Tokyo, April 23, 2015 - Rakuten, Inc. today announced the launch of “Global Rakuten’s Forest,” the global extension of the “Rakuten’s Forest*1” reforestation initiative currently underway in Japan. The launch on April 26 in Indonesia represents Rakuten’s first extended corporate social responsibility (CSR) program*2 to be implemented outside Japan.
Globalization of Rakuten operations is accelerating, with business expansion in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. As part of the groundwork for expansion of the global scope of its CSR activities in line with this growth, Rakuten conducted a study to identify the most relevant issues for each of the countries and regions it has a presence in, within the boundaries of its five overarching CSR initiatives*3. The Rakuten study highlighted the urgency of the deforestation issues facing Indonesia, a country that is currently experiencing one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world, and as such, Rakuten made the decision to launch the first round of Global Rakuten’s Forest in Indonesia. The initiative will continue to expand globally under the CSR initiative of “Environmental Considerations” in order to respond to environmental issues facing the global community.
The initiative in Indonesia represents a commitment to plant approximately 100,000 trees in regions around the country over a three year period, starting this year with the planting of around 30,000 trees in the province of South Kalimantan, where deforestation is becoming a serious issue. In addition to direct contributions from Rakuten, funding for the reforestation initiative will be made possible by donations from merchants and customers of Rakuten Belanja Online, an online shopping mall operated by the Rakuten Group in Indonesia. A tree planting ceremony attended by representatives of the Indonesian Government, the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia, and local students, will be held on April 26 to mark the launch of the initiative. A beach volleyball event will also be held at the popular Kuta Beach with the aim of increasing awareness amongst local people of the importance of reforestation and informing people about the Global Rakuten’s Forest initiative. Once the reforestation project in South Kalimantan province is complete, Rakuten will consult with the Indonesian Government to determine the next areas to be targeted for reforestation.
*1 An initiative to restore and conserve the functions and ecosystems of forests through careful forest improvement. Large-scale forest development was carried out during Japan’s period of rapid economic growth, but as those forests were not subsequently sufficiently thinned, many of them have become overly dense, and forest thinning and undergrowth clearing is now required to revitalize the forest ecosystems. The initiative is presently being rolled out in 15 prefectures around Japan, and the initiative is scheduled to eventually include projects in all 47 of Japan’s prefectures.
*2 Rakuten has carried out activities to collect donations for “disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts” following disasters, such as the 2011 Thailand flood disaster (Thai Red Cross), the 2011 Turkey earthquake disaster (Embassy of Turkey, NPO organization Adam), the Philippines typhoon disaster relief fund (Embassy of the Philippines), the Serbia flood disaster (Embassy of Serbia), and the Emergency Fund for Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Doctors Without Borders). Rakuten has also placed emphasis on education for future generations with a scholarship program for overseas high school students.
*3 1. Sports and cultural advancement; 2. Education for future generations; 3. Community growth; 4. Environmental considerations; and 5. Disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts.