Environment

Consideration for Biodiversity and Promotion of Environmental Communications

The KOKUYO Group strives to reduce its impact on ecosystems and help conserve natural habitats by carrying out business activities that take biodiversity into account. We are proactively engaged in forest-conservation activities in the Shimanto River basin area of Kochi Prefecture and environmental conservation activities in the area in and around Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

KOKUYO Group's Basic Policy for Timber Procurement

In 2011, the KOKUYO Group prepared its Basic Policy for Timber Procurement and clarified its stance regarding the sustainability of forest resources that are the most significant of the Group's important raw materials. Since its founding, the KOKUYO Group has broadened and developed its business activities using forest-derived materials, including paper production. KOKUYO is fully aware of the roles that forests have played and will continue to play regarding global warming and biodiversity. KOKUYO will aim to develop in harmony with forest resources while taking into consideration the legality, transparency, and sustainability of the Group's procurement of materials.

KOKUYO Group Basic Policy for Timber Procurement

The KOKUYO Group procures forest-derived materials according to the following policy and is working to make continued improvements.

  1. Aim for highly transparent materials procurement, with an awareness of issues of illegal cutting and illegal transactions in the timber trade.
  2. Procure material through more appropriate supply chains to support sustainable use of forest resources.
  3. Based on an awareness of the social value and roles of forest resources in the region, procure materials with due consideration for maintaining the supply and preservation of resources.

Formulation of Timber Legality Certification Due Diligence System Manual (Furniture Edition Ver 1.0)

The Timber Legality Certification Due Diligence System Manual (Furniture Edition Ver 1.0) was formulated on November 1, 2019.
This manual aims to minimize the risk of procuring illegally harvested timber and products using such timber during the procurement of timber products by the Furniture Business Division. We will conduct even stricter confirmation of legality through implementation of this manual.
Note that this manual is released on our website.

Obtaining Certification as a Company Dealing with Matters of Legality and Sustainability

Obtaining Certification as a Company Dealing with Matters of Legality and Sustainability

We have been certified as a company dealing with matters of legality and sustainability by the Japan Office Institutional Furniture Association (JOIFA) in line with revisions made to the Act on Promoting Green Procurement. We endeavor to promote the use and sale of timber and wood products that have been certified as legal and sustainable in such terms as forms control, the appointment of managers, and usage reports in accordance with this practice code.

FSC®-certified Products

FSC

KOKUYO has obtained FSC® and COC certification since 2003. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) is one of several third-party organizations operating an international forestry and woodlands certification program and aims to conserve the environment found in forests and woodlands appropriately and promote the management of forests and woodlands in a manner that is socially beneficial for local communities while also being economically sustainable. The COC (abbreviation of "chain-of-custody") certification constitutes the certification of the management of the processes of processing and logistics. In the KOKUYO Group, KOKUYO, Kaunet and KOKUYO Product Shiga have obtained FSC® and COC certification and are selling copier paper, notebooks, and other FSC-certified products. In 2016, PEFC and COC certification was also obtained. PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) is an organization that mutually approves forest certification criteria created by each county or region.
The KOKUYO Group will strive to increase certified products in order to use sustainable forest resources. (FSC® C004748)

PPC color paper

PPC color paper

Reeds-based photocopier paper

Reeds-based photocopier paper

FUBI

FUBI

Status of the Use of Wood Materials

Approximately 8,500 tons of wood materials were used by KOKUYO Furniture in the year 2019 to make products. This figure is equivalent to 13 percent of all materials used for production (excluding packaging).
In breaking down these wood materials, 34 percent consists of solid wood, laminated wood, and other wood materials that are made with raw lumber while 66 percent consists of wood materials that are not made with raw lumber, such as thinned wood, waste wood, unused materials and wood boards constituting pieces fabricated from the foregoing materials (MDF and particle boards). This information is reported annually to JOIFA as yearly handling results for certification as a company dealing with lawful wood materials under the Act on Promoting Green Procurement. We also endeavor to ascertain the types of trees corresponding to wood materials that are made with raw lumber pursuant to JOIFA's guidelines on the written declarations that are made of wood.

Status of the Use of Wood Materials

Study on the Actual Usage of Wood

KOKUYO studies the tree species, amount used and the country/ regions of origin of the wood-based materials used in its furniture products every year.
However, it is hard to determine the country of origin for commercial components and similar items. We will continue to work toward obtaining the information in order to use sustainable resources.

Tree species Form of wood Amount used (converted to m³) Country/region of origin
Ash Veneer, sliced veneer 16 U.S.A.
Ayous Sliced veneer 1 Italy, Cameroon
Oak Veneer, sliced veneer 4 U.S.A.
Japanese cedar Laminated 5 Japan
Oak Veneer, sliced veneer 1 Japan, Russia
Birch Laminated 1 Russia
Pine Veneer, laminated wood 80 New Zealand, Chile
Beech Veneer, laminated wood 53 Germany, Croatia, France
Hinoki cypress Veneer, laminated lumber 3 Japan
Falcata Laminated wood 52 Indonesia
Japanese beech Veneer, laminated wood 170 Japan, Germany, Croatia, France
Japanese whitebark magnolia Veneer, laminated lumber 23 Japan
Poplar Veneer, laminated wood 971 U.S.A., China
Maple Veneer, sliced veneer 1 U.S.A.
Meranti Sliced veneer, laminated wood 10 Indonesi
Gum Tree Laminated wood 918 China
Lauan Laminated wood 717 Indonesia, Malaysia
Total 3,025  

* Information from suppliers has been included. Wood materials such as MDF that do not use raw lumber as materials have been excluded.
* Only tree species with the specified country/region of origin are shown.

Yui-no-Mori Project

Biodiversity Action Award Japan 2018 award recipients

Biodiversity Action Award Japan 2018 award recipients

In 2006, KOKUYO named the private forest in Taisho, Shimanto-cho, Kochi Prefecture "Yui-no-Mori" and started forest conservation with a focus on efficient utilization of timber from forest thinning. Yui-no-Mori has had FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) forest management certification since 2007. (FSC® C004748)
Currently, the applicable area of Yui-no-Mori has grown to 5,425 hectares, and the total thinned forest has expanded to 1,789 hectares. In addition, a CO2 absorption certificate has been issued by Kochi Prefecture since 2007, and the amount of absorbed CO2 of FY2018 was 6,689 tons, raising the cumulative total to 56,314 tons. (From April 2006 to March 2019.)
In February 2019, the Yui-no-Mori Project received the Excellence Award at the Low Carbon Cup 2019, and in November 2019 it received the Minister of the Environment Prize in the Corporate Category of the 7th Ministry of the Environment’s Good Life Award. Following its receipt of the Wood Design Award 2017 in 2017, and the Biodiversity Action Award’s Green Wave Award in 2018, this marks the third year in succession that the Project has received official recognition.

* Related information: Commendation and Recognitions from Outside the KOKUYO Group

Received CO2 Absorption Certificates from Kochi Prefecture

On July 17, 2019, KOKUYO received CO2 Absorption Certificates from Kochi Prefecture Governor Masanao Ozaki, certifying that it had absorbed a total of 6,689 tons of CO2—6,150 tons by KOKUYO, and 539 tons by Kaunet.
Governor Ozaki expressed his gratitude for KOKUYO's long-term contributions to various initiatives, such as environmental conservation, forest maintenance, industry promotion, and the promotion of Kochi Prefecture. The 6,689 tons of CO2 absorbed is equivalent to approximately 17 percent of the 40,130 tons of CO2 emitted by the KOKUYO Group in 2019. This initiative is not just for forest conservation but also from the perspective of preventing global warming.

KOKUYO has obtained FSC® certification

Yui-no-Mori has had FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) forest management certification since 2007.
A regular audit was conducted on October 9 and 10, 2019, and KOKUYO continues to maintain FSC® certification. (FSC® C004748)

Presentation of a CO<sub>2</sub> absorption certificate

Presentation of a CO2 absorption certificate

CO<sub>2</sub> Absorption Certificates

CO2 Absorption Certificates

FSC<sup>®</sup> Audit

FFSC® Audit

Regular Monitoring of the Effects of Forest Thinning

The visualization of the effects of thinning is essential for carrying out forest conservation activities. In order to monitor the effects of these activities over the long term, we conduct monitoring surveys in collaboration with the Shimanto Forestry Cooperative, Shimanto High School, and staff members of the Kochi prefectural and Shimanto municipal governments.
On May 18, 2019, we carried out surveys regarding the water quality of the Shimanto River, and we carried out vegetation surveys on November 16. Regarding vegetation surveys, we are continuing to conduct surveys at two specific sites.

* Related information: Report by Shimanto High school students

Effective Utilization of Forest Thinning

KOKUYO Furniture has been manufacturing and selling furniture made with timber from forest thinning in collaboration with the local Shimanto Forestry Cooperative since 2000. Catalog retailer Kaunet also began selling primarily stationery as Yui-no-Mori branded products in 2007 and currently offers 12 items as of 2019. In order to promote understanding of its activities and increase the number of supporters, Kaunet implemented a framework for donating customer points toward the thinning of Yui-no-Mori in 2008. This year alone, the company has received approximately 100 applications for the submission of donations. In addition, the Yui-no- Mori 1% Donation Project was commenced in February 2011 and continues to operate to this day. This project is to donate a portion of the sales of Yui-no-Mori products to the National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization's Green Fund.

Surveying the water quality of the Shimanto River

Surveying the water quality of the Shimanto River

Vegetation survey participants

Vegetation survey participants

Kaunet's Yui-no-Mori Products

Kaunet's Yui-no-Mori Products

ReEDEN Project

KOKUYO Product Shiga has engaged in proactive activities for environmental conservation as the plant operates near Lake Biwa, a place that supports the lives of people while also being a dynamic habitat for many forms of life. Particular focus has been directed toward activities involving reeds. Reeds not only absorb carbon dioxide but also help to purify water by absorbing nitrogen and phosphorous in the process of growing and serve as a home for organisms living in Lake Biwa. Reeds used to be used for making reed screens, roofs, and other goods. However, the use of reeds for such purposes disappeared as peoples' lifestyles changed, meaning that reed beds were no longer being maintained and consequently fell into a state of dilapidation. Launched in November 2007 to promote the use of reeds and to make the state of the reeds widely known, the ReEDEN Project marked its 12th year in 2018. In 2019, two awards were received: the Judging Committee Special Award in the Award for Companies Promoting Experiential Activities for Youth, and the Grand Prix at The Biodiversity Japan Award 2019. Altogether, the project has received 13 awards in five consecutive years.
KOKUYO Product Shiga was recognized for our dedication to take the lead as a local company manufacturing paper products, and activities are steadily spreading.

*1, *2, *3:Related information: Assessments and awards received from outside the KOKUYO Group

Protecting Lake Biwa by Promoting the Use of Reeds

By harnessing production technologies developed to date and its developmental capabilities with a paper-production company, KOKUYO Product Shiga has been using reeds as materials for producing copier paper, notebooks, and other industrial products and selling them at a price suitable for the market under the ReEDEN Series brand name. In addition, in an effort to create a market that contributes to the environment through the use of reeds, business cards made with 100 percent reed pulp, reed-based brush pens, and other high value-added products were developed in 2014. Other efforts included the release of Lake Biwa stationery series as locally made stationery with themes relating to Lake Biwa, Shiga tours and local specialties, and the joint development by Lake Biwa Museum in Shiga Prefecture and Campus Notes. A portion of net sales is donated to a local environmental organization for activities dedicated to the conservation of reeds

ReEDEN series

ReEDEN series

Biwako Stationery

Biwako Stationery

Biwako Template

Biwako Template

Recruiting Members of the Local Community to Protect Lake Biwa with Reeds

The Network to Protect Lake Biwa with Reeds was set up in 2009 with KOKUYO Product Shiga serving as the secretariat of this organization. This network aims to contribute to the conservation of the natural environment of Lake Biwa in part through the establishment of modest connections among various companies and organizations. It began with a handful of corporate members, and has since grown into an organization with a membership of 131 supporting entities. The primary activity of the network entails the conservation of reed beds that fulfill an important role for the Lake Biwa ecosystem and water environment. These activities, which were initially staffed by several KOKUYO Product Shiga employees, have now expanded significantly to activities in which members of local environmental groups and representatives of network members from the industry, academia, and government now gather in the hundreds to participate together with more than 4,800 members in mowing the reeds. In the investigation of reed bed biomass, an initiative which started in 2017, we collaborated with Lake Biwa Museum and Shiga Prefecture to investigate winter reed biomass, carbon content, and so on as a new attempt. A tool to calculate the amount of CO2 recovered through reed mowing activities was developed jointly by the industry, academia, and government as an achievement of this collaboration. This tool has been published on Shiga Prefecture’s website. Operational testing will be conducted this season to visualize the effects of reed mowing. These activities are being shared through network communications to disseminate their merits.

Environmental Activities Linked by Networks—From Reed Mowing to Non-native Fish Fishing Contest

The Network to Protect Lake Biwa with Reeds, consisting of various industries and organizations, is expanding its activities year after year. Buds start to sprout in the reed beds when spring comes after reeds are mowed three times in winter. We have held a fishing contest to remove non-native fish around the reed beds since 2011. The aim is to exterminate the black bass and bluegill that threaten endemic species of Lake Biwa such as willow gudgeon and carassius auratus grandoculis. This environmental activity can be enjoyed by Network members and their families together. The number of participants increases each time, with more than 200 people participating last year. We contribute to conserving the ecosystems of Lake Biwa together with children. These activities allow people to experience for themselves the importance of nature, and become excellent opportunities for communicating the importance of protecting the rich environment of Lake Biwa.

Mowing the reeds

Mowing the reeds

Mowing the reeds

Mowing the reeds

Mowing the reeds at Lake Nishinoko

Fishing contest to remove non-native fish