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Environmental Preservation with External Partners

Kumon Forest Foundation

The Kumon Group has made donations to various environmental organizations. In 2014 we established the Kumon Forest Foundation and built a system to provide our continuous support to these organizations dedicated to environmental preservation.

At the Kumon Group, we use an extremely large volume of paper for creating worksheets, among other purposes. Therefore, we have declared “not to waste paper resources” to be our chief environmental challenge. Kumon staff members have worked as a team to use environmentally friendly paper and to recycle used paper.

From now on, we will also strive for the reduction of our own environmental burden and, by promoting forest resource preservation with external partners through the Kumon Forest Foundation, we will continue to make contributions to the preservation of the global environment and the realization of a sustainable society.

Support for WWF Japan forest preservation activities

Through the Kumon Forest Foundation, the Kumon Group started to give our support to WWF Japan in 2014. WWF Japan is a member of the WWF Network, which is an organization for global environmental preservation operating in over 100 countries worldwide.

The WWF was established in Switzerland in 1961. Its mission is to protect biodiversity around the globe and to reduce the human burden on nature and wildlife. Forest preservation is one of them.

In addition to fieldwork, such as surveying and protecting rare species and reforestation through tree planting, WWF Japan works toward the goal of sustainable forest preservation by supporting local communities and the responsible purchasing of raw materials in Japan. It also conducts promotional and educational activities through the development of environmental educational programs and the organization of seminars and other events related to the environment.

WWF Japan supports forest preservation activities worldwide through its global network and also works on environmental education. Through education, Kumon also aims to make contributions to local communities and countries around the globe. Therefore, since we understand their activities, we also decided to support WWF Japan.

1. Forest preservation in Indonesia

Fully 75% of the copy paper that we import comes from Indonesia. However, massive deforestation and the expansion of plantations have been promoted in Indonesia,
halving the size of rainforests that used to cover whole islands just 30 years ago.

Throughout Indonesia, including Tesso Nilo, which is located in the middle of Sumatra, WWF Japan has been working for reforestation, the protection of wildlife, and supporting the crackdown on illegal actions. It also promotes the responsible purchasing of wood.

Even in Borneo, which has rich biodiversity that enables us to discover new species even in recent years, forest destruction progressed rapidly until about 50% of forests had been diminished by 2005. Under such conditions, in 2013, in Kalimantan Timur of Borneo island, the Sumatran rhinoceros, which was believed to be extinguished, was found. Receiving this report, WWF Japan strengthened its patrols to prevent poaching and to promote communication with local people and corporations toward the species’ protection.

In addition, to assist with regional development, WWF Japan conducts training on Education for Sustainable Development for the local teachers of elementary and junior high schools, showing the expansion of environmental education approaches. For students, it conducts lessons for environmental education to teach the importance of forest preservation and the protection of wildlife.

2. Forest preservation in the Russian Far East

Japan imports a large amount of wood from the Russian Far East, an area neighboring Hokkaido across the Sea of Japan. Even in protected forests, a large volume of logging and human-caused fires have occurred, greatly damaging the diversity of forests and rapidly decreasing the number of plant species.
In the forests of limited kinds of trees, the number of herbivores has decreased, due to the lack of food, endangering the survival of leopards and tigers that eat them.

To protect the natural woodlands that are home to endangered animals, such as the Amur leopard and Manchurian tiger, WWF Japan takes measures such as monitoring illegal logging and smuggling, as well as preventing forest fires by building fire belts in grass fields near forests and woodlands.

In addition, they proposed having the forest along Bikin, which has a huge virgin forest often called the “Amazon of Russia,” as a protected region. Consequently, in 2015, Bikin National Park was born, protecting the tradition of natives and the nature of the virgin forests.

By protecting and recovering wildlife and their environment, we can reclaim the various ecosystems that forests originally possessed and bring them down to the future.

In order to protect these forests, the raw materials for the paper that is indispensable for our students’ learning, we at the Kumon Group will keep supporting sustainable forest preservation activities.

Forestation through Gift Trees

In order to reduce paper usage, Instructors in Japan submit reports through the Center system and order worksheets and items on the website. By doing this, Instructors can receive Green Points and donate them for the tree-planting program “Gift Trees,” organized by NPO Environmental Relations.

In 2015, we donated to the forestation activities held in Miyako City of Iwate Prefecture, whose purpose was to develop “trees attracting fish *1” and the reconstruction of disaster-affected area. In three years, 1,119 trees were planted in an area of 0.4ha, which is about one-third the size of the grounds of Koshien Baseball Stadium.

In 2016, we will make a new donation to promote forestation in Hirono-machi of Fukui. We hope that this green area will be a place not only for disaster prevention, but also for regional development.

KIE, with Instructors from 16,600 Centers in Japan, will promote the reduction of paper used in daily business through Green Point activities and join in activities through Gift Trees to preserve forests that nurture the materials we need to make paper.

*1.Forests that have a positive impact on the inhabitation and growth of fish and shellfish. Insects and microbes that come to the trees drop into the water and become food for fish and shellfish. Also, the trees cast big shadows on the water’s surface, creating dark places favorable for fish.

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