Creating a society in tune with nature

Preserving Biodiversity at Business Sites

Aiming for a Higher Level of Activities

The Mitsubishi Electric Group engages in initiatives that give specific consideration to all species of living creatures. These initiatives include the Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom, which is aimed at developing environmental awareness, the Satoyama Woodland Preservation Project, which is implemented as a social contribution activity, and measures to reduce the impacts of development pressure*1 and alien species pressure*2 on ecosystems. As the basis of these initiatives, we have been promoting a biodiversity preservation policy at business sites since fiscal 2015, with a focus on improving the quality of greenery within the premises of all business sites. The policy aims for all employees to make a direct contribution to regional/urban ecosystems in areas around their site by working to preserve biodiversity at their own workplace. It also encourages employees to take positive and voluntary action by regarding biodiversity as a personally relevant issue.

As these initiatives have spread to a certain extent, in fiscal 2020, we embarked on establishing a structure to consistently step up our activities. In March 2020, an internal technical committee formulated the Biodiversity Guidelines (a check sheet) so that the implementation level of activities and the quality of greenery at each business site could be assessed in numbers. In the future, by managing plans (i.e., setting targets and monitoring their degree of achievement) across our business sites, we will continue to steadily engage in ecosystem improvement activities over the long term.

  1. *1 Development pressure: An action resulting in the destruction of habitats. The construction of a new business site and development (including that in the supply chain) intended to extract natural resources are deemed as such behaviors. One such example is when the use of water by operations affects the surrounding area, the source of water, and subsequently the habitats of living creatures.
  2. *2 Alien species pressure: When ditches, greenery at the side of buildings, and hedges are created, non-native species of insects, vegetation, etc. may be introduced. The unintentional transfer of living creatures could pose a threat to the habitats of indigenous species or trigger genetic pollution.

Improving Enterprise Value through a Long-term Commitment to Environmental Initiatives

The destruction of the global ecosystem by human activities is the essence of environmental issues. Biodiversity preservation is essential for the continued existence of us human beings, and should be prioritized in all human activities. This is now a prevalent belief, as also clearly expressed in the Aichi Target and the National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan 2012‒2020. As it takes many years to maintain and enhance biodiversity, steady and continuous efforts are required over the long term. The Mitsubishi Electric Group will continue to make a constant contribution to improving the quality of regional ecosystems, and by earning respect and trust from local communities through these initiatives, we will strive to improve our corporate value.

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.

Expansion of Activities in Japan

In Japan, we initiated the Living Creatures Studies program in 2014. The aim of this program is to understand the conditions surrounding the habitats of living creatures at our business sites, doing so with the cooperation of specialists. Based on the findings, we discuss issues with outside experts and personnel from local governments. Living Creatures Studies have been carried out at 14 bases as of the end of March 2018. Based on what we have found out about the surrounding natural environments at each site, we are proceeding with the initiative to transform the greenery and nature areas on the premises into environments that are easier to live in and use by the various living organisms found there.

diagram: Expansion of "biodiversity preservation of business establishment" activity

Case Examples

Nagasaki Works

photo: Nagasaki Works

At Nagasaki Works, the first study was carried out in the spring of 2015, based on the idea that it is an important first step to know what living creatures inhabit the area. Through the research program, nearly 250 species of living creatures have been confirmed, with the discovery of some rare species of shellfish and amphibians. We are planning to continue with this project in order to get the "whole picture" of the living creatures on and near the site, and eventually transform it into activities that will preserve and maintain the entire local ecosystem in abundance.

Power Device Works (Fukuoka)

photo: Power Device Works (Fukuoka)

At Fukuoka Power Device Works, we have been utilizing a stream that already existed as a water channel for rainwater drainage, etc. since opening the works in 1944. Owing partly to the fact that little revetment work has been done, the same environment is still preserved. A three-year-plan was introduced to conduct Living Creatures Studies from 2015 to 2017. The first investigation in 2015 revealed that the rich ecosystem remains intact, centering around the water channel.

Sanda Works

photo: Sanda Works

At Sanda Works, employees of the Environment and Facilities Management Section have been conducting Living Creatures Studies since the spring of 2014. They record the animal and plant life they find while walking around the premises, and check the species and other biological conditions. The results are compiled in the Living Creatures Field Guide and published as environmental news for an internal audience and regional networking events. Furthermore, we held discussions with researchers at local museums in 2015 in an attempt to take our activities to the next level.

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.

diagram: Calculation of Activity Implementation Level and Improvement Rate

Quantitative assessments using a check sheet are conducted at all business sites every year. Based on these assessments, we calculate how much progress (improvement rate) has been made from the base year (FY2020), to visualize the results of improvements and schemes each year and connect them to further improvements.