Creating a society in tune with nature

Preserving Biodiversity at Business Sites

Aiming to Improve Greenery and Preserve Nature at the Business Sites

Our day-to-day lives are supported by "ecosystem services" built upon biodiversity that supply food and water and contribute to climate stability. In order to maintain this lifestyle, the Mitsubishi Electric Group established the Biodiversity Action Guidelines in May 2010. As part of our response to these guidelines, since fiscal 2016 in Japan and fiscal 2017 overseas, we have been working to increase greenery and the preservation of nature in and around our business sites with activities that focus on maintaining and improving greenery and preserving nature surrounding each site.

One of the features of these activities is planning initiatives that take local vegetation and animal species into consideration based on studies to understand the habitats of creatures living in the region and on the premises of our business sites. In conjunction with this research, we also proactively communicate with external stakeholders in order to work together to solve neighboring issues.

diagram: Method of approach

Action Strategies (for Improving Greenery and Preserving Nature) at Business Sites

We have set three strategies for the "initiatives (to improve greenery and preserve nature)" planned and implemented at all business sites based on our studies and discussions. These are shown in the table below. The actions taken by each business site differ based on the conditions for the respective sites. Those actions take into consideration the state of the surrounding natural environment, the nature and scale of business operations, and the relationship the site has built with its stakeholders. With our goal set as "resolving environmental issues experienced by the country and region where a business site is located," we are establishing connections between the ecosystems, our business sites, and surrounding areas, through which we will endeavor to maintain and improve biodiversity.

Trends in Actions Examples
Reducing negative impact on living creatures 1. Control development pressure*1 and alien species pressure*2 (1) Environmental assessment
(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 conservation issues for surrounding areas
3. Manage pesticides (1) Control the killing/harming of living creatures
Aiming for more fruitful symbiosis with other living creatures 4. Set up functional greenery
(1) Contribute to ecosystem of surrounding areas
(2) Enhance quality of urban ecosystem
(1) Land used by flying organisms
(2) Priority land for greenery and living creatures
(3) Provision of continuity with areas surrounding premises
(4) Cooperation in regards to issues for surrounding ecosystems
5. Break away from industrial orientations such as simplifying/specifying greenery (1) Diversification/multi-stratification of vegetation
(2) Management of greenery appropriate for plants
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
  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.

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

Eastern Research Center Area

photo: Eastern Research Center Area

In the area around Mitsubishi Electric's eastern research center in Kanagawa Prefecture, Living Creatures Studies have been conducted every season since June 2014, where the creatures and vegetation that live on and near the premises of the research center are researched. We have been looking for answers as to what actions should be taken, holding a series of discussions with representatives from regional governments and experts based on our findings. We also continue to hold sessions of Living Creature Studies aiming to share the importance of biodiversity with the local community and working to preserve nature in the region together.

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.

The Themes of Expert Discussions Conducted So Far

Theme Date Organizer Expert
What the Information Technology Center will be able to do in cooperation with Kamakura City February 2015 Eastern Research Center Area Greenery Section, Urban Landscape Design Division, Kamakura City
What approach the Information Technology Center should take, based on the findings of the Living Creatures Studies February 2015 Eastern Research Center Area Curator, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History
February 2015 Eastern Research Center Area Professor, Tokai University
Kamakura City's Environmental Conservation Activities September 2014 Eastern Research Center Area Greenery Section, Urban Landscape Planning Division Kamakura City
"Nature in Sanda City" and "Future Activities at Sanda Works" December 2015 Sanda Works Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo
What we hope corporations will do, based on the current state of biodiversity preservation in and outside Japan June 2015
January 2016
Head Office Dr. Harunori Karube, Chief Curator, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History
Arrangement and symbiosis/co-existence for richer biodiversity September/October 2015,
April/May 2016
Head Office Dr. Tetsuya Iwasaki, Associate Professor, University of Hyogo, Graduate School of Landscape Design and Management
Utilizing horticultural therapy – Potential of using greenery at business sites September/October 2015,
March/June/August 2016
Head Office Dr. Masahiro Toyoda, Associate Professor, University of Hyogo, Graduate School of Landscape Design and Management

The Significance and Purpose of Our Initiatives

Ensuring that the impact on living creatures can be recognized on a day-to-day basis is a responsibility of Mitsubishi Electric as a "global leading green company."

The Mitsubishi Electric Group has manufacturing and sales bases around the world, and produces a variety of products. What we are aiming to achieve through this initiative is for all employees to act individually, thinking instinctively whether or not their actions are causing a negative impact on the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. We think that such a habit underlies a fundamental disposition for preventing environmental problems that human activities cause inadvertently. We recognize that endeavoring to improve green spaces at business sites and creating day-to-day interfaces between working people and their surrounding ecosystems can establish a foundation for nurturing such habits and personal character. We believe that it is desirable for an enterprise aiming to become a "global leading green company" to have the ability to conduct business activities while maintaining harmony with nature.

Motohiro Tanaka
Senior Biotope Planner
Itami Works