Policy on Biodiversity
The Mitsubishi Estate Group has implemented a policy of reducing and avoiding the impact and fostering harmony between nature and human society as part of the Mitsubishi Estate Group Basic Environmental Policy. Through its business activities, the Group considers biodiversity and promotes the creation of an attractive society in harmony with nature.
In addition, the Group does not engage in development in areas designated as World Heritage Sites or in areas designated as I through IV under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). When the Group engages in development of land likely to have an impact on biodiversity, it consults with governments, NGOs, and other external partners to take appropriate mitigation measures and remedial action.
In accordance with these policies, all Group companies consider biodiversity in the course of their business activities and develop biodiversity-friendly initiatives cooperating with NPOs and other external partners. The Group also promotes obtaining the Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community's ABINC certification at properties with a certain amount of green space.
Through such initiatives, the Group strives to achieve a net positive impact. The Group also asks tier 1 suppliers as well as non-tier 1 suppliers to take similar initiatives aimed at a net positive impact as it works to achieve its goals throughout the value chain.
Goals and Achievement Status
As part of its efforts to ensure development in tandem with consideration for biodiversity, the Group promotes projects while holding hearings with governments and other external stakeholders starting from the project concept stage in order to comply appropriately with various environment-related laws and regulations (Forest Act, Urban Park Act and Natural Parks Acts, and Nature Conservation Act, etc.)
For example, before development, the Group works with governments to survey and provide specific protection for rare species, relocating them if necessary and periodically monitoring and reporting on them after relocation. For large-scale developments, the Group conducts an evaluation of the impact on the surrounding environment (an environmental assessment) in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.
Moreover, Mitsubishi Estate Residence, which works on housing projects, has implemented the BIO NET INITIATIVE* as a program to plant trees and plants in a manner that will consider preserving biodiversity for all of its condominiums to be developed under The Parkhouse, the mainstream brand for the company's built-for-sale condominiums, regardless of the project size and land area. In implementing the initiative, the company has prepared biodiversity preservation guidelines composed of five main actions.
The guidelines incorporate actions such as not using invasive plants including specified foreign organisms and invasive alien species defined by the government, confirming the local plants around the project site and nurturing vegetation that is suitable for the area, and reducing chemical spaying as much as possible to lessen impact on earthworms and mole crickets, in addition to promoting the growth of plants utilizing the vital energy of the soil. The plan is to reduce the impact on the habitat of plants and animals in the area around the development and provide stopovers for diverse organisms through planting and maintenance.
In this way, the program provides an environmentally-friendly habitat for these diverse organisms while reducing the impact on biodiversity, and thereby strives to achieve a net positive impact, including the creation of habitat for plants and animals in the surrounding area.
As of May 2020, there were more than 175 projects nationwide where BIO NET INITIATIVE has been adopted.
Five Actions and Specific Examples
|(1) Protect||- Do not use invasive plants such as specified foreign organisms and invasive alien species defined by the government.|
|(2) Nurture||- Confirm the local plants around the project site and nurture vegetation that is suitable for the area.
- Use Japanese native species for at least 50% of plantings.
|(3) Connect||- Help to secure stopovers for birds and butterflies flying in the area by creating an affinity with street greenery in the neighborhood and incorporating local native species.|
|(4) Utilize||- Reduce heavy pruning as much as possible and utilize the natural shapes of the trees.
- Reduce chemical spraying as much as possible to lessen impact on earthworms and mole crickets, in addition to promoting the growth of plants utilizing the vital energy of the soil.
|(5) Reduce||- Control the incidence of weeds and reduce weed control costs through dense plantings of low shrubs and ground cover and the spreading wood chips, etc. on the surface to reduce exposure of the soil.|
- The initiative commenced in February 2015.
See the following for more information on efforts related to the BIO NET INITIATIVE.
Initiatives in the Marunouchi Area
Working to Improve the Waterfront Environment and Preserve the Ecosystem of the Imperial Palace Moat
In recent years, the biota of the Imperial Palace moat had become degraded, hindering the natural generation of its native water plants. In October 2017, Mitsubishi Estate signed an agreement with the Ministry of the Environment to promote use of natural resources of the Imperial Palace Outer Garden, and launched the Moat Project in May 2018. The project aims to improve the waterfront environment of the Imperial Palace moat and conserve the endangered rare water plant species. This is the first such project for a private company, implemented through a collaboration with NGOs and other institutions, including the Ministry of the Environment, the Nature Conservation Society of Japan, the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) Center for Climate Change Adaptation (CCCA), and the Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba.
Flora and fauna taken from the moat are transferred to a container biotope atop a building owned by Mitsubishi Estate or Hotoria Square*, thereby preserving it outside the area as alternatives to the Imperial Palace water environment.
Rare dragonflies such as the red damselfly are congregating in ponds where the water plants are transplanted, and the restoration of the Mizohakobe (waterwort) (Elatine triandra var. pedicellata), previously regarded as extinct in the 23 wards of Tokyo on the Tokyo Red List 2010, was successfully reintroduced in fiscal 2019.
In addition to restoring and preserving the water environment, including the rare flora and fauna, the project aims to build a biodiversity network in the neighborhood around the moat, thereby revitalizing the ecosystem that was once widespread in the area, as well as utilizing these activities to create a more attractive city.
- Hotoria Square is an eco-friendly green space of approximately 3,000 square meters located at the foot of the Otemachi Park Building and Otemon Tower-ENEOS Building in front of the Imperial Palace Outer Garden. Plantings mainly consist of native and local species that are found in the grove of the Imperial Palace. Also found in the square are a gently sloping body of water, stone walls, and nesting boxes for birds. Through these initiatives, Mitsubishi Estate is promoting environmental improvement and ecosystem preservation in the Marunouchi area of Tokyo.
Biomonitoring in the Marunouchi District
The Marunouchi District is bordered by the Imperial Palace and moat, Hibiya Park, and other green spaces that conserve the precious natural ecosystem in this urban neighborhood, making it a good place to observe varied animal and plant life throughout the year. Mitsubishi Estate has been running a biomonitoring survey in the Marunouchi district since 2009, in collaboration with the NPO Center for Ecological Education. It compiled the results of the survey and published the Marunouchi Living Things Handbook in June 2013. The Handbook provides information about the abundance of nature in the district and also suggests ways in which individuals can help protect biodiversity in their own areas. By doing so, the Handbook aims to function as a PDCA tool for ecosystem management in the district.
This initiative received positive feedback and won the Japan Committee for UNDB Award in the Tokyo Region Biodiversity Contest, held at the GTF Green Challenge Awards 2013 organized by the GTF Greater Tokyo Festival Executive Committee. The company will press on with its efforts to preserve biodiversity in the future.
Initiatives in Other Areas
Mitsubishi Estate Residence Obtains ABINC Certification (Condominium Category)
Mitsubishi Estate Residence has continued to obtain the Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community's ABINC certification in the condominium category, certified annually since 2014, when this particular category was first launched.
Mitsubishi Estate Residence has been promoting BIO NET INITIATIVE, a biodiversity preservation program since February 2015 at The Parkhouse, the mainstream brand for the company's built-for-sale condominiums. Under this initiative, the company develops greenery plans for each condominium premise in a manner that will help preserve biodiversity. The company aims to obtain ABINC certification (condominium category) with projects that demonstrate particularly high levels of contribution to preservation of biodiversity.
We will continue to make efforts in environmentally friendly urban development and residential development for the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable use.
About ABINC certification (condominium category)
ABINC certification (condominium category) evaluates and certifies efforts at companies such as the creation of green spaces that consider biodiversity and the management and use of green spaces, from the four perspectives of creating environments that contribute to biodiversity, maintenance and management that considers biodiversity, communication activities, and other initiatives. Specifically, the 18 categories below have been established as the criteria for evaluation.
18 categories of ABINC certification (condominium category)
1Size of area that contributes to biodiversity
2Cubic volume of greenery
3Creation of cohesive green spaces
4Depth of soil that supports plants
5Harmony with surrounding environment
6Creation of vegetation that is rooted in the community
7Creation of high-quality rooftop and wall greenery that contributes to preservation of biodiversity
8Consideration of animal habitat and movement routes
9Appropriate management of types and volumes of chemical substances used
10Consideration of water environment
11Consideration of the material cycle
12Monitoring of indicator organisms
13Measures to counter non-native species
14Qualifications of managers, etc.
15Collaboration with the community and experts
16System of resident, management association, and residential management trustee initiatives
17Promotion of environmental education programs
18Preservation of rare local species
See the following for information on ABINC certification status.
Conservation and Protection Activities to Pass Down the Nature of Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture to the Next Generation
Shimojishima Airport Management, a member of the Mitsubishi Estate Group, has been operating the passenger terminal facilities at Miyako Shimojishima Airport Terminal in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, since March 2019. The Mitsubishi Estate Group initiated in July 2018 new activities to protect the rich natural environment of the Miyakojima area.
In May 2019, we collaborated with Miyakojima City, The Nature Conservation Society of Japan, the non-profit organization Miyako Island Sea Environmental Network, and Wild Bird Society of Miyako, among others, to conduct environmental conservation activities. Some 50 Mitsubishi Estate Group employees took part.
As part of the activities, we have been working to protect the grey-faced buzzard, an endangered migratory bird that migrates to Miyakojima. The area around Miyakojima is one of the most diverse bird habitats in Japan, and there have been confirmed sightings of grey-faced buzzards from all over Japan congregating and resting their wings in an area near the airport during October. We are establishing a forest suitable for grey-faced buzzards in which to rest. We also conduct clean ups of beaches where marine trash and microplastic flotsam are major concerns along with environmental training for Group employees to learn about the nature of Miyakojima.
The Mitsubishi Estate Group will continue to promote protection of the rich natural environment as well as development of the local economy.
Environmental training (fiscal 2019 event)
Beach cleanup to remove trash drifting in from Japan and overseas (fiscal 2019 event)
Sunshine Aquarium Coral Conservation Activities
Sunshine Aquarium, operated by the Mitsubishi Estate Group, is an urban aquarium located in a high-rise building, and it is the first of its kind in Japan. Conceived as an "oasis in the sky," its considerable ingenuity reveals the true form of living creatures in dynamic exhibitions that provide the sensations of the sky, light, water, and greenery. Since opening in 1978, it has served the four roles of an aquarium: social education, recreation, research, and nature protection. The aquarium is particularly focused on the conservation and protection activities and it has provided visitors with "impressive discoveries" to stimulate their interest in the biological environment. As part of its conservation efforts, the aquarium in 2006 launched the Coral Project in cooperation with Onna Village in Okinawa Prefecture, and has been implementing two initiatives: the Coral Restoration Project and the Coral Reef Regeneration Project.
The coral reefs, which are the symbol of Okinawa's rich marine environment, are in a gradual decline due to factors such as coral bleaching caused by warming and abnormal occurrences of the crown-of-thorns starfish, the natural enemy of coral. The decline of coral also risks the destruction of the surrounding marine ecosystem, leading to seas that will be uninhabitable for living creatures. In order to remedy this situation, Onna Village in Okinawa Prefecture has been implementing coral conservation activities, led by the fishermen's cooperative, since 1969. In support of these activities, Sunshine Aquarium launched a permanent exhibition on the coral of Onna and commenced the Coral Restoration Project, under which the aquarium grows coral in tanks and then returns it to the seas of Okinawa. This makes it possible to preserve the DNA of the coral of the Onna Village even if the coral in the Onna sea is damaged due to natural disaster or environmental degradation. Since 2014, the aquarium has also implemented the Coral Reef Regeneration Project, which aims to regenerate coral reefs via sexual reproduction, with the fertilization of coral eggs by sperm. The aquarium will continue these activities into the future with the hope of restoring the coral reefs.
Coral returned in the Coral Restoration Project
Coral spawning in the Coral Reef Regeneration Project
Initiatives at MARK IS Minatomirai
MARK IS Minatomirai is a commercial complex located in the Minatomirai area of Yokohama, Kanagawa. Based on the concept of a "life entertainment mall," it offers a variety of products and services so that all shoppers can enjoy a relaxing visit and find what they need to lead fulfilling lives.
Everyone's Garden is a nearly 1,000m² rooftop garden on the fifth floor that brings a lush green space to the city environment of Yokohama. Here, visitors will find a diverse variety of plant life with approximately 80 species, including over 30 types of fruit trees including citrus varieties, and various garden vegetables. In addition to the orchard and vegetable garden, there is also a vegetable garden terrace that visitors can use for things discovered and picked in the garden.
Everyone's Garden is a casual venue that offers city dwellers a rare chance to commune with the earth and nature. It is designed and operated as a place to be enjoyed by visitors while preserving biodiversity and significantly contributing to the environment.
Vegetable garden terrace
- Facility operation and management: Mitsubishi Jisho Property Management Co., Ltd.
Vegetable garden management: Green Wise Co., Ltd.
Biodiversity preservation initiatives at Everyone's Garden
- 1. Biodiversity conscious planting
The diverse environmental plan includes over 30 types of fruit trees, vegetation that bears fruit for creatures and serves as sources of nectar, along with vegetable gardens and small rice paddies, etc.
- 2. Human and creature friendly plant care methods
Garden management methods are planned and utilized to both care for the plants and create an environment where people, small birds, and insects can gather and rest.
- 3. Designed to attract living creatures
The garden is designed as an environment where small birds can feed, rest, and raise their young, coexisting with insects while exerting a positive influence on plants
- 4. Activities that teach about living things in a fun way
Rather than conventional environmental activities, activities are planned in a way so that visitors can enjoy nature while resulting in contributions to the environment.
- Check the MARK IS Minatomirai website for the latest event information, measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and opening hours. (Japanese only)
Watch the following video clip to learn more about living creatures at Everyone's Garden (Japanese only)
MARK IS Minatomirai
MARK IS Minatomirai is ABINC certified by the Association for Business Innovation in harmony with Nature and Community.