April 16, 2015
  • Rakuten, Inc.

“Rakuten’s Forest” Reforestation Initiative
to be Expanded Nationwide

- Expanding to 15 prefectures throughout Japan -

Tokyo, April 16, 2015 Rakuten, Inc. has announced that it will be expanding its “Rakuten’s Forest” reforestation initiative from the current six prefectures in the Tohoku region to a total of 15 prefectures nationwide. The initiative will then be expanded to eventually include all of Japan’s 47 prefectures. 

The Rakuten’s Forest initiative was started in July 2014 as part of Rakuten’s “Environmental consideration” initiatives, one of the company’s five overarching CSR initatives*1. The initiative involves forest management aimed at revitalizing the Japan’s ancient forests in order to provide a proper stable habitat for golden eagles*2, which are the model for the “Clutch” mascot of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and are in danger of extinction. The initiative was originally started in 6 prefectures in Tohoku that have confirmed golden eagle habitats, and through cooperation with local governments in each of the areas, has carried out forest thinning and undergrowth clearing activities. The reviving of the original functions of forests and the preservation of their ecosystems through these activities has been beneficial to the forestry industry and deepened the awareness of environmental issues. Rakuten has therefore made the decision to expand the scope of its Rakuten’s Forest initiative to all the regions of Japan.

The next nine prefectures to be targeted in the Rakuten’s Forest initiative are Nagano Prefecture, Nara Prefecture, Kochi Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture, Shiga Prefecture, Niigata Prefecture, Tokushima Prefecture, Tottori Prefecture, and Shimane Prefecture. The initiative will focus on addressing the issues faced by forests in each of the areas through activities such as forest thinning to conserve the habitats of a wide range of organisms, restoring neglected village forests, utilizing wood from the thinning activities to revitalize local industry, and promoting forest habitat education. With cooperation from supporters of the initiative, Rakuten aims to carry out reforestation in all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, and hopes to expand the scope of the activities to include forest maintenance and reforestation education at forests nationwide.

Rakuten will continue to carry out forest improvement activities in the six original Tohoku prefectures, aimed at protecting the golden eagle and rehabilitating forest habitats in a way that is appropriate to each area and the types of trees concerned. With cooperation from Yamagata University, Rakuten will make more technical measurement of the effects of Rakuten’s Forest-related activities in Yamagata Prefecture by carrying out vegetation surveys, small animal appearance surveys, and golden eagle behavior surveys.

The Rakuten’s Forest initiative is funded by contributions from Rakuten Ichiba merchants, accommodation registered with Rakuten Travel, and from revenue from a range of Rakuten Group services. Rakuten will work with affiliated companies to further advance the initiative, one example of which is a plan whereby accommodation registered on Rakuten Travel and Rakuten Ichiba merchants that utilize Rakuten Energy’s Power Management Service can opt to contribute some of the money saved from reduced electrical power costs toward Rakuten’s Forest activities. 

*1 1. Sports and cultural advancement; 2. Education for future generations; 3. Community growth; 4. Disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts; and 5. Environmental considerations.
*2 [Birds] Aquila chrysaetos japonica, 31 species, Endangered species IB (EN) in the Fourth Red List (2012) by the Ministry of the Environment

Overview of the Activities of Rakuten’s Forest

Special webpage: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/sustainability/forest/
Areas scheduled to be added to the nationwide forest maintenance initiative:
  Otaki Village, Kiso District, Nagano Prefecture
  Shimokitayama-mura, Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture
  Ino-cho, Agawa-gun, Kochi Prefecture
  Ryujin-mura, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture
  Taga-cho, Inukami District, Shiga Prefecture
  Aga-machi, Higashikanbara District, Niigata Prefecture
  Yamashiro-cho, Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture
  Wakasa-cho, Yazu District, Tottori Prefecture
  Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture

Six prefectures of Tohoku:
  Aomori Prefecture – Higashi Iwakisan, Hyakuzawa (Oaza), Hirosaki City
  Iwate Prefecture – Kuzumaki, Kuzumaki-machi, Iwate Gun
  Miyagi Prefecture – Urashukuhama, Onagawa-cho, Oshika Gun
  Akita Prefecture – Towadasetaishi, Kazuno City
  Yamagata Prefecture – Masuda, Sakata City
  Fukushima Prefecture – Nawagai (Aza), Yamakami, Soma City

Targeted products:
- Through Rakuten Hansoku Ichiba (https://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/hansoku/), some of the proceeds from sales of cardboard and packing tape to shops on Rakuten Ichiba will be devoted to covering the costs of forest improvements.
- Envelopes for internal use across Rakuten Group produced from wood from the thinning activities
- Future initiatives from other projects

Cooperation over the activity costs
- Cooperation from Rakuten Ichiba merchants (https://www.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Cooperation from accommodation registered on Rakuten Travel, Inc. (https://travel.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Cooperation from Rakuten Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (https://www.rakuten-life.co.jp/)
- Cooperation according to the number of contracts concluded with Onet members (https://onet.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Cooperation from Rakuten Ichiba merchants and accommodation registered on Rakuten Travel utilizing Rakuten Energy’s Power Management Service (https://energy.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Webpage for accepting contributions via Rakuten Bank, Rakuten Card, Rakuten Super Points, and Rakuten Edy (https://corp.rakuten.co.jp/donation/)

Various awareness-raising activities through printed and other materials:
- Customer packing materials from Rakuten Books (https://books.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Customer packing materials from Rakuten Ichiba 24 (https://24.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Introducing activities at the Rakuten Kobo Stadium Miyagi of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (https://www.rakuteneagles.jp/)
- Mail to customers from Rakuten Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (https://www.rakuten-life.co.jp/)
- Rakuten Mart catalog (https://mart.rakuten.co.jp/)
- Items posted to Rakuten Edy customers ( https://www.rakuten-life.co.jp/)

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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