Energy-saving air conditioning, lighting
The Nichirei Group uses energy-saving equipment in its buildings, conserves energy in its offices, and uses low-emission vehicles. In the summer of 2014, we followed on from our previous year's policy of changing room temperatures and lighting levels, and were even more careful about turning off lights, and adjusted work starting and ending times.
In addition, we introduced the use of hybrid vehicles at our operating branches, began using electric vehicles at our food plants and cold storage centers on a trial basis, and use these vehicles to transport customers.
Real-time energy monitoring at technology center
In June 2011, we introduced demand controllers to monitor electricity consumption in real-time at our technology development center. The upper limit of electricity consumption can now be controlled during periods of high demand. Controllers are also used to curb the use of air conditioners, and to evaluate the operation of storage testing warehouses used for preservation testing and the cold or frozen storage of raw ingredients and test products during the summer.
As part of our yearlong initiatives we are conducting more thorough operations management of the boilers that create the steam used in our food processing equipment.
Ecology Committee Leads Environmental Resource Management
Most of the energy consumed by Nichirei Biosciences Inc. is used by its development center. For that reason, the Company set up an Ecology Committee at the center to make decisions related to environmental conservation. The committee's work entails creating a wide range of proposals for saving energy, providing feedback to the development center on matters subject to Company-wide decisions, and serving as a link between employees and the company.
These tasks are facilitated by a regularly issued bulletin, the Eco-tan News, and all employees are involved in resources management.
In fiscal 2015, the committee introduced air conditioner grills on a trial basis, in order to reduce the energy consumed by air conditioners. Designed to increase the efficiency of air conditioning, the grills are made of a special ceramic material. When attached to indoor or outdoor air conditioner units, they raise the rate of heat conversion and reduce electricity consumption. After the results of the trial proved that the air conditioner grills were effective in reducing a certain amount of energy consumption, in fiscal 2016, Nichirei Biosciences installed them throughout the entire development center. Similarly, the Ecology Committee is conducting various trials with a view to apply new technologies.
Source: Eco-tan News.
Discussion is encouraged at committee meetings.
air conditioner grill
Environmental research & protection, biodiversity conservation in Fukushima Prefecture's Urabandai area
Nichirei owns land near Lake Hibara in Fukushima Prefecture's Urabandai region, and we support research on the natural environment in the surrounding areas and environmental and biodiversity conservation based on that research.
Following the 1888 eruption of Mount Bandai, all vegetation disappeared in the Urabandai area, but one can see returning vegetation: red pine forests, white willows, reeded wetlands, and aquatic plant clusters in marshlands. The red pine forests continue to spread, having been planted in the Urabandai tablelands by people who want to see the return of greenery in the area. But our company's land, as yet unforested, provides an academically valuable area for observing virgin nature as it transitions.
Nichirei has supported the research activities carried out, since FY2011, in the Urabandai area by the Natural Symbiosis and Regeneration Department of the Practical Education Promotion Center's Research Division at the Fukushima University Graduate School of Symbiotic Systems Sciences. Since FY2013, we have been supporting the Fukushima University Graduate School of Symbiotic Systems Sciences Research Division's project, to determine research models for the preservation of natural environment in transition as a natural heritage site, namely, research on humans and the natural environment (preservation of bio-diversity) in Bandai's Asahi National park. This is not limited to company land. The results of a wide variety of research-including that on plants and insects in lakes and swamps in the Urabandai area, as well as an analysis of sediment in the bed of Lake Inawashiro in the Inawashiro area-has enabled us to confirm that several species are endangered, and to learn the partial history of the formation of Lake Inawashiro. Further, the rarity of the natural environment in these areas is becoming increasingly apparent as, for example, when a dragonfly was found with characteristics that are vastly different to those known today and which has a high probability of being a new species.
In addition, we donate to the Sparkling Water Bandai Mizumirai Fund (Inawashiro Lake/Urabandai Lake Aquatic Environment Conservation Measures Association), which promotes aquatic environment conservation in Lake Inawashiro and the Lake Urabandai basin. This fund disseminates information about the association's activities, and seeks to pass along the lake Inawashiro and Urabandai wetland areas to future generations in their pristine condition by expanding the circle of understanding and support.
Water quality surveys in the Urabandai area wetlands
The Himeshiro dragonfly: a new species?
Activities to Protect the Endangered Cypripedium
A cypripedium in bloom
The cypripedium rock orchid, designated an endangered species and once native to Nagano Prefecture's Fujimi area, has seen a significantly decreased presence in its native habitat due to over-harvesting, damage caused by wild animals such as deer, and the impact of climate change. This caused alarm among Fujimi residents, and lead to the earlier-mentioned Fujimi Cypripedium Restoration Conference.
The Nichirei Group has been part of these activities from the start and, as a result of biotechnological applications, had increased the number of plants to around 30,000 by fiscal 2011. Members of the Group and the restoration conference painstakingly grew orchids from seeds. Six years after the seeds had been sown, the orchids finally bloomed in mid-May 2014, and have continued to do so since.
Having overcome the barrier of having the orchid flower for the first time indicates that there is a possibility that the initiatives so far undertaken to restore the cypripedium will expand. It seems that major impetus has been provided for other protection activities, and that the Nichirei Group will continue to protect the cypripedium.