Forest Management and Certification
Forest Management Policy (Formulated on July 17, 2009)
Mindful of its corporate mission, "Strive to contribute to the creation of a future where the aspirations of the people can be fulfilled," we are committed to carefully nurturing our forests to pass them on to the next generation.
Mitsui gives its forest the status of "assets with a high degree of public use that benefits the whole of society". As well as providing the reusable natural resource of lumber, forests can fulfill a range of socially beneficial functions if properly managed and enhanced on a consistent basis; for instance, they can purify the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, and they can act as a reservoir that stores and purifies rainwater. On the other hand, if forests are neglected and not adequately maintained, they may increase the likelihood of natural disasters and develop into a source of other social problems. Aware of the social value that its forests possess, Mitsui regards their long-term ownership and maintenance as an important social responsibility. So as to maximize the socially beneficial functions of our forests, we work to enhance these functions based on the FSC®'s Forest Management Principles and Criteria, and also SGEC's Forest Management Certification Principles and Indicators.
In its concrete activities in the context of its forest holdings, Mitsui will act conscientiously on the basis of the management policy outlined above, giving full consideration to their social significance and maintaining a strong awareness of their environmental impact. Accordingly, we will redouble our efforts in the following areas:
・Offering Forest Environmental Programs to stakeholders
・Research work and concrete action to preserve biodiversity
・Achieving sustainability in the production of wooden material as a reusable natural resource and promoting its utilization as wood biomass
Explaining how we cultivate forests that are certified by the internationally accepted FSC® Certification.
Mitsui has obtained FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) Certification for adequate management of its 74 forestlands, which constitute the largest holding by a private corporation in Japan.
What Forest Certification Means
Forest certification is issued based on assessments regarding whether certain criteria, including environmental, economic, and social aspects, are met concerning forest management processes. The spread of such certification prevents unregulated deforestation, preserves healthy forests, and helps protect the global environment. Two systems that are widely used throughout the world are FSC® certification and PEFC certification. While Japan has its own SGEC certification system, the SGEC and PEFC certifications have been mutually recognized since 2016. Mitsui obtained SGEC Certification in 2006 and FSC® Certification in 2009 for all 44,000 hectares of Mitsui's forests. We obtained SGEC Certification in 2006 and FSC® Certification in 2009 for all 44,000 hectares of Mitsui's forests. The following explanation focuses on the internationally recognized FSC® Certification. The acquisition of FSC® Certification based on international criteria verifies that forest management is conducted at an internationally high level.
The Aim of FSC® Certification
The FSC® certification is a type of certification established by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), an international NGO with a membership system that operates an international forest certification system. The goal of FSC® is to promote forest management that is appropriate from the standpoint of environmental conservation, co-existing with society, and economic sustainability. Various stakeholders participate in FSC® to impartially reflect the views of both advanced and developing countries. Certification criteria focus not only on whether the forest manager is carrying out appropriate management from an economic standpoint, but also look at consideration for the environment, maintaining favorable relationships with regional communities near the forest and other factors. When Mitsui completed the certification procedures, a survey was given to a total of 330 stakeholders in our 74 forestlands across Japan. This survey confirmed that Mitsui and our subsidiary Mitsui Bussan Forest Co., Ltd., which manages the forestlands, have built a favorable relationship with all regional communities. Under the principle of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), we continually engage in dialogue with stakeholders.
Mitsui's Forests and FSC® Certification
Mitsui has received FSC® certification for all 74 of its
forests and was the first private company in Japan possessing forests of
10,000 hectares or more to reach this milestone, and the certification of
Mitsui's forests covers the largest area in Japan. Among the different types
of FSC® certification, Mitsui has received Forest Management
(FM) certification. At the same time, Mitsui Bussan Forest received Chain of
Custody (CoC) certification for the processing and distribution of cut
lumber. Mitsui is also the largest Japanese supplier of domestic
FSC®-certified wood, which has led to a large supply of
FSC®-certified wood from the forests of Mitsui being
distributed throughout Japan.
As a member of the FSC organization in Japan, Mitsui cooperates in and contributes to various activities relating to the expansion of certification systems and their awareness-raising in Japan. We also served as a board member of FSC Japan, the incorporated NPO responsible for the management of the organization, until March 2018. Mitsui is also a member of organization's Economic Chamber, which revises the content of forest management standards developed by the FSC to reflect actual conditions in Japan. For around three years during that process, we have proactively cooperated in the task as a major forest owner, by stating comments and suggestions to reflect actual onsite conditions in the draft, as well as by implementing field tests in Mitsui's forests to verify the effectiveness of that draft. (This management standards for Japan has been approved by FSC headquarters and is scheduled to come into effect on February 15, 2019.)
- Approval and publication of forest management standards for Japan
- Field testing for the formulation of forest management standards for Japan (February 9, 2017)
- Drafting a FSC forest management (FM) standards for Japan
The commercialization process of FSC®-certified lumber