National

Japanese firms creating green areas to boost biodiversity at factories

JIJI

With a goal of preserving nearby ecosystems, Japanese manufacturers are stepping up efforts to create areas of greenery within the premises of their factories, which are gradually becoming resting places for birds and insects as a result.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. started creating a green area at its factory in the city of Shizuoka in spring 2016 in order to better integrate the facility with local biodiversity.

Satoyama, or woodlands near populated areas, are dotted around the factory, located some 3 km from Shizuoka Station. The company hopes to make the green area at the factory a spot where wild birds and insects can rest during their travel from one satoyama to another.

Local plant species, including longstalk holly and wild pansy, comprise the green space. The company also transferred plants that were likely to be removed due to housing developments near the factory.

Plants in the 360-sq.-meter area have different heights and blooming seasons to attract various creatures.

“I was surprised to see many butterflies (at the green area) last autumn,” a company official said.

Within the premises of Canon Inc.’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Ota Ward, there is an area called Shimomaruko no Mori (Forest of Shimomaruko), which is visited by some 30 species of birds, including thrushes and starlings.

“We created the greenery area as we aimed to make our office a place accepted by local residents, and we now see a lot of birds coming,” said Junko Kimura, a corporate social responsibility official with Canon.

The company set up a watering place for birds at Shimomaruko no Mori following advice from the Wild Bird Society of Japan. It also started to conduct biological research on birds there four years ago. In a similar move, companies on the Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture are accelerating efforts to create green areas straddling their factories. Wild rabbits and foxes live in the area