CSR Charter ⅡHarmonizing with the Environment and Contributing to Realizing a Sustainable Society
- Principle and Outline
- Adoption of Daigas Group Biodiversity Promotion Policy and Efforts to Implement it
- Consideration in Resources Development and Procurement
- Considerations Made When gas pipes Are Installed
- Consideration of Biodiversity in its Greening and Planting Activities in the Daigas Group
- Stakeholder Comment: Osaka Gas is becoming a model for the creation of green belts on plant premises using native seeds and seedlings
- Biodiversity Education for Children
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).
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 biodiversity. 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.
The importance of taking into consideration biodiversity in business activities has been emphasized under the Environmental Management System (EMS), established and operated by the Daigas Group as a way of implementing the Osaka Gas Environmental Policy, pledged by the CSR Executive in his statement, and the Environmental Action Targets, set in line with the Daigas Group Medium-Term Management Plan 2020.
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 25 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. Demonstrative experiments were conducted on a variety of themes, including energy saving for the entire building, its CO2 reductions, greenery restoration and environmental symbiosis in urban areas, ideal forms of residence that reflect diverse lifestyles, and product development. Also, many proposals and presentations that may lead to ideal multiple-unit housing in the future have been made at a time when the liberalization of the energy market has advanced. Some of the proposals have been commercialized.
Organizational Chart of Biodiversity Efforts
Biodiversity Activities at the Main Business Locations
|(A) No. of locations||(B) No. of locations
|(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.
At present, Osaka Gas operates seven 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 seven 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”, 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 Daigas Group 2016 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.
(Condominium projects which introduced planting plants while taking regional biodiversity into consideration)
- Urbanex Kobe Rokko: Nada Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
- The Urbanex Kyoto Matsugasaki: Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
- The Urbanex Kobe Okurayama: Chuo Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
- The Urbanex Rokkomichi: Nada Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
- The Urbanex Ashiya Owners: Ashiya City, Hyogo Prefecture
- The Urbanex Kobe Yamamotodoori: Chuo Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
- The Urbanex Takatsuki: Takatsuki City, Osaka Prefecture
- The Urbanex Kyoto Shijo Karasuma Terrace: Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
- Scenes Kyoto Nishioji Gojo Park Homes: Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
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 under the guidance and advice of experts.
Results of a monitoring study on butterfly species at Senboku 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.
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 FY2019, 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 30 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.
Positive comments reached us from the parents of the participants. One stated that the children had learned from the experience how tough it is to grow rice and that now they understood the importance of food. Other comments indicated how the children spoke positively of their experience upon returning home.
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.