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Communicating Environmental Commitment

Biodiversity

Brother Group's biodiversity conservation policy

To maintain the health of Mother Nature which sustains humankind, it is essential to implement measures against global warming and ensure biodiversity  conservation and sustainability. The Brother Group launched greening activities in 1966, and started to work on biodiversity conservation through activities to plant seedlings, etc. in 2005.

The Nagoya Protocol  and Aichi Biodiversity Targets were adopted at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity ("CBD-COP10") held in Nagoya, Aichi in October 2010. In response, the Brother Group added a new commitment: "We will endeavor to reduce our impact on the ecosystem and to conserve biodiversity in all our operations." to the Action Guidelines in the Environmental Policy  in FY2011 (April 1, 2011-March 31, 2012). In FY2012 (April 1, 2012-March 31, 2013), the Brother Group established a biodiversity conservation policy, and the scope has been expanded to cover activities in all business operations.

Basic policy

To help build a sustainable society, the Brother Group will endeavor to reduce the impact of its operations on biodiversity and ensure biodiversity conservation through environmental and social contribution activities.

1. Challenges in management
The Brother Group recognizes biodiversity conservation as an important challenge for corporate survival, and works on environmental management.
2. Business operations
The Brother Group identifies the impact of all its operations (including procurement of raw materials) on biodiversity, and constantly endeavors to reduce the impact.
3. R&D activities
The Brother Group gathers information and acquires technologies regarding conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and promotes technological development.
4. Social contribution activities
The Brother Group works on biodiversity conservation activities in collaboration with stakeholders including government organizations, local residents, and NGOs.
5. Activities involving all employees
Actions are led by top management, and measures are taken throughout the company to help all employees increase their knowledge about biodiversity and encourage them to work voluntarily on conservation activities.
6. Communication
Details of activities are actively disclosed in and outside the company to raise awareness of biodiversity conservation activities.

Brother Group's commitment to Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets represent the global targets that serve as the core of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 adopted at CBD-COP10. It was agreed at CBD-COP10 to "take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity" by 2020, and actions required of respective countries were compiled as 20 items in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Based on these items, the Four Electrical and Electronic Associations'* Biodiversity Working Group, of which Brother Industries, Ltd. is a member, identified eight items that are closely linked with the environmental and biodiversity conservation activities which companies in the electrical and electronic industries can work on and make more significant contributions through active promotion. The vision for contributing to respective targets by member companies was compiled and released as the Action Guidelines for Biodiversity Conservation in the Electrical and Electronic Industries in March 2015.

The table below summarizes the main activities undertaken by the Brother Group in line with the guidelines (as of March 31, 2016).

Action Guidelines for Biodiversity Conservation in the Electrical and Electronic Industries and
the status of the Brother Group's activities
Aichi Biodiversity Targets Action Guidelines for Biodiversity Conservation in the Electrical and Electronic Industries Status of the Brother Group's activities
Target 1:
Awareness increased
People recognize the value of biodiversity and related activities. Member companies will conduct employee education on biodiversity wherever possible so that the importance of biodiversity conservation will be widely recognized. Member companies will also contribute to raising public awareness of information about their conservation activities through by cooperating with other stakeholders.
  • The biodiversity basic policy was established based on the Brother Group Environmental Policy, and all employees were informed of the policy.
  • Employees participated in the GREEN ECHO project under the auspices of the Environmental Partnership Organizing Club. They cultivated traditionally grown vegetables, etc. to become more familiar with plants. The activities helped raise the environmental awareness of employees. Showing support for the GREEN ECHO project - raising environmental awareness by growing plants
    Showing support for the GREEN ECHO project - raising environmental awareness by growing plants
  • The eco point program and Click for the Earth  donation program have been promoted. Employees and their families, as well as customers, have been encouraged to work on eco-conscious actions, and have been solicited to participate in biodiversity-related activities, etc., thereby raising environmental awareness and expanding the scope of the programs.
Target 4:
Sustainable consumption and production
All parties concerned implement their plans for sustainable production and consumption. Member companies will conduct the following activities in their production activities and supply chains at each life-cycle stage wherever possible, in order to achieve sustainable consumption and production.
  • Continuous efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in the production process
  • The provision of products and services that contribute to achieving a low-carbon society
  • Reducing the volume of waste to be landfilled
  • The 3R activities (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle)
  • The procurement of biodiversity-friendly materials, etc.
  • Resource conservation has been promoted, with reductions in size and weight, collection, and recycling of products in mind, from the development phase.
  • CO2 emissions have been reduced by increasing the energy-saving performance of electronic circuits, implementing energy-saving functions, etc., thereby promoting the prevention of global warming.
  • ISO 14001  was introduced at respective business sites. Environmental conservation activities involving all employees (e.g. energy and resource conservation, chemical substances control, waste management, water saving, prevention of pollution) have been promoted to reduce impacts on ecosystems.
  • Efforts have been made to reduce CO2 emissions and prevent global warming by increasing efficiency in energy use (e.g. electricity and fuel) at business sites and shifting to substances whose global warming coefficient is small, etc., thereby mitigating climate change and impacts on ecosystems.
Target 5:
Habitat loss halved or reduced
The loss of natural habitats including forests is at least halved, and degradation and fragmentation are significantly reduced. Member companies will, wherever possible, take social actions and conduct biodiversity-conscious management of green spaces within their business premises, as well as promote the creation of ecosystem networks around the business premises, in order to protect habitats and reduce the degradation and fragmentation of habitats.
  • In the U.K., Brother has supported reforestation activities at a former quarry site, and provided opportunities to learn that reforested areas are inhabited by various animals and plants.
     Contributing to Reforestation at a Former Quarry Site (UK) 
  • In Inner Mongolia, Brother has worked on a project to prevent desertification and promote greening, and planted seedlings of Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), a plant well adapted to the desert environment and saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron) which is resistant to dry conditions.
    Project for Combating Desertification in Inner Mongolia
     Project for Combating Desertification in Inner Mongolia 
Target 8:
Pollution reduced
Pollution caused by chemical substances, fertilizers, and pesticides is reduced to the extent that is no longer harmful. Member companies will strive for the appropriate management of chemical substances from a global perspective and reduce adverse effects on ecosystems wherever possible, in order to prevent pollution that is detrimental to ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Brother has actively promoted green procurement by avoiding chemical substances that affect the environment when procuring raw materials for products, using FSC  certified paper, etc., thereby ensuring biodiversity-conscious procurement of raw materials.
  • Efforts have been made to reduce environmental impacts due to operations at manufacturing facilities (e.g. eliminating boilers fueled by heavy oil, decomposing pollutants using catalytic combustion systems, introducing advanced wastewater treatment systems), thereby reducing the impacts on ecosystems due to the pollution of air, water, soil, etc.
Target 9:
Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Invasive alien species are controlled or eradicated. Member companies will actively work on the eradication of invasive alien species, the prevention of the introduction of invasive alien species and awareness-raising activities about the problem, particularly in the transportation of their products, in the management of green spaces within their business premises and in their social actions, in order to prevent the impacts caused by invasive alien species.
Target 11:
Protected areas increased and improved
At least 17% and 10% of the land and marine areas are designated as protected areas, etc. for conservation. Member companies will, wherever possible, conduct biodiversity-conscious green space management which contributes to protected areas within their business premises and on land owned by their companies, as well as conduct conservation activities in protected areas outside their company premises, in order to expand protected areas that are important for biodiversity.
  • In Central and South America (e.g. the Republic of Peru), Brother has supported activities to conserve tropical rainforests and protect habitats of endangered wild animals in the Amazon Basin.
     Protecting the Amazon Rainforest in Peru 
  • In Canada, Brother has supported activities to restore forests and protect habitats for wildlife, and helped prevent soil erosion and improve the water quality of the Red River Basin.
     Developing reforestation activities in Canada 
  • In Thailand, Brother has supported protection and recovery of local mangrove forests, and planted seedlings. As the mangrove forests have grown, the number of species of birds and aquatic animals has increased.
    Mangrove Reforestation Project in Thailand
     Mangrove Reforestation Project in Thailand 
Target 14:
Ecosystems and essential services safeguarded
Ecosystems that offer the blessings of nature are restored and conserved. Member companies will conduct activities for conserving and restoring ecosystems wherever possible, so that ecosystem services can be used sustainably.
  • In the U.S., Brother has supported the Replanting Our National Forests campaign to protect national forests that provide habitats for wildlife, as well as precious natural resources for construction materials, clean air, and drinking water, thereby protecting forests threatened by fire, diseases, and insects.
     Restoring precious forests by tree-planting activities in the USA 
Target 19:
Knowledge improved, shared and applied
Relevant knowledge, science and technology are improved. Member companies will work on the development and dissemination of monitoring technologies which use ICT as well as promote the accumulation of data through biodiversity monitoring wherever possible, in order to improve knowledge, the scientific base and technologies relating to biodiversity.
  • In Australia, Brother has supported a survey on the biology and ecology of manta rays (Manta birostris) which are an icon of Australia's oceans and seas and assessed the impact of marine debris on sea turtles (endangered species), in order to understand and conserve the country's unique ocean environment.
    Project Manta - to save the marine life
     Project Manta - to save the marine life 
  • In Gujo, Gifu, Japan, Brother has planted seedlings of indigenous deciduous trees such as Quercus serrata Murray and Quercus crispula Blume as well as Magnolia salicifolia (willow-leafed magnolia), which is designated as the city flower of Gujo, etc. on a former ski ground by utilizing the eco point program. Brother has conducted a survey about the impact of this activity on the ecosystem and started to review the model of afforestation activities to restore the ecosystem.
    Ecosystem Restoration Project in the Brother Forests in Gujo
     Ecosystem Restoration Project in the Brother Forests in Gujo 
  • *:   The Four Electrical and Electronic Associations consist of the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, the Communications and Information network Association of Japan, and the Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association.

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Brother Group's biodiversity conservation activities

The Brother Group started to support biodiversity conservation as part of its environmental conservation activities. As of March 31, 2016, more than 100 activities in total had been implemented to protect ecosystems in forests and oceans at 43 facilities of the Brother Group.

Click for the Earth donation program

Click for the Earth donation program

Visitors to the Click for the Earth website are requested to support environmental conservation activities that are implemented by the Brother Group in different regions of the world. One click is allowed per day for each visitor, and is counted as one point. Each year, BIL funds environmental conservation activities in the following fiscal year or later depending on the total points (1 yen per point).

Brother Industries, Ltd., Brother Sales, Ltd., Brother Real Estate, Ltd. [Japan]

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2008, the Brother Group concluded an agreement with Gujo City in Gifu Prefecture to build healthy forests. The Brother Group supports activities to plant seedlings and thin forests at Brother Forests in Gujo*1.

Employees and their families of Brother Industries, Ltd. (BIL), Brother Sales, Ltd. (Brother Sales), and customers of Brother Real Estate, Ltd. (Brother Real Estate) among others work on the activities to plant seedlings, with the help of local people. Since FY2008 (April 1, 2008‒March 31, 2009), seedlings have been planted in spring and autumn each year. As of October 2015, the total number of participants has totaled about 1,500.

Thus far, 4,802 seedlings have been planted. Participants plant seedlings of native species including Quercus serrata Murray, Quercus crispula Blume, Alnus hirsuta (which easily grows on uncultivated land), and Magnolia salicifolia (the symbol flower of Gujo City). In spring, they put back the seedlings that have been affected by the weight of snow in winter. In autumn, they plant new seedlings in areas where the old ones did not grow. Some seedlings had grown to over several meters in height, highlighting considerable results.

Through many years of activities, some areas have been found to be inappropriate for seedlings to take root. From FY2015 (April 1, 2015‒March 31, 2016), a team from the Consulting Firm for Clinical Environmental Studies, Nagoya University was asked to cooperate in reviewing measures to restore forests that are rich in biodiversity. A survey has started to confirm the survival rate of planted seedlings, growth status by species, moisture and gravel content in soil, and species of butterflies and wild birds observed in the forests, among others. BIL, Nagoya University, and Gujo City officials will hold discussions based on the survey results to determine future measures.

These activities are covered by the Brother eco point program , which has been promoted by BIL with group companies, and by the  Click for the Earth donation program *2, which customers can join on  brotherearth.com, Brother's special website  on the environment. To watch a video about the activities in FY2015, visit Environmental Views on brotherearth.com.

Carefully planting seedlings of native species
Carefully planting seedlings of native species
Surveying the height, thickness, health condition, etc. of the seedlings
Surveying the height, thickness, health condition, etc. of the seedlings
Participants of the seedling planting activity
Participants of the seedling planting activity
Image from Brother's special website on the environment on which the Ecosystem Restoration Project in the Brother Forests in Gujo is posted.
Image from Brother's special website on the environment on which the Ecosystem Restoration Project in the Brother Forests in Gujo is posted.
Number of seedlings that have been planted (2011-October 2015)*3
Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Month April October April October April October April October April October
Number of seedlings planted 350 350 350 350 250 250 250 250 250 250
  Brother Sales 146 151 176 172 201 106 100 100 100 100
  Brother Real Estate - 35 38 37 38 37 38 37 38 37

Brother Sales earns Brother eco points depending on the number of used consumables for printing equipment collected, while Brother Real Estate earns the points depending on the number of houses built. They plant the number of seedlings equivalent to the total points earned, respectively.

  • *1: "Brother Forests in Gujo" refers to three sites in Gujo City, Gifu Prefecture. In February 2008, a three-party agreement was signed among Gifu Prefecture, Gujo City, and BIL to restore the three forests, as part of "the program to build forests in collaboration with companies" promoted by Gifu Prefecture. In ten years since signing the agreement, we will plant seedlings of indigenous species on a former ski ground (8 hectares) and thin two forests (20 hectares in total) to encourage the growth of healthy forests. About 6,000 seedlings (reviewed in FY2013 [April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014]) will be planted during this ten-year period. By the end of October 2015, 4,802 seedlings (including 1,778 and 365 seedlings planted by Brother Sales and Brother Real Estate, respectively) have been planted in total.
  • *2: Visitors to the Click for the Earth website are requested to support environmental conservation activities that are implemented by the Brother Group in different regions of the world. One click is allowed per day for each visitor, and is counted as one point. Each year, BIL funds environmental conservation activities in the following fiscal year or later depending on the total points earned (1 yen per point).
  • *3: The number of seedlings planted from FY2008 to FY2010 (April 1, 2010-March 31, 2011) is indicated on p. 81 of the 2014 Brother Group Corporate Social Responsibility Report (Environmental Activities) .

Brother Industries, Ltd. [Japan]

In 2010, Brother Industries, Ltd. (BIL) signed an agreement with the Aichi Prefectural Government and other local bodies, and carried out environmental conservation activities in Chiharazawa* (about 14 hectares) in Okazaki City for five years. Chiharazawa has been designated as a nature conservation area  by the prefectural government.
These activities intended to stop the spread of moso bamboo trees, a fast-growing exotic species, and allow sunlight to reach broad-leaved indigenous trees, such as Stewartia monadelpha and Malus tschonoskii, which are rarely found on plains. From September 2010 to May 2015, employees of BIL and their families, Aichi Prefectural Government employees, and local citizens joined activities to cut moso bamboo trees in autumn, and remove moso bamboo shoots in spring each year, under the guidance of Professor Emeritus Shunsuke Serizawa of Aichi University of Education who has long worked on biodiversity conservation in this region. Now that sunlight properly reaches precious trees, an official decision has been made to complete these activities.

Before cutting moso bamboo trees (2010)
Before cutting moso bamboo trees (2010)
Activities to cut moso bamboo trees completed (2015)
Activities to cut moso bamboo trees completed (2015)

Highly evaluating the activities, Professor Emeritus Serizawa commented: "These conservation activities have produced significant results as emergency measures to stop the spread of fast-growing moso bamboo trees. Without these activities, the entire area would have quickly turned into a bamboo forest. I believe that this is one of the most successful social contribution activities by a company."

  • *:   Among the more than 500 nature conservation areas nationwide designated by the national and prefectural governments, this is the first case where a private enterprise has become involved in protecting a nature conservation area as part of its social contribution activities.