Natural bounty provided by biodiversity (ecosystem services) is the basis of our lives and business activities. A business model in consideration of biodiversity supports the sustainability of the entire society, which includes companies as well. At the MS&AD Insurance Group, the action plans in the MS&AD Basic Environmental Policy explicitly include approaches to preservation of biodiversity and we promote our approaches.
Signing the Natural Capital Declaration
In July 2016, the MS&AD Insurance Group signed to the Natural Capital Declaration.
Research and Educational Activities
We are conducting a study on what we should do to protect biodiversity, and disseminating widely the importance of protecting biodiversity.
Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity (JBIB)
April 2008 saw the establishment of the Japan Business Initiative for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (JBIB), which serves as a network for joint research by companies concerned about preserving biodiversity and making sustainable use of natural resources. Ever since its establishment, MSI has been supporting the JBIB's activities as the chair company.
JBIB, to provide references for environmental efforts to companies in Japan, develops guidelines for land use and raw material procurement caring biodiversity and discloses results of the studies. The activities of JBIB were referred to in “National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan 2012-2020”. JBIB is highly regarded as one of the bodies with which the government should pursue further collaboration and cooperation. JBIB participated in the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) held in Mexico in December 2016. It is bolstering its presence in efforts for biodiversity preservation by exchanging information with “the Mexican Alliance for Biodiversity and Business”.
Symposium "The Story of Biology Told by Companies"
Since 2007, MSI has been holding a symposium "The Story of Biology Told by Companies" for corporate staffs as an enlightenment for companies in approaching biodiversity.
In March 2017, 10th symposium was held with the co-sponsorship of Ministry of Environment, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Chiyoda City, Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation, and the special cooperation of JBIB and InterRisk Research Institute & Consulting. In the 10th symposium held this year, based on the latest trends of the SDGs and natural capital and achievements and challenges identified by the COP13 took place in 2016, we took into consideration efforts for biodiversity conservation toward 2030 and legacies after that. We also provided lectures on initiatives for new value creation focusing on National Resilience of Japan and cooperation between companies and government from the perspectives of the heads of government and management. In addition, we organized three subcommittee dialogue for the themes; "The focus of companies’ attention: natural capital to create value for the next generation," "Ideal urban cities to sustain a green economy," and "Green Resilience." Experts and person in charge of companies already making efforts delivered presentations on actual cases and exchanged opinions. The dialogues were well received by more than 220 participants while some described it as a valuable opportunity to contemplate on what roles companies should play in the biodiversity conservation.
ABINC Certification Business Support
MSI takes a role as Chairman company in JBIB (Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity) who formulated "JBIB Guidelines for Sustainable Business Sites." ABINC founded in 2013 is an organization that evaluates and certifies efforts related to biodiversity based on the guideline. The scope of evaluation covers from quantity and quality of green spaces of companies and factories to management and environmental activities. By FY2016, 46 facilities are certified by the certification system. As the secretariat, InterRisk Research Institute & Consulting contributes to certification business and dissemination activities.
Participation in Symposium on Utilization of Natural Capital
MSI participates in the Green Resilience Working Group as a member of Association for Resilience Japan. "Green Resilience" is to promote disaster prevention and region revitalization through proper placement and management of natural capital. This concept is starting to attract attention, such as being listed as a keyword in the Action Plan for National Resilience 2017.
We support the promotion of Green Resilience through convening the Green Resilience Symposium in May 2016, and awarding advanced organizations with the 1st Green Resilience Grand Prize in March 2017.
Activities for Preservation of Biodiversity
Triggered by the establishment of the MS&AD Insurance Group in 2010, we launched our biodiversity conservation activities with a focus on wetlands, positioning this as the Group's environmental initiative. Employees across the country are engaged in volunteer activities in this area. We are also engaged in various other activities aimed at protecting biodiversity, such as regenerating Indonesia's tropical forests with their rich biodiversity, and paying attention to biodiversity for the green spaces around our office buildings.
Biodiversity Preservation by Sumaho, “Animal Alert Function Service by Smartphone”
In cooperation with InterRisk Research Institute & Consulting, MSI offers a smartphone service that calls users attention by an audio alert when a car approaches areas prone to accidents involving wild animals. The service was developed because traffic deaths, so called roadkill, is one of the reasons for the declining number of endangered species, and finding an effective measure had been an issue for local communities and the Ministry of Environment. A collision with a large mammal can be a significant automobile accident and cause damage, which the service contributes to the safety of automobile drivers. The scope of the service was expanded to medium and large-sized mammals including deer and raccoon, and the service is offered in six prefectures in addition to Okinawa Prefecture (Okinawa Rail or Iriomote Wildcat), Kagoshima Pref. (Amami Rabbit) and Nagasaki Pref. (Tsushima Wildcat). The scope of the target animals and services will be expanded gradually to cover wider areas of Japan.
"MS&AD Ramsar Supporters"
The MS&AD Insurance Group has been conducting “MS&AD Ramsar Supporters: Life–Connect–From the Waterfront” initiative, which is a waterside environmental preservation initiative focused on the Ramsar Convention registered wetlands. The initiative, which started in fiscal 2010, has now expanded to activities at 11 wetlands across the country, with about 1,800 group employees and their families participating. Departments and branches are also active. In fiscal 2015, to practice "wise use" which is advocated by the Convention, we started to grow rice in "Fuyumizutanbo," (winter rice-paddies) at Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture which is good for living creatures. Employees and their families participated in activities to experience the fun of growing rice and the joy of interacting with living creatures.
Supporting the Regeneration the Forests and the Creation of a Sustainable Local Communities (Indonesia)
MSI has promoted the tropical rain forest recovery project in Yogyakarta, on Indonesia's Java Island.
Since 2005, in cooperation with the Department of Forestry of Indonesia, we have planted approximately 300,000 trees to restore and rehabilitate wildlife sanctuaries, which deteriorated due to illegal logging by local residents during the economic crisis in the second half of the 1990s. Agricultural technical guidance to help the local residents gain even greater financial independence as well as environmental education for teachers of elementary schools have been implemented, in order to regenerate the forests and build sustainable local communities. These efforts receive high evaluations from the Indonesian government. We started the Phase III project in April 2016, and we are working to revitalize regional economies and conserve protected forests by providing afforestation and forest guidance to local residents. In October 2016, the second phase completion ceremony was held in Yogyakarta with guests from Yogyakarta Special Governor, Indonesia Financial Services Authority and Embassy of Japan in Indonesia. In addition, the tour for employees that began in fiscal 2014 will be the third in fiscal 2016, and by visiting the regenerated forests and exchanging with local elementary schools that our overseas entities continuously support, we are deepening our understanding of social contribution efforts.
The Green Area at the Surugadai Building
The green area at the Surugadai Building became the first building in downtown Tokyo in 2011 that was certified as Superlative Stage, which is the highest rank in "Social and Environmental Green Evaluation System (SEGES) " managed by "Fund for Greening in Cities". And it has obtained maintenance certification in 2016 as well. It was highly rated that the Surugadai Green Area PT formed in 2003, where concerned departments and both internal and external experts with expertise for green space management cooperate, and runs “the Green area management system”. In the selection of trees, special care is given to choose types in addition to the local species that birds and butterflies prefer in consideration for biodiversity. As a result, we now have been able to observe wild birds such as Varied Tits and Black-faced Buntings. Surugadai Building and Surugadai New Annex collectively work as green bases to form “an Ecological Network” that connects the Imperial Palace and Ueno Park to expand habit ranges of wild birds.
In recognition of these biodiversity-friendly activities, MSI Surugadai Building and Surugadai New Annex obtained “the Business Innovation in Harmony with Nature and Community Certification” run by “the Association for Business Innovation in Harmony with Nature and Community” in February 2014. In 2016, they received the excellence award, the highest rank among offices certified in “the first ABINC award”.
In addition, the green areas that have a hierarchical structure of trees have beneficial effects on retaining rainwater and mitigating urban water flood. In a calculation, the roof garden only is capable of retaining 750 tons of rainwater, which is equivalent to a three-hour shower precipitating at 100 millimeters per hour. These multilateral functions of the green areas were recognized and awarded the excellence award in “the First Green Resilience Award in 2016”.
Awareness Activities for Local Communities and the Society
Approximately 40,000 employees work at the MS&AD Insurance Group. In order for the Group to promote environmental and social contribution activities, we believe that it is necessary to continue implementing educational activities for our employees, who are the main actors in these activities.
Out-reach programs on Wetland Biodiversity
In order to promote education about the environment, the MS&AD Insurance Group produced an educational program on the environment in 2014, which comprises six sets of video materials and Q&A. Using this material, we began conducting outreach programs. We prepared a celluloid sheet and handbook for distribution to each child, as well as a life-size stuffed migrating bird to enjoy learning by real experience. In fiscal 2016, we gave classroom lessons in seven locations in Japan, and 150 elementary school students participated in them. Going forward, we will continue engaging in Community Education Public Awareness (CEPA) activities to preserve biodiversity in the wetlands as set out in the Ramsar Convention.
Communication Activities at ECOM Surugadai
“ECOM Surugadai”, which opened in May 2012, is an environmental communication space to disseminate various information on the environment and nature. In the space where solid wood of Yoshino hinoki cypress are used for the walls, users can enjoy the green areas in front while being surrounded by an interior and furniture made of selected woods. Photo exhibitions and events related to nature and living creatures are organized monthly based on themes related to the nearby area and green spaces.
We are actively engaged in collaborating with Universities. For instance, Surugadai green spaces act as research areas to support universities looking into biodiversity in urban areas, and the impact of green spaces on the mitigation of the heat island phenomenon.