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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.

Tesso Nilo National Park in Sumatra is still illegally occupied, and deforestation for the development of large-scale oil palm farms has not ceased. The WWF has been patrolling illegal occupations since 2016 and has confirmed that the speed of deforestation has slowed by about 1,000ha per year.

In 2017, in order to support the local honey industry, the WWF carried out a forest recovery project on 5 hectares around trees where honey bees nest in the village of Gunung Sahilan, about five kilometers from the national park. In addition, aiming to support sustainable production and utilization of natural rubber, training in production methods was conducted for 25 farmers from seven villages.

Furthermore, in order to raise awareness of environmental conservation throughout the region, the WWF has supported Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)* at three elementary schools. Starting with introducing local environmental problems in school classes in 2014, people made challenges to make handicrafts or recycled paper with waste materials and to make compost utilizing garbage. In addition, they conducted some activities to develop vegetable gardens and promote greening in schools in 2016. In 2017, the WWF opened an ESD material center in the schools’ libraries and donated electronics and books so that parents and local people can learn about the environment.

*Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an activity aimed at promoting values and actions that lead to solutions to various issues in the world, such as the environment, poverty, human rights, peace, and development, as well as creating a sustainable society.

2. Forest preservation in the Russian Far East

The coastal region of Far East Russia boasts nearly double the area of Hokkaido Prefecture in Japan, and forests occupy more than 70% of it. However, due to artificial causes, such as illegal logging and forest fires, the diversity of the forests has been significantly diminished, including for example, the loss of approximately 4,810 square kilometers of forests and a drastic reduction in the kinds of animals and plants.

The WWF has conducted a number of protection activities, such as banning the logging of trees that are food for herbivorous animals and expanding protection areas in tigers’ habitat to 1.5 million hectares (the same area as Iwate Prefecture in Japan). Still, the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard are in danger of extinction.

In 2017, WWF held training on measures against illegal logging for police officers and forest officials of local governments. After explaining the annual logging volume allowed and the rule on logging place assignment, the WWF gave practical training regarding methods to measure forest resource and logging volume. In addition, they established a training facility at the Forest Research Institute for Academy of Agriculture where people can learn how to monitor forests using satellite images.

Additionally, in recent years, wild Siberian tigers have more often appeared in villages and even urban areas to seek for food. In 2016, a young tiger appeared in Vladivostok City and was caught and then transferred to a rehabilitation center. The tiger’s health condition was good, but it did not have the ability to hunt in nature, so it had to be trained in hunting at the rehabilitation center. In May 2017, more than half a year after captured, the tiger was returned to the wild in Bikin National Park.

Participation in Reforestation Activities through Present Trees

In order to reduce paper usage the Kumon Institute of Education has instituted such policies as having Instructors submit reports via computer rather than paper and order materials and items via computer. We have created a system where Instructors earn Green Points in this way. The Green Points that are earned can be donated to the NPO Environmental Relations for “Present Trees” that are used for reforestation.

In FY2017, we donated to forestation activities in Osaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan. The planting area is located in the Naruko-onsen Onikobe district near the prefectural border of Yamagata and Akita. This was the area temporarily suspended from accepting cattle due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. We planted broadleaf tree seedlings, to make a corner of grassland traces where weeding is no longer done due to a decrease in the demand for grass, again returning it to natural forest.

Together with the Instructors of 16,200 Centers in Japan, KIE will promote the reduction of paper use through Green Point activities and participate in conservation activities for forests through Present Tree.

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