Sojitz handles food resources, marine resources, forest products, and the company’s business activities also span resource development and plant construction. We therefore recognize the importance of protecting and maintaining biodiversity that supports the ecosystems of the forests, oceans, and rivers that serve as the processing sites, mining sites, or places of origin for products.
In recent years, corporate biodiversity initiatives have received growing international attention. At the same time, stakeholders’ expectations for Sojitz have increased, and Sojitz sees conserving biodiversity as essential for sustainable business management and raising its corporate value as the Sojitz Group.
Sojitz Group has set initiatives for protecting biodiversity as one of its Key Sustainability Issues (Materiality) under “Environment” and included the preservation of biodiversity in its Sojitz Group Environmental Policy.
Biodiversity issues vary in severity depending on the region and sector, and Sojitz establishes policies to specifically target businesses in regions and sectors with biodiversity-related risks.
By preserving biodiversity, we will strive to minimize the environmental burden of our businesses.
Wood Procurement Initiatives
Sojitz recognizes various issues regarding imported wood, such as threats to biodiversity in certain areas. Sojitz Group is working together with each supplier to monitor and improve the legality of logging practices as well as promote consideration for the environment and society in areas where logging takes place, as outlined in the Sojitz Wood Procurement Policy. Specifically, Sojitz has set the following quantitative targets.
Sojitz Group will ensure that by FY2025, 100% of the wood we handle is either certified wood (Level A), or wood that has not been certified, but that we have verified as being procured through environmentally conscious methods (Level B).
*Definitions for each level
Wood was evaluated for 1) traceability back to the place of origin and 2) suitability of forest management, after which it was sorted into one of the following four levels.
- Level A：Wood confirmed to be certified wood (*) or wood confirmed to have a high level of management equivalent to certified wood
- Level B：Wood which has not been certified, but for which we have verified both traceability and suitability of forest management (i.e. that the forest is subject to environmentally and socially conscious forest management)
- Level C：Traceable wood
- Level D：Wood lacking traceability
*Wood certified under FSC®, PEFC, etc. FSC®-certified wood is given the highest score.
Measures to address the environment, including biodiversity, are deliberated by the Sustainability Committee. These policies and initiatives may then be put into action following a report to the Management Committee and Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors acts as the supervisory body providing directives on these policies.
Deliberation on all business investments and loans require projects to be analyzed and evaluated for risks to the environment and to society including biodiversity risks. A project’s value must be confirmed from a sustainability perspective prior to resolution.
The Corporate Sustainability Office is a dedicated body that supports the entire deliberation and evaluation process and is in charge of implementing directives from the Sustainability Committee. The office reviews all investment and loan proposals discussed by the Finance & Investment Deliberation Council from a sustainability perspective, including climate change.
The Sustainability Committee's activities include establishing company-wide sustainability-related policies and goals, constructing frameworks for their implementation, and monitoring various measures that utilize the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard.
Sustainability Committee Members (Current as of June 20, 2023)
Asterisk (*) indicates a Director
Double asterisk (**) indicates a Representative Director
Managing Environmental Risk for New Investment & Loan Projects
Prior to deliberating on new investment and loan projects, Sojitz requires the department applying for investment and loan approval to complete an “Environmental and Social Risk Checklist.” Using the checklist, the department confirms that they have conducted the required due diligence and taken all necessary measures to deal with potential environmental risks, such as impacts to biodiversity.
Environmental Protection and Social Contribution Initiatives in Mine Development and Operating Businesses
In mine development and operation businesses, Sojitz gives due consideration to environmental protection, health and safety management, and contribution to local communities. Mine development entails various risks, but we proceed with projects only after internally verifying that sufficient pollution and accident prevention measures are in place, which allows us to prevent risks before they materialize. Even after the mine is in operation, we work to ensure that mines are continuously operated with thorough safety and health management processes. We also strive to reduce environmental impact and promote environmental conservation through measures such as mine rehabilitation for all mines as necessary.
For example, at a Sojitz-owned open-cut coal mine in Australia we keep the topsoil that is removed for mining and use it after the mining is finished to cover up the mined area. We then work to restore the land to its original condition by planting new native vegetation. In addition, we carry out a range of social contribution activities with a focus on realizing a sustainable coexistence with surrounding communities.
Also, Sojitz secures habitat area for flora and fauna such as squatter pigeons affected by mining activities of Meteor Downs South Coal Mine, which it manages and operates. This is conducted pursuant to laws and regulations, and in accordance with its own plan that aims to conserve the species and improve their habitat.
Wood Procurement Policy Initiatives
We selected and conducted a targeted survey of wood that makes up over 80% of our total purchased wood supply in terms of monetary value, using criteria including the supplier country’s risk level, the amount of wood purchased in terms of monetary value, and suppliers’ compliance with Sojitz policies, from among Sojitz Group’s approximately 1,500 wood-related suppliers. In addition to surveying traceability and assessing environmental and social considerations, Sojitz is working to provide educational training for business partners.
Sojitz and applicable Sojitz Group companies have acquired certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an NGO that certifies sustainable forest management, and are utilizing sustainable forest resource procurement practices.
Bluefin Tuna Aquaculture Business
Sojitz established Sojitz Tuna Farm Takashima in 2008 in Takashima-cho, Matsuura City, Nagasaki Prefecture. Sojitz has since been engaged in the bluefin tuna farming business.
Sojitz Obtains SCSA Certification for Artificial Seedlings
SCSA certification is granted for producers of sustainable seedlings. Sojitz Tuna Farm Takashima has acquired SCSA certification, which ensures traceability of all the tuna shipped by the subsidiary as entirely artificially cultured tuna. Additionally, tuna farming that uses artificial seedlings can help to protect marine resources such as bluefin tuna as shortages have posed an issue in recent years.
Training Future Leaders through Sojitz’s Tuna Farm Aquaculture Business
Since May 2021, Sojitz has used its tuna farming business to provide students from Kyoritsu Women’s University and Tokyo Kasei University with an opportunity to learn about aquaculture and to experience the business environment firsthand as part of an effort to help train the next generation of professionals and leaders.
Educational activities for university students
(from an online lecture for students from Kyoritsu Women’s University)
Elementary school students observe tuna processing
Marine Products (Fisheries) Certification
Sojitz and Dalian Global Food Corporation have acquired the MSC's CoC Standard.
MSC：The Marine Stewardship Council. An international non-profit organization that seeks the expansion of sustainable and appropriate fishery management practices in order to preserve marine resources for future generations, through its certification system and labeling program.
CoC：Chain of Custody. A certification recognizing proper controls of certified fishery products and the elimination of products from non-certified fisheries, ensuring traceability of certified fishery products throughout the entirety of the production, processing, and distribution process.
Environmental Education and Training
To improve understanding of Sojitz’s EMS and the environment, Sojitz provides e-learning-based environmental education as well as training for employees responsible for environmental issues, new employees, and internal environmental audit personnel. Environmental information is also provided on Sojitz's intranet site.
Sojitz encourages employees to take the Eco Test, a certification test for environmental specialists administered by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition, Sojitz provides Group employees with seminars on microplastics and engages in beach cleanup activities at Jonanjima Seaside Park (Ōta-ku, Tokyo), which is located relatively close to Tokyo HQ.
Collaboration with Our Stakeholders
Participation in TNFD（Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures）
Sojitz participates in the forum held by Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), which is an international organization established in June 2021 with the aim of assessing and disclosing biodiversity-related risks and opportunities for corporations and financial institutions.
Endorsement of the Declaration of Biodiversity by Keidanren and Action Policy
Sojitz expresses its support for Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation’s Declaration of Biodiversity by Keidanren and Action Policy, which was revised in October 2018.
Participation in CDP Forests
Sojitz responds to the Forests questionnaire administered by CDP which evaluates forest management in the supply chains of companies. CDP is a non-profit organization that collects data from major companies across the world regarding their environmental strategies such as climate change-related initiatives. As a result of the 2022 questionnaire, Sojitz received a high score of management level (B) in Forests (timber).
Wood Procurement Initiatives
Sojitz established a goal to meet 100% wood traceability (0% of Level D) by FY2020, and the company has achieved this goal for three consecutive years from FY2018 through FY2020. Additionally, Sojitz has set a new target for FY2025 to ensure that 100% of the wood procured is environmentally conscious (Level A or Level B).