Environmental Conservation

Biodiversity/Promoting 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.

  1. ▼ Activity highlights
  2. ▼ KOKUYO Group's Basic Policy for Timber Procurement
  3. ▼ Yui no Mori Project
  4. ▼ 2017 Activities of ReEDEN Project

ReEDEN: The Outcomes of Activities over the Past 10 Years

ReEDEN: The Outcomes of Activities over the Past 10 Years

KOKUYO Product Shiga is a main plant for the KOKUYO Group, where notebooks and other paper products are manufactured. 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, KOKUYO Product Shiga has engaged in proactive activities for environmental conservation. Particular focus has been directed towards 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 10th year in 2017.

During this 10-year period, reed-harvesting events were held 31 times, with a cumulative total of 3,530 people participating. The gathered volume reached approximately 90 tons and the amount of reeds utilized in products reached approximately 200 tons.

Volume of reeds utilized in products (cumulative total)
Awards and recognition
2008 Special Recognition Prize in the Green Purchasing Award
2009 Merit Award in the Eco Products Award
2013 Certified by Kokocool Mother Lake Selection
2015 Grand Prize at the Kaueco Grand Prix
2015 Honorable mention in the company award for the fostering of environmentally-aware personnel
2015 Reed calligraphy pen recognized as one of The Wonder 500TM collection of products
2016 Reed calligraphy pen awarded the Hanayaka Kansai Selection Prize
2017 Biwako Template won the Japanese Stationery of the Year Award for Excellence in the Design Category
2018 Shiga Biodiversity Grand Prize
2018 Shiga Prefecture Low-Carbon Society Development Award

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.

Use of Domestic and Local Materials

Forests, which accounts for approximately 67% of Japan's land area, play a role in retaining water (usually referred to as soil and sand outflow prevention and watershed protection) and in absorbing CO2, etc. Forests are also renewable resources, 40% of which are man-made. However, many of the man-made forests are unable to make the most of the above-mentioned multiple functions that forests offer as maintenance such as thinning are performed too late.

KOKUYO worked to develop furniture from timber from thinning since 1998 and starting selling them from 2000. We believe that we can increase the demand for new timber through the active use of domestic timber (timber from thinning) and support the realization of a sustainable society where we live in harmony with forests.

BS+ desk system

BS+ desk system

Writing table

Writing table

FUBI

FUBI

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 Green Purchasing Act. 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.

Status of the Use of Wood Materials

Approximately 5,200 tons of wood materials were used by KOKUYO Furniture in the year 2017 to make products. This figure is equivalent to 9 per cent of all materials used for production (excluding packaging). In breaking down these wood materials, 30 per cent consists of solid wood, laminated wood, and other wood materials that are made with raw lumber while 70 per cent 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 Green Purchasing Act. 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 towards obtaining the information in order to use sustainable resources.

Tree species Form of wood Amount used
(converted to m³)
Country/region of
Ayous Solid wood 266.1 Indonesia, Cameroon
Oak Solid wood 0.1 Malaysia
Kapur Solid wood 23.8 Malaysia, Indonesia
Japanese cedar Solid wood 2.9 Japan
Oak Solid wood 1.4 Russia
Pine Solid wood 72.0 New Zealand, Chile
Beech Solid wood 57.6 Germany, Thailand, Croatia
Hinoki cypress Solid wood 1.2 Japan
Falcata Laminated woo 99.5 Indonesia
Poplar Solid wood 217.6 Indonesia, USA, Canada
White Oak Solid wood 0.3 Canada, USA
Gum Tree Solid wood 308.0 Vietnam, Australia
Rubber wood Solid wood 83.2 Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Malaysia
Lauan Laminated woo 458.0 Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
Total 1,591.6  

※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

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. In the same year, KOKUYO concluded the partnership agreement of "Collaborative Reforestation Project with Environmentally Progressive Companies"(Shimanto Forest Cooperative /Shimanto-cho/Kochi Prefecture) by Kochi. With the expiration of the partnership agreement in 2016, the agreement was revised and re-concluded under a condition of renewal every year on April 1, 2016. Yui-no-Mori is about 100 hectares, and the thinned forest area was 2 hectares when it was started. After 11 years, the applicable area became 5,429 hectares, and the total thinned forest area has expanded to 1,416 hectares. In addition, a CO2 absorption certificate has been issued by Kochi Prefecture since 2007, and the amount of absorbed CO2 of FY2016 was 6,598 tons raising the cumulative total to 43,058 tons. (From April 2006 to March 2017.) The Yui no Mori Project won the Wood Design Award 2017.

※Related information: "Assessments and awards received from outside the KOKUYO Group"

Yui no Mori Project Receives Letter of Appreciation and CO2 Absorption Certificate from Kochi Prefecture

On September 21, the 11th Collaborative Forest Forum was held at the Kochi Prefectural Culture Hall. Because 2017 marked the 10th year of its participation in the project, KOKUYO received a letter of appreciation from Kochi Prefectural Governor Ozaki. A CO2 absorption certificate was also presented.

Mr. 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.

Presentation of a letter of appreciation

Presentation of a letter of appreciation

Presentation of a CO2 absorption certificate

Presentation of a CO2 absorption certificate

Wood Design Award (at the Eco Products Exhibit)

Wood Design Award (at the Eco Products Exhibit)

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 August 23 and 24, and KOKUYO continues to maintain FSC® certification.

Tours for Fully Fledged Certified Employees and Monitoring

Tours for Fully Fledged Certified Employees and Monitoring

Over 2 days on November 11 and 12, a Yui no Mori experience tour to commemorate employees' fully fledged certification was held for employees in their 4th year at the company who had cleared certain requirements and taken their fully-fledged certification. Through various activities such as surveying the water quality of Shimanto, planting commemorative trees and gathering with the local Shimanto Forest Cooperative and Shimanto High School, the tour aims to improve employees' environmental awareness and increase their interest in KOKUYO's environmental activities.

In one of the events, we conducted a vegetation survey for the 11th time in collaboration with the Shimanto Forestry Cooperative, Shimanto High School, and staff members of the K?chi prefectural and Shimanto municipal governments. 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 run, we are continuing to conduct surveys at two specific sites.

※Related information: "Report by Shimanto High school students"

FSC Audit

FSC®Audit

Participants in the monitoring activities

Participants in the monitoring activities

Vegetation survey being conducted

Vegetation survey being conducted

Effective Utilization of Forest Thinning

Kaunet's Yui no Mori Products

Kaunet's Yui no Mori Products

In order to effectively take advantage 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 14 items as of 2017. 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 90 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.

2017 Activities of ReEDEN Project

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 to produce 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 have been developed. 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 sales is donated to a local environmental organization for activities dedicated to the conservation of reeds.

ReEDEN series

ReEDEN series

Lake Biwa stat

Lake Biwa stat

Biwako Template

Biwako Template

※Related information:"ReEDEN Project"

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. This network, which began with a handful of corporate members, now boasts a membership of 123 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 now gather in the hundreds to participate, with 3,530 members participating in mowing the reeds. We will collaborate with experts to investigate biomass of reed bed as our next attempt. We will demonstrate the achievements of the activities by investigating biomass, carbon content, and so on. We are also working with Shiga Prefecture to prepare for a possible future carbon certification system for reeds based on this data. These activities shared along through network communications alongside topics relating to local environments by specialists and introductions of environmental activities of member companies to increase camaraderie.

※Related information:"The Network to Protect Lake Biwa with Reeds"

Expanding Activities: Non-native Fish Fishing Contest and Canoe Reed Bed Observation Event

The Network to Protect Lake Biwa with Reeds, consisting of various different industries and organizations, is expanding its activities year after year. The reeds are mowed in winter so that buds start to sprout in the reed bed when the spring comes. We have held a fishing contest to remove non-native fish around the reed bed 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 is increases each time, with approximately 170 people participating last year. We contribute to conserving the ecosystems of Lake Biwa together with children. The canoe reed bed observation event is an event to observe thick reed beds from the lake surface in summertime by riding canoes through a maze-like waterway. The delighted and amazed voices of participants echo as they stroll around the reed bed, where they cut and take reeds from the surface of the lake onto their canoes.

Fishing contest to remove non-native fish

Fishing contest to remove non-native fish

Observation of reed beds from canoes

Observation of reed beds from canoes

Biomass survey of winter reeds

Biomass survey of winter reeds

※Related information:"ReEDEN Journal"