improvement rate in fiscal 2022 (Seven areas)