Our daily lives and economic activities are dependent on the blessings of nature (ecosystem services). The blessings of nature are supported by a stock of natural capital, and business models that consider the sustainability of natural capital support the sustainability of society as a whole, including companies.
JAL Group coordinated the relationship between the aviation industry and biodiversity in 2010. It correctly recognizes the benefits that humans and the global environment receive from biodiversity, and actively strives to conserve biodiversity and use its blessings in a sustainable manner based on following six basic concepts.
- With the understanding that the transportation of exotic living species can represent a danger to ecosystems, we work to prevent unexpected transportation.
- For the purpose of protecting rare species etc., we provide transportation services based on the features of aircraft transport for public institutions etc. when they need to transport rare species.
- In regions where we do business, we work hard to reduce our environmental impact, and minimize any impacts on the local ecosystem based on the premise of avoiding the destruction of ecosystem. If impacts are unavoidable, we will strive to maintain ecosystems by restoring or offsetting them.
- With regard to goods that are received in the course of our business activities, we work to fully understand the processes by which external companies handle, manufacture, transport, dispose of, and turn these goods to waste, with a view to not having an adverse impact such as deforestation on the ecosystem.
- We promote the protection of ecosystems as part of our social activities.
- We also share with our customers and society as a whole the importance of biodiversity, in order to expand the circle of our protective activities.
In June 2020, the JAL Group declared its goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Reducing CO2 emissions not only mitigates climate change, but also preserves ecosystems and reduces biodiversity loss. In addition to the goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions, the JAL Group has identified key initiatives on sustainability "4 areas/22 issues" and has also set targets for reducing food waste and resource (plastic and paper) usage. Reducing the use of paper resources and recycling will reduce deforestation. In addition, the use of internationally certified paper that takes forest resources into consideration preserves forests and protects the ecosystems that inhabit them. Forests absorb CO2, which contributes to climate change. Because of this close relationship between biodiversity and climate change, we are addressing both as important issues.
For example, we are engaged in various activities such as plant quarantine to prevent invasive alien species, prevention of illegal wildlife trade, and preservation of the World Natural Heritage.
Furthermore, JAL became a corporate member of WWF Japan in January 2020, supporting WWF's environmental conservation activities and promoting biodiversity conservation activities through its business activities.
Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade
In June 2018, JAL Group signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration by the United Wildlife Transport Taskforce to reduce illegal wildlife trade promoted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Illegal wildlife trade is one of the crimes on a global scale, following drugs and human traffic, where the trade amounts to several trillion yen. JAL Group has helped to protect endangered or rare species. For example, Ishigaki Airport staff found and prevented coconut crabs, an endangered species, from being taken outside the island, and Amami Airport staff noticed that rare frogs and snakes were about to be taken outside the island.
Furthermore, to fulfill our duty as an air transport operator, in February 2020 we invited a speaker from the World Wide Fund Japan (WWF Japan) to hold a workshop to deepen our understanding and extend our education on preventing illegal wildlife trade. During the workshop we studied about the current situation of illegal wildlife trade, case studies, and what to do when we discover live animals, and the like.
Going forward, JAL Group will continue to organize educational sessions for our employees and will strengthen our activities by cooperating with other related parties to share information and to eradicate illegal wildlife trade.
Official Sponsor of International Year of Plant Health 2020
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) to raise global awareness on the importance on how to protect plants from the spread of pests and diseases. JAL Group is spreading the word in and outside the company about the importance of plant protection as the Official Sponsor of International Year of Plant Health 2020 certified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
Eighty percent of the world food supply originates from plants with a food loss of 20 percent to 40 percent from plant pests. Enormous costs incur to eradicate the pests. For example, 20.4 billion yen was used over roughly 20 years to exterminate melon flies, which inflicted considerable damage to crops.
There is growing concern on the importance of plant protection with the increase of in-bound tourists. No only is it a must to take care when taking plants in and out of Japan but there are also regulations in transporting plants within Japan. For example, it is prohibited to take sweet potatoes and other plants from the Nansei Islands, namely the Amami archipelago in Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefectures, and Ogasawara Islands.
In February 2020, JAL invited a speaker from MAFF to an in-house talk event to address the damages by plant pests, plant protection, and its relationships with the aviation industry. Feedback from one of the participants was about her understanding of how important it was not only to protect humans, meat but also plants and how she would like to spread the word within the company going forward. It is critically important to stop the invasion and outbreak of pests because enormous costs incur to eradicate the bugs. Going forward, JAL Group will cooperate with related parties to communicate the importance of plant protection.
For more details on plant protection, please refer to the MAFF(Japanese)Open link in a new window website.
UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites
Several million years ago, the Amami archipelago, namely Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Iriomote Island and the northern part of Okinawa Island, drifted from the continent resulting in a rich repository of rare species such as the Amami rabbits and Iriomote cats. A movement is emerging to register and conserve the biodiversity and rich nature as a world natural heritage site. JAL Group is actively involved in this movement to register these islands by the summer of 2020.
Japan Transocean Air (JTA), Ryukyu Air Commuter (RAC), with hubs in Okinawa, and Japan Air Commuter (JAC) with a hub in Kagoshima, are in engaged in explaining and protecting the natural environment together with the region by holding in-house study groups, participating in liaison meetings on poaching and smuggling animals, erecting road signs to prevent roadkill of endangered species, establishing and promoting the Amami Trail that explores the Amami archipelago, to name a few. In 2019 they initiated a joint venture to promote world heritage sites in Okinawa and a community to promote world heritage sites in Kagoshima by engaging local communities. All participating organizations are making good use of their strengths to protect and promote the local natural environment.
Conserving Red-Crowned Cranes
Every year since 2016, Group employees have volunteered to clean and maintain the red-crowned crane's feeding grounds in Tsurui Village, Hokkaido.
JAL Photography Contest of Red-Crowned Cranes
A JAL photography contest of the endangered red-crowned cranes, the symbol of Japanese beauty, is held for everyone to express their thoughts with heartwarming messages.
Coral restoration project by enhancing sexual reproduction
One of the attractions of Okinawa is its blue ocean and coral reefs full of life. Coral reefs play various roles, such as conservation of national land and disaster prevention through the wave dissipating effect, because they are places for the coexistence and production of a wide variety of organisms, in addition to the scenic function enjoyed as tourist resources. However, recently, the deterioration of coral reefs along the coast of Okinawa Prefecture has progressed rapidly due to the bleaching phenomenon caused by the rise of sea surface temperature and the predation of corals caused by the outbreak of coral-eating starfishes.
In April 2020, Japan Transocean Air (JTA) established the “Sexual Reproduction and Coral Restoration Support Council ” together with Fisheries Infrastructure Development Center. The Council is an organization that supports coral restoration activities through enhancing their sexual reproduction. In addition to financial support, JTA has been involved in recruiting support companies and supporting the creation of public relations magazines. This time, we are planning to support the Yaeyama Fisheries Cooperative Association in Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture for six years, and we are studying a system for self-propelled coral regeneration activities in Yaeyama.The goal is to grow 10,000 seedlings by the end of FY2025.
Although the corals look like “stones”, they are colleagues of jellyfishes and sea anemones and spawn eggs once a year. The Sexual Reproduction Method means mass production of coral seedlings using artificially collected coral larvae. This method was developed and established by the Fisheries Agency, allowing massive coral seedlings without land facilities. The Yaeyama Fisheries Cooperative is put this method into practice under the technical guidance of the Council.
Restoration of coral reefs has a sustainable effect on the marine industry, which is a key industry in Okinawa Prefecture, as it provides fisheries grounds and nurseries for a variety of fish, in addition to the tourist industry including scuba diving and other marine activities.
Together with the 6 companies in Okinawa that supported the council's activities, we will continue our efforts to hand over the rich natural resources of Okinawa to next generation.
For more details on JTA's activities, please refer to the WebsiteOpen link in a new window.
To communicate the importance of biodiversity, JAL is committed to cooperate in activities for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity declared in 2011. Misia, a Japanese pop diva, reaches out on the importance of protecting biodiversity and linking it to the future through her music and various activities.