CSR Charter ⅡHarmonizing with the Environment and Contributing to Realizing a Sustainable Society
- Principle and Outline
- Osaka Gas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy
- Consideration in Resources Development and Procurement
- Considerations Made When Gas Pipes Are Installed
- Consideration of Biodiversity in its Greening and Planting Activities in the Osaka Gas Group
- Stakeholder Comment: I hope that this activity will become the driving force behind the greening of terminals and processing plants with indigenous vegetation.
- Biodiversity Education for Children
- Effective Use of Exterminated Wild Animals as a Food Source
- Stakeholder Comment: Anticipating the emergence of the food culture in which venison is eaten as a natural resource
Principle and Outline
Recognizing the essential nature of the many blessings of biodiversity, the Osaka Gas Group in April 2010 established the “Osaka Gas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy” to serve as a guideline for addressing biodiversity issues both inside and outside Japan through its business activities. The Group is committed to helping build a society harmonious with nature that can conserve biodiversity and enjoy the bounties of nature into the future, and will undertake efforts that promote the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use.
Osaka Gas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy
Efforts live up to the Policy
The Osaka Gas Group has been striving to protect and promote biodiversity. It has reused excavated soil in gas pipe installation, raised rare native plants in the green areas of its LNG terminals, built multi-level gardens at the “NEXT 21”* experimental residential complex, and planted trees in Japan.
In April 2010, Osaka Gas came out with the “Osaka Gas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy, ” which guides us in our activities and information to the public.
As shown in the figure below, under the guidance of knowledgeable people at Hyogo Prefecture and other government agencies, at research laboratories, and at outside companies, as well as with guidance from external consultants, we have moved forward with such activities in tandem with research institutes such as Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB).
In accordance with its “Green Purchasing Policy” (formulated in 2000, revised in 2012), Osaka Gas has been cooperating with business partners to prioritize the procurement of eco-friendly goods and construction work, and this Policy was revised on April 1, 2012 to incorporate new provisions on consideration for biodiversity.
Key Biodiversity Efforts in the Value Chain
- * “NEXT 21”
- The “NEXT 21” was constructed in October 1993 by Osaka Gas to propose an ideal neo-futuristic urban multiple-unit housing under the concept of “Achieving both comfortable and convenient life and energy-saving / environmental preservation. ” The demonstration experiments were conducted in four phases over the past 20 years, with Osaka Gas's employees and their families residing in the housing. Each phase was designed to meet the theme suited to the times. Through the demonstration experiments, many proposals and presentations have been made concerning the energy-saving and CO2-emission-reduction solutions for the entire building, the greenery restoration and environmental symbiosis in the urban area, and ideal forms of residence capable of responding to diverse lifestyles, as well as the development of products for commercialization.
Organizational Chart of Biodiversity Efforts
Biodiversity Activities at the Main Business Locations
|(A) No. of locations||(B) No. of locations addressing biodiversity||(C) Percentage of locations
addressing biodiversity (=(B)/(A))
Consideration in Resources Development and Procurement
Consideration for biodiversity during LNG tanker transportation
To remain stable during an ocean voyage, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) tankers keep water inside their hulls. This is called ballast water. When a ship travels with no cargo, it puts sea water into its ballast tanks at the port of departure. When the ship reaches a port to pick up cargo, it releases ballast to compensate. This elicits concerns that the living organisms inside the ballast might have an impact on the local ecosystem.
Osaka Gas has seven LNG tankers. Osaka Gas manages ballast of LNG tankers it uses, including those that are not our property, in accordance with regulations of the country where the port of call is located. We aim to limit the impact of ballast on ecosystems by, for example, replacing ballast taken on at a Japanese port with water from the open ocean before releasing the ballast in a foreign port.
Furthermore, in anticipation of the adoption of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments prescribed by IMO (International Maritime Organization), two tankers put into service (LNG VENUS in 2014 and LNG MARS in 2016) have been equipped with ballast treatment equipment in compliance with the Convention.
Considerations Made When Gas Pipes Are Installed
We are working to reduce the impact of gas pipe installation on ecosystems by holding down the amounts of excavated soil and waste asphalt generated and by reducing the new extraction of mountain sand for reburying.
Consideration of Biodiversity in its Greening and Planting Activities in the Osaka Gas Group
Publication of “Reference for Biodiversity Consideration on Planting at Osaka Gas Group”
The Osaka Gas Group is engaging in planting on the premises of LNG Terminals and other buildings taking biodiversity in consideration. Aiming for expanding the effort in the Group, we published a booklet which each business location and affiliate can use as reference for their planting in March 2014.
It shows examples of plants appropriate for usage such as hedges and courtyards, as well as plants to be avoided such as certain alien species.
The Osaka Gas Group will make use of this reference for conserving biodiversity of its business area.
Osaka Gas Urban Development Co., Ltd.
Development of condominiums introducing the indigenous species in their gardens
Osaka Gas Urban Development Co., Ltd. is a real estate company and is engaged in the development and management of office buildings and condominiums / rented apartments.
In addressing “co-existence with the environment,” one of its “five focuses” for urban and property development, Osaka Gas Urban Development Co., Ltd., is pursuing a planting plan that takes biodiversity into consideration.
The planting of native seedlings of “Chimakizasa,” a species of bamboo grass called Sasa Palmata in English, was completed in March 2014 in the garden of the “Urbanex Kyoto Matsugasaki”. The indigenous bamboo grass, growing in the northern part of Kyoto City, has been traditionally used to make amulets sold at the annual Gion Festival which are alleged to have the power to protect people from illness and accidents, and as wraps for traditional Japanese sweets. Chimakizasa has been recognized as an endangered plant in Kyoto City as a result of excessive eating by wild deer, whose population in the city has been increasing in recent years. All of the 10 bamboo grass plants that were planted in the garden of the “Urbanex Kyoto Matsugasaki” were donated by the Chimakizasa revival committee, a local team formed to increase numbers of the plant, with members being mainly residents of Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City and researchers from Kyoto University.
At the “Urbanex Kobe Okurayama”, under construction since February 2016, Osaka Gas Urban Development has planted Japanese blue oaks, gooseneck loosestrife and other local seeds / seedlings with a support from the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo. Signs describing plants names and their characteristics have also been put up so that local residents, too, can learn the importance of biodiversity. These combined efforts, including the active use of native seedlings, earned the Osaka Gas Group FY2016 Good Design Award.
Osaka Gas Urban Development has adopted a policy of considering biodiversity when formulating their planting plans. Future real estate development projects by Osaka Gas Urban Development will earmark greenery that provides a natural habitat for plants and animals.
Kyoto Research Park Corp.
Tree planting based on biodiversity
The Kyoto Research Park (KRP) is Japan's first privately run research park and has over 350 tenant companies. The aim of the KRP is to provide an environment that supports both the hardware and management aspects of these companies' business fields, which include growth industries such as IT, medicine, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. In the KRP9 complex of the Kyoto Municipal Industrial Research Institute, which opened in October 2010, tree-planting is being carried out that considers biodiversity and that adheres to the history of the land.
In the district where KRP is located, remains have been discovered of the homes of aristocrats of Japan's Heian Period (794 to 1185). To respect its link with history, the KRP has established a classical garden. Plants mentioned in the famous novel “Tale of Genji” have been used to create a garden fashioned after the house where Genji, a character in the novel, lived. Plants representing the four seasons include double-flowered cherry trees, Japanese Judas trees, maple trees, and a plum tree as the main symbol tree.
Among the trees native to the region are mulberry trees, which are intricately tied to Kyoto's traditional industries. A boneset, a plant on the endangered species list in Japan, presented to KRP by Kyoto Broadcasting System (KBS), has been lovingly nurtured in the garden.
In October 2016, Wing 9 of Kyoto Research Park received a Green Building certificate from the Development Bank of Japan for its friendly design to the environment and society.
Use of native seedlings in green space management at LNG terminals
At Osaka Gas LNG terminals, we are conducting afforestation activities that recreate the area's original ecosystems and are capable of supporting a high level of biodiversity.
We are also regularly conducting biodiversity monitoring studies to verify the effectiveness of our biodiversity efforts.
At the Senboku LNG Terminal, our concept is “a network of greenery that brings us closer to the community.” We are striving to create a green belt that will be home to a diverse range of life through efforts such as planting native seedlings in a green area, the “Senboku no Mori,” and planting a field of Japanese blood grass as described in “The Pillow Book,” an ancient Japanese essay written in the Heian Period.
Since 2002, under the guidance of the Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo Prefecture, the Himeji LNG Terminal has been preserving rare plants native to the area of Nishi Harima, Hyogo Prefecture. We are currently growing rare plants including Gardneria multiflora Makino and the Honshu wood mint (both rated level 2 endangered on the Ministry of the Environment's endangered species list). The new biotope created in FY2014 reproduces satoyama woodlands, grasslands and marshes with plants indigenous to Nishi Harima, preserving such rare species as the Platycodon or Japanese Bellflower and Thoroughwort.
As there are indications that these efforts are resulting in an increase in the number of insect and bird species, it is hoped that these trends will also spread to neighboring green belts.
In the future, we will continue to monitor these areas both qualitatively and quantitatively, under the guidance and advice of experts.
Senboku LNG Terminal Butterfly Species Monitoring Study Results
Transplantation of rare plant species to original habitat after Preservation on LNG terminal green areas
Under the guidance of the Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Nature and Human Activities and the University of Hyogo, Osaka Gas preserved stocks of the coastal plant Unran at its Himeji LNG Terminal. In December 2013, Osaka Gas transplanted some of the stock to Keinomatsubara in Minami Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture from where the plant derived. The move was designed to reestablish the plant population in Keinomatsubara, the only place in Hyogo known as a natural habitat of Unran (Latin name: Linaria Japonica).
In 2006, the Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo moved some of the Unran plants growing in Keinomatsubara to its gene farm following a decline in the plant's population in the natural habitat. The measure was taken to maintain and manage the plant's population. In 2010, 39 Unran seedlings (some of the plants being preserved at the gene farm) were moved to the Himeji LNG terminal of Osaka Gas to diversify the risk of the plant dying out. The plants that were moved to Himeji later flourished, with numbers increasing to about 150. In 2013, Osaka Gas transplanted 20 of those 150 plants to Keinomatsubara under the guidance of the Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Hyogo and the University of Hyogo.
Biodiversity Education for Children
Turning the roof of the building into a place providing the opportunity of valuable experience and learning
The “hu+g MUSEUM,” a showroom for information distribution regarding food and quality of life, earmarked part of its rooftop for a rice field of about 100 square meters and a vegetable garden patch of about 12 square meters. The area has been opened mainly to local elementary school children since FY2016 as part of the Osaka Gas Group's environmental education as well as its communication about the region and the environment.
At sessions held in 2016, 111 fifth graders of a local elementary school attended and experienced the entire process of rice farming-from rice planting, reaping and cooking to tasting—resulting in the harvesting of about 31 kg of rice.
The participants learned about biodiversity through a nature-watching event held in the paddy fields one month after their rice planting. Specifically, they took a first—hand look at rice growing and the various forms of life emerging from the paddies, such as dragonflies and water fleas. In the autumn, the children experienced rice reaping, and also engaged in the threshing of the harvested rice using old-fashioned agricultural machines, including thousand-tooth threshers and wind-powered threshers.
Positive comments reached us from the parents of the participants, with one stating that the children themselves had apparently grown through the rice-farming experience. Other parents said their child spoke positively of the experience after returning home following the event.
The program was developed and run by staff members of our showroom and employees of the Osaka Gas Group working at adjacent business locations. These people support demonstration sessions held for elementary school children in rice planting and harvesting, and engage in daily observation of the fields to see how they are managed and maintained. We will continue this events in FY2018.
Consideration of Biodiversity in Habitation Experiment Conducted on the East Side of the Roof of the Experimental Residential Complex “NEXT 21”
Under the phase 4 habitation experiment at “NEXT 21,”* an experimental residential complex Osaka Gas built in Osaka City, a tree-planting experiment involving residents is being conducted. The experiment is intended to refurbish the complex's green areas to make them part of Osaka's urban greening network, and to promote the green management of the complex to help establish a solid urban eco-system.
Tree-planting experts are in charge of managing the east side of the roof of the experimental residential complex. It is hoped that the east area will become a place where visitors can feel the changes of nature. Meanwhile, residents of the complex are in charge of cultivating the west side of the roof, with a hope that it will become a green zone where they can grow vegetables and share the joy of harvesting. As part of the habitation experiment, residents' involvement in tree-planting activities has been monitored and the monitored data will be reflected in how condominium residents can be involved in green management in the future. It is also hoped that the experiment will help expand green areas in urban cities.
In FY2016, residents of the NEXT21 complex planted seedlings native to Osaka on the east side of the roof, an event that ended in failure. In FY2017, residents made another attempt. They cultivated four species of native seedlings gathered in Osaka (balloon flower, gooseneck loosestrife, Synurus excelsus and lemongrass) and transplanted them to the soil on the east side in June 2016. In August 2016, Balloon Flower came into bloom.
Experiments at the NEXT 21 complex also include raising beetles. Eggs were taken from beetles caught in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. Larvae hatched from the eggs were released in the hums prepared in the roof area of the complex. Beetles are expected to emerge in the summer of 2017.
Residents also conducted monitoring of aquatic organisms. With their children first developing an interest in such organisms, the parents started to become curious about them, a change of attitude confirmed in a survey conducted among the residents.
- * “NEXT 21” experimental residential complex
- The NEXT 21 was constructed in October 1993 by Osaka Gas to propose an ideal neo-futuristic urban multiple-unit housing under the concept of “Achieving both a comfortable and convenient life and energy-saving / environmental preservation.” The demonstration experiments have been conducted in four phases over the past 20 years, with Osaka Gas's employees and their families residing in the housing. Each phase was designed to meet the theme suited to the times. Through demonstration experiments, many proposals and presentations have been made concerning energy-saving and CO2-emission-reduction solutions for the entire building, greenery restoration and environmental symbiosis in the urban area, and ideal forms of residence capable of responding to diverse lifestyles, as well as the development of products for commercialization.
Effective Use of Exterminated Wild Animals as a Food Source
Cooperating in making greater use of venison
Currently, cooking with venison as wild game ("gibier") is gaining attention in Japan, but there are many issues with this resource and edible venison in Japan is still quite rare. By contrast, venison is popular in Europe and classed as game (or gibier). In Japan too, deer was once valued as a nutritious food source in ancient times. Deer are currently considered pests because they cause serious damage to crops and are periodically culled, with most of the meat being discarded.
Osaka Gas has since 2012 held venison cooking classes jointly with the Hyogo Prefecture Wildlife Management Research Center. In FY2015, a "Hyogo Japanese Deer Promotion Network Joint Workshop" sponsored by the Hyogo Japanese Deer Promotion Network was held at the Osaka Gas Cooking School Kobe and attended by about 30 people. A course on properly handling venison (from the perspective of resource diversification) sponsored by Issei Co., Ltd., as a project subsidized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was also held at the "hu+g MUSEUM" and attended by about 110 people. Osaka Gas Group facilities are thus being used in both of these programs as venues for sharing information with producers, distributors, retailers and others to improve the quality of venison and for examining solutions to social issues.