● For biodiversity conservation
Honda conducts various initiatives to reduce environmental impacts from its products and business activities, based on the recognition that success in this area is most vital to the conservation of biological diversity. Forging positive relationships with local communities and partnering with them to preserve and cultivate nearby habitats is also an important endeavor in this regard.
● Community Forest initiative
Following the thinking of Honda founder Soichiro Honda, who said that no concrete walls should be built to separate local communities from the grounds of Honda facilities, Honda used trees instead of walls to mark the boundary of its Sayama (now Saitama) Factory in 1964.
In 1976, this idea was expanded with the launch of the Community Forest initiative, a program to plant indigenous trees at each facility and use natural ecosystems to cultivate forests with numerous tree species. The forests were managed like the forests surrounding shrines, where native trees are left and woodland is cultivated by leaving it as untouched and natural as possible.
Now the Community Forests at Honda facilities have finally grown to resemble true forests. Birds make their nests in trees 20 meters high, small mammals are a common sighting, and luscious greenery and seasonal flowers bring peace of mind to Honda associates and local residents.
● Biodiversity surveys at major business sites
With a view to establish its own biodiversity policy, Honda carried out biodiversity surveys from 2011 to 2012 to assess the natural environments surrounding our operations and determine what kinds of organisms and how many inhabit them. These surveys also included a factual survey of the Community Forest initiative spanning the three decades since its launch. Based on this, Community Forest management methods were reassessed.
● Introducing satoyama methods
The survey results revealed several problems with the Community Forests, which had grown far larger than had been assumed three decades earlier. Trees overhanging roads were obstructing passage, large quantities of leaves were accumulating in surrounding neighborhoods, and non-native species that were propagating in the forests were found to pose a possible threat to nearby ecosystems.
In order to improve this situation, we revised our Community Forest management policy from one based on a laissezfaire approach to one involving active management. We decided to introduce satoyama practices, such as thinning and pruning trees and removing foreign species, to help maintain biological vitality and diversity and make the forests more functional and beneficial to local communities.
● Surveys expanded to major Honda subsidiaries in Japan
Based on the biodiversity survey results, an investigation into how business sites should benefit local ecosystems and human communities began at major Honda factories, with a view to starting trial runs in fiscal 2014. In addition, the scope of research was expanded to include major subsidiaries, with surveys beginning at five Honda R&D Co., Ltd. sites (Wako, Asaka, Tochigi, Tochigi Proving Ground, and Takasu Proving Ground) and the Hidaka offices of Honda Access Corporation. Moving forward, we will aim to establish the most suitable management methods at all Honda facilities as we strive toward harmonious relations with local communities.
● Initiative at Aoi Plant, Hamamatsu Factory
A biotope was constructed on the grounds of the Hamamatsu Factory’s Aoi Plant in 2007. The biotope plays an important role in connecting with the local community, as it provides a venue for introducing visitors to the plant and for local elementary school students to study1.
The management method of this biotope was also reevaluated at the time of the biodiversity survey. In fiscal 2013, we continued work to create a healthier biotope, such as by removing aggressive non-native species and opening up spaces to increase sunlight access.
1. Read more about biodiversity initiatives in CASE 20 of "Environmental Documentary Honda Face ."