Environmental coexistence

April 18, 2017 11:00 AM

Koya Pond Restoration Project

Hello! I'm Fukumoto of the Safety & Environment Group of Itami Works.

In this post, I'd like to introduce one of my tasks - coordinator for the Itami Works in helping to improve the local environment.

As the name suggests, the Safety & Environment Group works on matters regarding "safety" and the "environment."
The environment team, to which I belong, carries out environmentally friendly activities, such as energy saving and waste reduction, while always paying attention to drainage, noise, vibration, and the air, in order to prevent environmental accidents damaging our surrounding area.

In Itami City, where our Itami Works is located, an exploratory committee for restoration of the waterfront environment of Koya Pond has been established for the purpose of preserving and restoring the area's natural environment. Committee members, along with citizen volunteers, carry out activities of the Association to Preserve and Grow the Nature of Itami. The association consists of three respective sections in charge of forests, ponds and rivers, and each month we participate in the forest section's activities.
At the Itami Works, six total members - two from the Safety & Environment Group and four from each plant who change month - join the activities. It has been nine years since we first participated in April 2008, with the total number of people from the Itami Works now reaching about 580.

To maintain the environment of Wild Bird Island, an artificial island in the shape of the Japanese Archipelago built in the center of Koya Pond, we weed the island, prune withered branches, plant saplings, and erect weed prevention sheeting. Although Wild Bird Island was once rich in greenery, many of the tress there have now withered and become severely damaged due to droppings from great cormorants, making it difficult for the environment to recover on its own. This was the background of why the activities were launched.

Koya Pond Restoration Project
Koya Pond Restoration Project

We can enjoy the activities in the comfortable seasons of spring and autumn, but our bodies become sweaty all over from the June rainy season to October's lingering summer heat, requiring us to take care not to suffer heatstroke. When we view the beatified island after finishing our activities, however, we feel a sense of fulfillment that cannot be described.
Also, when passing by Koya Pond Park, we see Wild Bird Island without realizing it. Seeing the thick and lush trees, we feel pleasure, and at the same time, can't help hoping that the saplings grow well, rather than wither.

In November last year, the first national ranking of municipalities with biodiversity was released based on an assessment of the municipalities' efforts regarding biodiversity. Of the 665 municipalities in Japan, Itami City was selected No. 1, together with Toda City in Saitama Prefecture, Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture, and Kobe City in Hyogo Prefecture.
Itami City was highly recognized for its cooperation with local companies, and this especially is great to hear for participants like us. Since we feel the opportunity here gives us a valuable experience, we'd like to continue actively participating.

If you have an opportunity to come to Itami City, please visit Koya Pond Park and check out Wild Bird Island. If you have any interest, why don't you join us in the forest section's activities? You're always welcome!

April 12, 2016 9:30 AM

Participation in Reed-Cutting on Lake Biwa!

Go-anzen ni (Maintain safety)!
I am Isomichi of the Itami Sales Branch, SEI Business Creates Inc.

On Sunday, January 31, I was invited by Mr. Maeda and Mr. Fujimoto, senior employees at my workplace, to join the campaign of cutting down reeds on Lake Biwa, held in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture.

Sumitomo Electric, which served as a special sponsor for the 71st Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, held on Sunday, March 6, actively participates in environmental preservation activities for the lake, including the reed-cutting campaign. Although the reed field was very wide, almost all the plants were quickly cut down by the approximately 500 participants present, making the field very clean again.

Participation in Reed-Cutting on Lake Biwa!
Participation in Reed-Cutting on Lake Biwa!

I hear that some of the cut reeds were used as torches in a ceremony in March to pray for safety at the start of the lake's sightseeing season. Meanwhile, the fields are left to dry for a while after the reeds have been cut, and then burned off. I hear that this means other weeds' seeds and disease germs are also burned, which helps new reeds to sprout in spring and leads to the regeneration of very large fields of reeds.

Mr.Maeda (left) and Mr. Fujimoto (right)

Mr.Maeda (left) and Mr. Fujimoto (right)

It has been said since long ago that reeds function to clean the water. My participation in the reed-cutting campaign this time served as a good opportunity for me to learn more about reeds and water sources. Some water from Lake Biwa flows into the Yodo River, and the water is used as a valuable resource by those living along the river. I feel that it is significant that not only residents living around Lake Biwa, but also that so many others benefitting from the lake are engaged in environmental preservation activities.

If there is another opportunity to participate in such an environmental activity, I want to volunteer for it again.
Why don't you participate in such activities too?

September 12, 2012 9:20 AM

Participating in Seashore Clean-Up Volunteer Activity

Hello, everyone. I’m Oshima of the Safety & Environmental Dept. of Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.

Headquartered in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture, our company manufactures mainly wiring harnesses for automobiles and electronic equipment.

Let me introduce a clean-up activity on the Yoshizaki Seashore, the city’s only natural seashore. We began participating in this activity three years ago.

To attract sea turtles once again, this clean-up activity was launched by those concerned about the dispersal of waste that had drifted to the seashore, where sea turtles used to lay their eggs. The clean-up activity is held on the first Sunday of every month by the Yokkaichi Sea Turtle Conservation Association. On top of encouraging our staff on a daily basis to actively participate in the effort, we designate one day a year as a special day to attract many more participants in the effort.

Clean-up activity

▲Clean-up activity

This year, June 3 was designated as the special day, with a total of 37 persons from our company, including staff member’s families, engaged in the activity. The day of the event was a bit cloudy, and a perfect opportunity to clean the seashore. Approximately 150 people, including members of the conservation association, many volunteers and groups of children, picked up waste such as wood that had drifted ashore, PET bottles, styrene foam, and other resin items, as well as metal items. Although June and July are the season when sea turtles lay their eggs, such waste prevents the turtles from coming ashore. Especially after heavy rains during the rainy season and typhoons, many objects are carried from the upper reaches of the river to the shore. Although pieces of wood that have drifted to the seashore are just natural objects, they are a formidable enemy for sea turtles trying to crawl ashore.

Group photograph to commemorate the event

▲Group photograph to commemorate the event

With the weather gradually getting hotter and hotter, the participants continued cleaning up for about an hour, collecting waste equal to about two truckfuls. Sweating, the participants were offered cold beverages by our company. This was followed by an environmental seminar delivered by a professor from Mie University on the ecology of dolphins and whales. A wide variety of lectures are held every month as part of the clean-up activity. The professor spoke in an easy-to-understand manner so that many children participating could understand the lecture. This was very good for the fathers of family members participating, like me.

When our company first participated in this clean-up effort two years ago, it was confirmed that loggerhead turtles laid their eggs for the first time in seven years, but unfortunately, no such confirmation has been made since then. However, in the hope that loggerhead turtles will return again to the seashore of Yokkaichi City to lay their eggs, we’d like to continue this activity together with the local residents.

Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.

Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.
Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd. was established in 1917 as a company to manufacture electric wires. Based on our technologies developed through the manufacture of electric wires, we manufacture wiring harnesses for automobiles and a wide variety of related products in more than 30 countries around the world. The word “connection” presents not only our products’ function, but also the concept we emphasize. Highly valuing all forms of connections with the environment, local communities, the world, and among people, we would like to establish relationships of trust.
Website of Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.  http://www.sws.co.jp/en/

May 23, 2012 2:50 PM

Participation in Tree-Planting Activity to Preserve Mangroves

Tree-planting in a mangrove forest

▲Tree-planting in a mangrove forest

Hello, everyone. I’m Taguchi of Sumitomo Electric Wintec (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

Let me tell you about the tree-planting activity in a mangrove forest in which we participated on April 6, 2012.

Our company is located approximately 30 km southeast of Bangkok, specifically, near the seashore connecting the mouth of the Chao Phraya River and the Gulf of Thailand. Along this seashore extends a beautiful mangrove forest.

Our staff members getting sweaty and muddy

▲Our staff members getting sweaty and muddy

As you may know, a mangrove forest functions not only as something to mitigate the effect of waves rolling toward the seashore, but also as a nursery ground for creatures living along the seashore. Moreover, the forest absorbs CO2, contributing to the prevention of global warming. Thus, mangrove forests are gregarious forests essential to the earth.

In recent years, however, the destruction of mangrove forests due to logging is becoming a serious concern around the world.

With this as the background, an activity to plant and grow small saplings was launched to preserve a precious mangrove forest. From March to May every year, more than 100 companies located in our neighborhood participate in this activity.

On April 6, more than 70 people, comprising our staff members, including our president, and their families, participated in the tree-planting activity.

It was the hottest season in Thailand. With sunlight pouring down directly from above, the staff members went into the mudflat and carefully planted 1,500 Abyssinia shrub saplings. It took about two hours to plant all the saplings. Although the members got sweaty and tired, many of them said “I really enjoyed the tree-planting!” or “I feel refreshed!”

This was the first time to participate in this tree-planting activity. To contribute to the preservation of a mangrove forest invaluable to the earth, we will continue to participate in the activity again next year and beyond.

Group photo to commemorate our participation in the activity

▲ Group photo to commemorate our participation in the activity

Sumitomo Electric Wintec (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

Sumitomo Electric Wintec (Thailand) Co., Ltd.
Sumitomo Electric Wintec (Thailand) Co., Ltd. was established in 1969 as Sumitomo Electric’s first overseas manufacturing base. Since then, the company has been manufacturing and selling magnet wires used in automobile motors and air-conditioners etc. for the Thailand market as well as for other countries, such as the U.S. and China.

July 6, 2011 9:40 AM

Tokai Rubber Holds Its 9th Forestry Volunteer Event

Hello, I am Tonari, and I work for the Corporate Citizenship Office at Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd. I am writing today about Tokai Rubber’s forestry project, which we employees look forward to participating in every season.

In July 2008, our company decided to support “Forest Adoption Promotion Project” of Nagano Prefecture and signed an agreement to “adopt” a forest in Ikeda Town, Kita-azumi County.
Why Nagano Prefecture, you might wonder, where none of our business sites are located?
At first, our company had no experience in forest conservation activities and didn’t know where to start. After some research, we found that Nagano Prefecture had the most well-devised program and best public-authority support, which made it an ideal place for us to gain practical experience. We chose Ikeda Town because it is located in the Azumino area, which offers beautiful views of the Hida Mountains. The idea, advocated by residents of Ikeda Town’s Hirotsu District, of utilizing the forest conservation project to rejuvenate the depopulated community also struck a chord with us. Our company thus made a commitment to care for a 38 ha plot in Omine Highland in Ikeda Town’s Hirotsu District, where our employees will engage in volunteer work three times a year in spring, summer and autumn to maintain the forest, each time spending two days and one night.
 
The very first forest thinning took place in 2008, in which our president himself participated. The forestry project in May this year was the 9th such occasion since we became a sponsor. Each time we enlist 30 volunteers, which are chosen by lottery nowadays because there are more applicants than available places.
This spring, forestry project took place on May 14 and 15. Volunteers traveled to the site in two microbuses, where they checked on the growth of hinoki (cypress) trees planted in spring 2009, and then planted young Sargent’s cherry trees. Stakes supporting the cherry trees bore the names of volunteers, which made the experience even more special. Afterward, the volunteers gathered sansai (mountain vegetables) in the forest bursting with new growth, and took group photos in front of the “adopt sign” (erected in the forest and bearing the name of its adopter) with the Hida Mountains in the background. In the evening, volunteers enjoyed a barbecue with members of the local community.

Experiencing forest-thinning

▲ Experiencing forest-thinning

Planting young Sargent’s cherry trees

▲ Planting young Sargent’s cherry trees

The next morning, volunteers engaged in rice planting at a rice terrace situated in the mountains, for which our company had signed up for conservation activities. Although the unfamiliar task of hand-planting rice was a challenge, we managed to complete it, and the water from the clear stream where we washed our muddy feet felt cool and refreshing. We can’t wait to taste the sun-dried, tasty rice in autumn. For lunch, we enjoyed traditional local cuisine. Guided by local people, we made dumplings called oyaki, a specialty of Nagano, broiling them in ashes in the traditional manner. We enjoyed the oyaki with sansai tempura and pickles.
Many of the employees have been forestry volunteers more than once, and have become friends with the local seniors, who make them feel at home each time they return. This summer and autumn, as in previous years, we are planning to engage in thinning, maintenance of forest roads, some agricultural work, woodworking and buckwheat-noodle making, among others, thereby interacting with local people and helping them rejuvenate their community.

Group photo of participants

▲ Group photo of participants

More than 60 companies take part in Nagano Prefecture’s forest adoption program, we received the Taihoku Region Forestry Grand Prize at the Taihoku Satoyama Regeneration Symposium in February 2010 as a model program involving local communities. In March 2009, Nagano Prefecture introduced a system that recognizes companies’ forest conservation activities by converting the activities into amounts of carbon dioxide absorbed, and our company became the first to receive accreditation under this system.
Building on our experience to date, we launched in August 2010 another forest project, this time in Mie Prefecture, where our Matsuzaka Works is located, by entering into an agreement with Mie Prefecture, Matsuzaka City and the local Seizu District.
To live in harmony with the environment, Tokai Rubber will continue activities to preserve the country’s forest, in partnership with local communities.

Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd.

Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd.
Tokai Rubber (headquartered in Komaki City, Aichi Prefecture), celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009. The company supplies industry with rubber products utilizing its composite material technologies and advanced processing technologies, which include not only its core business of auto parts, but also precision parts for office equipment and other industrial materials. The company has expanded its production facilities to eight countries in four core regions of the world, where it aims to maintain uniform quality worldwide and achieve the world’s top quality.

Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd. website: http://www.tokai.co.jp/english/