Conserving Biodiversity

Principle and Outline

Recognizing the essential nature of the many blessings of biodiversity, the Daigas Group in April 2010 established the “Daigas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy,” revised from the Osaka Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy in March 2018, 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.

Adoption of Daigas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy and Efforts to Implement it

Efforts live up to the Policy

The Daigas 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, in concert with the guideline published in the previous year by the Ministry of the Environment, Osaka Gas came out with the “Daigas 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).

Based on its Green Purchasing Guidelines (formulated in 2000, revised in 2020), Osaka Gas works with business partners to promote Green Purchasing: prioritized procurement of biodiversity-friendly goods and construction work that have less impact on the environment. Before the Daigas Group makes a new investment or launches a new development project, either in Japan or overseas, we always performs an environmental impact assessment at the planning stage when required to do so by law. We survey the water environment, flora and fauna on land, and the ecosystem, to assess impact and take necessary measures to ensure sustainability in society.

Aiming to achieve the "Daigas Group Environmental Policy" which is the statement of the CSR Executive (renamed Executive in charge of ESG Promotion in April 2020), the environmental management system (EMS) that we are building and operating, and the Environmental Action Targets that we have established based on the Daigas Group "Medium-Term Management Plan 2020", also state that we give consideration to biodiversity in our business activities.

  • * Experimental multi-unit housing “NEXT21”
    “NEXT21” is an experimental multi-unit housing complex Osaka Gas built in October 1993 to propose a near-future model of urban multi-unit housing with the theme of “achieving a comfortable lifestyle while ensuring energy conservation and environmental conservation.”
    With Osaka Gas’s employees and their families actually living there, “NEXT21” has had demonstrative experiments based on themes that fitted with the times.
    These demonstrative experiments have been about energy saving and CO2 reduction for the entire building; green space restoration and environmental symbiosis in urban areas; ideal forms of housing that reflect diverse lifestyles; product development; and more. In response to the liberalization of the energy market, Osaka Gas has presented numerous proposals and announcements and much commercialization that may lead to what future multi-unit housing should be.
■ Key Biodiversity Efforts in the Value Chain
Key Biodiversity Efforts in the Value Chain
■Organizational Chart of Biodiversity Efforts
Organizational Chart of Biodiversity Efforts
  (A) No. of locations (B) No. of locations (C) Percentage of locations addressing biodiversity
(=(B)/(A))
LNG terminals 2 2 100%

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.

At present, Osaka Gas operates eight LNG tankers for LNG transportation. Osaka Gas manages ballast of LNG tankers it uses in accordance with regulations of the country where the port of call is located. In addition, the eight tankers are equipped with water-processing facilities that meet the conditions set under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments stipulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 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.

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 Daigas Group

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”, completed in 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 2016 Good Design Award.

Since FY2019, Osaka Gas Urban Development Co., Ltd. has planted native seeds and seedlings from green spaces at Osaka Gas facilities in the planting areas of condominiums it has developed. Examples of these properties completed in FY2020 are Scenes Tennoji Sanadayama, Scenes Tsukaguchi, and Urbanex Doshin. In this way, Osaka Gas Urban Development has been promoting the sharing of know-how in biodiversity across the Daigas Group.

Osaka Gas Urban Development will continue to standardize biodiversity-friendly planting plans as specifications and work on such plans at the condominiums it develops.

  • Scenes Tsukaguchi Scenes Tsukaguchi

    Scenes Tsukaguchi

  • Sign put up in the planting area of Scenes Tsukaguchi Sign put up in the planting area of Scenes Tsukaguchi

    Sign put up in the planting area of Scenes Tsukaguchi

(Condominium projects which introduced planting plants while taking regional biodiversity into consideration)

Fourteen condominiums (as of March 31, 2020; including those scheduled to be completed by the date)

Kyoto Research Park Corp.

Tree planting based on biodiversity
  • The Kyoto Research Park (KRP) is a large-scale business hub consisting of 17 buildings. It serves as a place for attempts at innovation, including new business and R&D, and it currently has over 480 tenant companies and organizations.

    Kyoto Research Park Corp., which runs the KRP, strives to offer an “arena for attractive interaction.” From a tangible perspective, it has established offices, laboratories, conference rooms, and data centers. From an intangible perspective, it plans various events, exchange meetings, and workshops. In the KRP No. 9 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.

    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.
  • Wing 9 of Kyoto Research Park

    Wing 9 of Kyoto Research Park

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.

    These native species are originally suited to the local climate and are easy to grow. Therefore, they do not require any special consideration or burden in the management of green spaces in the plant to conserve rare species.

    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 under the guidance and advice of experts.
  • At Senboku LNG Terminal: Green belt planted with Cogon Grass

    At Senboku LNG Terminal: Green belt planted with Cogon Grass

    Biotope at Himeji LNG Terminal

    Biotope at Himeji LNG Terminal

■ Changes in butterfly species confirmed
Changes in butterfly species confirmed
■ Changes in butterfly species confirmed at Himeji LNG Terminal
Changes in butterfly species confirmed at Himeji LNG Terminal

Cultivating a rare species of plants at the company biotope and transplanting them back into their natural habitat

  • Under the guidance of the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo, and the University of Hyogo, in December 2013, Osaka Gas transplanted stocks of Linaria japonica (unran), a coastal plant, from where they were being cultivated at the company’s Himeji LNG Terminal back to Keino Matsubara, Minami-Awaji, in an effort to restore the plant population there—the only natural habitat for unran left on the Seto Inland Sea side of Hyogo Prefecture.

    Due to a decline in the unran plant population, in 2006 the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo, moved some of the naturally growing plants from Keino Matsubara to its gene farm for protection and proliferation. In order to diversify the risk, in 2010, 39 of the protected unran seedlings were transplanted to the Himeji LNG Terminal grounds for continued cultivation. With an increase in the number of these plants to about 150, in 2013, 20 were transplanted back to Keino Matsubara under the guidance of the museum and the University of Hyogo.
  • Planting unran

    Planting unran

Stakeholder Comment: Osaka Gas is becoming a model for the creation of green belts on plant premises using native seeds and seedlings

  • The number of companies working to promote biodiversity has been increasing year by year, whether those actions are related to the company’s main business or carried out as part of its environmental activities. It is still rare, however, for companies to take biodiversity into consideration on the premises of their own plants, and fewer still are attempting to create green belts on their land in Japan using seeds or seedlings native to the locality. A green space in a factory can be an environment for a valuable ecosystem that serves as a habitat for native organisms, and it is a place, especially for rare species, to escape from the danger of losing their original habitat. If, on the other hand, a green tract of land has mistakenly been planted with many invasive plants or plants from non-local regions, that tract is in danger of producing ill effects on the surrounding ecosystem as a source of contamination.

    The Osaka Gas Himeji LNG Terminal has created a number of ecosystems on its premises, including a wooded area, grassland, and pond. It runs a leading-edge project to convert the existing green land area over to local, native plant species. Not only does this green belt serve as a habitat for wild creatures, but it has the potential to be a place for local environmental study. We have high hopes for it to serve both as a leading model for other companies and as a local hub for biodiversity protection and environmental study.
  • Yoshinobu Hashimoto Head Researcher, Division of Ecological Restoration / Plant Development Research Group Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo

    Yoshinobu Hashimoto
    Head Researcher,
    Division of Ecological
    Restoration / Plant
    Development Research
    Group Museum of Nature
    and Human Activities, 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 Daigas Group’s environmental education as well as its communication about the region and the environment.

    At sessions held in FY2020, about 160 fifth graders of a local elementary school attended and experienced the entire process of rice farming—from rice planting, harvesting, and cooking to tasting—resulting in the harvesting of about 25 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 harvesting, and also engaged in the threshing of the harvested rice using old-fashioned agricultural machines, including thousand-tooth threshers and wind-powered threshers.

    We received appreciative remarks from parents of the participants, including "I believe this hands-on experience helped the children understand how much work is involved in growing rice and how important food is" and "My child came back home and told me about the experience of the day with bright eyes.”

    The program was developed and run by staff members of our showroom and employees of the Daigas 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.

    “Hug-san’s Ichioshi Blog,” posted on the Hu+g Museum website, periodically mentions how everything is going on the rooftop of the Hu+g Museum.
  • Planting and Harvesting Rice with Local Elementary School Students

    Planting and Harvesting Rice
    with Local Elementary School Students

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