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Home > Special Features > Vol.3 Kajima and Biodiversity
Special Features

Kajima and Biodiversity


biodiversityAmid growing concerns over the need to conserve the global environment, the term “biodiversity” is emerging as one of the leading keywords of our times.

As human beings, we depend on other life forms for our clothing, food, and shelter. It is imperative that we protect biodiversity, not only for the sake of sharing the planet with other life forms, but also to keep the planet inhabitable for ourselves.

Business enterprises, no less than governments or individuals, must address the issue of biodiversity. We are all called upon to do our part.

In 2005, Kajima was one of the first Japanese firms to adopt ecosystem conservation guidelines to govern its efforts to ensure a healthy co-existence between its construction works and the ecosystems surrounding them.

Kajima is a founding member of the Japan Business Initiative for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (JBIB), which was established in April 2008, and in May at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP9) in Germany, Kajima signed a Leadership Declaration as part of a Business and Biodiversity Initiative that was launched to facilitate the active participation of private enterprises in biodiversity conservation.

Today, Kajima is stepping up its biodiversity conservation activities to an even higher level in the conviction that all must heed the alarm bell of decreasing biodiversity and work to conserve the global environment.

According to the Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in February 2008, CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity will push average global temperatures by the end of the 21st century as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius higher than at the end of the 20th century, which would cause sea levels to rise by up to 59cm. This would in turn lead to more CO2 in the atmosphere, which would then exacerbate the problem of global warming. The Report warns about the potential to trigger this vicious cycle.

The degree of warming is more pronounced at higher latitudes, which means that ice could disappear in the Arctic Ocean during the summer, affecting the habitat of polar bears as well as other flora and fauna. Global warming is making itself felt in myriad ways, including disturbances in animal and plant populations, disappearing coral reefs, northward migration of butterfly habitats, and serious rainstorms and heat waves. Meanwhile, the destruction of primeval forests, the greatest treasure troves of biodiversity in the world, still continues.

Managing with the environment in mind -Kajima’s efforts to preserve biodiversity-

Takaaki Tsukada Executive Officer, General Manager of the Environmental Engineering DivisionConservation of biodiversity ranks alongside prevention of global warming as one of the most pressing tasks facing humankind in the 21st century. The United Nations convened 1,300 specialists for a five-year period beginning in 2001 to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of global ecosystems. The report they issued warned that environmental destruction over the past half-century resulting from human activity is weakening the capacity of the global ecosystems to continue delivering many benefits (e.g. fresh water, forest resources, disaster control, and genetic resources). It also pointed out that species are becoming extinct at an accelerating rate. In Japan, meanwhile, the Second National Biodiversity Strategy was adopted in 2002, and a social consensus has emerged regarding the importance of biodiversity and ecological conservation.

To many urban dwellers, the value of biodiversity is not readily apparent. Photosynthesis, which most of us learn about in school at some point, is a process whereby plants absorb CO2 and water from their surroundings and use energy from the sun to produce organic matter. We must remember that the very viability of the human race depends on an ecosystem that is simply the sum total of the process of photosynthesis repeated over and over again. For this reason, we believe the most important thing we are called upon to do in the 21st century is to build a sustainable society that flourishes in harmony with nature.

Construction firms, as the builders of social infrastructure, have a direct impact on nature through their projects. Recognizing this, Kajima took the lead in the Japanese construction industry by adopting the Kajima Ecosystem Conservation Guidelines early on, and promotes activities to ensure that construction practices and biodiversity are always compatible. We have also set our sights on proactively proposing the ecosystem preservation techniques that we have developed over the years to clients, local communities and the broader society. Kajima will continue to prioritize the conservation and creation of healthy ecosystems through its construction projects.