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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.

The Kumon Group uses a great amount of paper for printing worksheets and other materials. Therefore, we have been focusing on preventing the waste of paper. Staff have united in their efforts to use environmentally friendly paper, to reduce the use of paper as much as possible, and to increase the amount of paper we put out for recycling.

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 has occurred and the expansion of plantations has been promoted in Indonesia, halving the size of rainforests that used to cover whole islands just 30 years ago.

Small-scale farmers in Melawi Regency of West Kalimantan Province do not possess the appropriate knowledge regarding growing techniques or sustainable framing. Areas of forest are often cut down in order to increase productivity and expand farmed areas. The WWF has begun to collect basic knowledge regarding palm oil production. The goal is to increase the income gained by small-scale farmers in Melawi Regency through consultations and training so as to enable sustainable palm oil production.

In addition, the WWF has been providing support for ESD (Education for Sustainable Development)* programs at three elementary schools in Sumatra in order to promote increased awareness of the importance of environmental protection in local communities. The program began in 2014 with inclusion of the study of environmental problems in the school curriculum. In 2016 activities such as the production of handicrafts from reclaimed waste materials, paper recycling, and composting using food waste were carried out. In addition, vegetable gardens were planted in school yards and greenery in and around schools was increased. Workshops were carried out in 2018 by district boards of education regarding the basic concepts of Education for Sustainable Development. Efforts will be continued to take advantage of the positive effects of ESD activities at elementary schools and local communities and to encourage similar activities all over district areas.

*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 Mekong River basin

There has been a rapid loss of forest in the Mekong River basin in Mainland Southeast Asia. Animals such as tigers, elephants, and gibbons are in danger of extinction in this area. In particular, there has been a rapid expansion of natural rubber plantations since 2010. This has been a major cause of forest destruction.

The WWF has participated in the Myanmar Rubber Forum hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation and is promoting sustainable production of natural rubber. In addition, the WWF has cooperated with the Rubber Research Center of India to carry out training regarding proper tree tapping involving 200 rubber farmers in four villages. If the harvest per land area of natural rubber can be increased, then it will no longer be necessary to destroy further forest zones to increase the size of plantations. This will, in turn, improve the living standards of famers.

Further, in the border region of Thailand and Myanmar there remains a large area of forest that is an important habitat for animals in danger of extinction. In the north of this area the existence of 100 tigers has been confirmed. However, in the south of this area sufficient surveys have not yet been carried out and it is still not known how many tigers may be present.

In June of 2018 the WWF began research and set up 60 automatic cameras in 30 locations in the center of Kaeng Krachan National Park, which is located in southern Thailand. This is the largest national park in Thailand. The survey prioritized areas that had shown the largest amount of evidence of the presence of tigers. The WWF will report the number of tigers believed to be present and will propose a preservation plan for this area ranging from Thailand to Myanmar.

Participation in reforestation activities through Present Trees

In order to reduce paper usage the KIE 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 FY2018 Instructors donated 490,000 JPY. This money was given to support reforestation efforts in Fuefuki City in Yamanashi Prefecture. In recent years the Japanese red pine planted forest around Fuefuki City have suffered damage due to nematodes and to the lack of forest maintenance arising from a shortage of available workers. Damaged pine trees have been felled, converted, and then replanted as deciduous broad-leaved trees. Kumon staff have also participated in tree planting activities and hope to help contribute to maintenance of biodiversity in local areas.

Together with the Instructors of the 16,200 Centers in Japan, we will continue to reduce paper usage through the Green Points program and participate in forest maintenance activities through the Present Tree program.

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