Conservation of Biodiversity

Basic Concept

The Sumitomo Corporation Group’s business activities largely depend on the wealth of Earth’s diverse living organisms as well as from the biodiversity that is generated by their many networks. Therefore, our Environmental Policy recognizes placing great importance on preserving the environment, including the natural ecosystem and biodiversity as an important issue for us. We make efforts to understand how our business activities that may have a significant impact on biodiversity depend on such biodiversity, as well as what kind of impact such activities have on biodiversity, in order to minimize their impact on ecosystems and contribute to ecosystem restoration.


When we work on the projects that may significantly impact biodiversity, we endeavor to understand the extent of the impact and make efforts to reduce it. As one of our project sites, Madagascar possesses outstanding biodiversity, with many living organisms unique to the island. Through this mining project, we can introduce how we care for the natural environment in a location where biodiversity is the most significant issue, as well as the biodiversity offset program.

Additionally, the Sumitomo Corporation Group is promoting sustainable procurement together with diverse suppliers around the world. Therefore, we will also introduce FSC®, Bird Friendly® and other forest certificates that we have acquired based on our recognition of the importance of natural capital, as well as an environment- and biodiversity-friendly procurement mechanism.

The Ambatovy Project, contributing to the sustainable development of Madagascar

The Ambatovy Project in the Republic of Madagascar is one of the world’s largest mine development projects, with construction work continuing since 2007, to increase the supply of nickel and cobalt. This large-scale development project is attracting attention as a project that contributes not only to the stable supply of rare metals, but also to sustainable development of the local community through active support for human resource development and the local economy as well as through the protection of biodiversity and other systematic efforts for environmental consevation.

The Ambatovy Project, which involves construction and operation of many facilities, including the mining site, refining plant and pipelines, has a considerable impact on the surrounding environment. Madagascar has a unique and precious natural environment that is home to a thousand species of rare wild animals. For this reason, development and operation of the Ambatovy Project has been carried out giving full consideration to the natural environment. The project is being planned and implemented not only in line with Madagascar’s laws and regulations, but also under an environmental management system that satisfies international guidelines, including the World Bank Safeguard Policies, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards, World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and Equator Principles.

In addition to complying with these standards, the protection of biodiversity and other systematic efforts are being made for environmental conservation. One example of these efforts is a buffer zone of about 4,900 hectares established around the 1,800-hectare mine site to protect the habitats of animals. Trees that have to be cut down during the process of mine development are intentionally left to lie on the ground for a while so that organisms living in the trees can move into the buffer zone. Endangered species found in the development area and identified as requiring protection after biological research conducted jointly with international environment NGOs and other organizations are protected under various programs, including transplanting to a reserve and raising fish using a fish farming system, to minimize the impact of the project on the ecosystem.

After construction work started, the planned route of the pipeline was changed at a total of 24 locations to avoid the habitats of rare animals. The Ambatovy Project is also promoting a large-scale biodiversity offset program under the ”no net loss, or preferably a net gain” concept. The objective of this program is to offset the negative impact of the project on one ecosystem with the positive effects provided by the restoration or creation of another ecosystem. Specific activities underway or planned under this program include conserving a forest of 6,800 hectares in the Ankerana area, which has an ecosystem similar to that of the development site of the project, protecting the areas around the mine site, and replanting trees after the pipeline is buried and after the mine site is closed. The program will protect or provide protection in four conservation areas totaling more than 14,000 hectares, equivalent to 9 times the affected area, offsetting the net loss caused by the project.

These protection activities continue to be conducted in cooperation with the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP), an international organization made up of governments, companies, and biodiversity experts. Environmental conservation efforts made as part of the Ambatovy Project has been praised highly by the Madagascar government, environmental NGOs, and the BBOP Secretariat. As a company taking part in the Ambatovy Project, Sumitomo Corporation will continue to fulfill its social responsibility by working for environmental conservation and the welfare of the local community in support of the sustainable development of Madagascar.

(ref) The Ambatovy Project, One of the World's Largest Nickel Projects

Terneyles timber project

To have its forest management objectively evaluated and certified as being appropriate and as conducted with due consideration for the environment and local community, Sumitomo Corporation acquired international standard FSC® certification in 2004 for part of the 2.6 million-hectare forest owned by Terneyles based in Far East Russia. Terneyles became the first company in Far East Russia to receive FSC-FM certification*1 for part of its forest in 2004. With steady subsequent improvements in order to acquire full FSC certification, Terneyles acquired FSC-CoC (Chain-of-Custody) certification*2, which is granted to processing and distribution businesses that meet specific standards in their handling of wood from FSC-certified forests, for all of its products, from logged woods to locally laminated woods, veneer, and chips for paper, in 2011. Additionally, Sumitomo Corporation acquired FSC-CoC certification. This completed the FSC-certified chain from logging in forests owned by Terneyles to end users.

FSClicence numbers: FSC®C106397(Terneyles)、 FSC®C016535(Sumitomo Corporation)

    *1FSC-FM (Forest Management): Certification given to companies engaging in the management of forest resources and recognized as performing proper forest management

    *2FSC-CoC (Chain-of-Custody): Certification of processing and distribution processes which verifies that the wood and wood products used come from forests certified according to the FSC forest management certification. The certification is targeted at furniture manufacturers, publishers, pulp makers, and other companies that handle wood products, who desire to prove the traceability of the wood they use.

(ref) Providing the Global Market with Sustainable Wood Resources


Bird Friendly® Coffee business

To help protect biodiversity and generate stable income for farmers, the Sumitomo Corporation Group started import and distribution of Bird Friendly® certified coffee (BF certified coffee) in 2004, and since fiscal 2014, SC Foods Co., Ltd. has handled the product. Coffee trees producing BF certified coffee are grown under shade resembling the conditions of natural forests in order to conserve the environment and protect migratory birds that rest there. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in the United States set up the certification standards. Currently, 27 farms and agricultural cooperatives in 12 countries are certified, and part of the revenue is used for research and protection of migratory birds at the center.