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Environmental Preservation with External Partners

Kumon Forest Foundation

The Kumon Group has made donations to various environmental organizations in the past, and in 2014 we established the Kumon Forest Foundation to create a system that allows us to continue providing support to organizations engaged in environmental conservation activities.

The Kumon Group uses a great deal of paper for learning materials. For this reason, we have made it one of our most important environmental goals to avoid wasting paper resources, and Kumon staff have been working together to use environmentally friendly paper, to reduce the use of paper other than for learning materials, and to recycle used paper.

In the future, we will strive to reduce our own environmental impact and to promote activities with external partners that protect forest resources through the Kumon Forest Foundation so as to contribute to the conservation of the global environment and the realization of a sustainable society.

Support for WWF Japan forest preservation activities

Through the Kumon Forest Foundation, the Kumon Group started to give our support to WWF Japan in 2014. WWF Japan is a member of the WWF Network, which is an organization for global environmental preservation operating in over 100 countries worldwide.

The WWF was established in Switzerland in 1961. Its mission is to protect biodiversity around the globe and to reduce the human burden on nature and wildlife. Forest preservation is one of them.

In addition to fieldwork, such as surveying and protecting rare species and reforestation through tree planting, WWF Japan works toward the goal of sustainable forest preservation by supporting local communities and the responsible purchasing of raw materials in Japan. It also conducts promotional and educational activities through the development of environmental educational programs and the organization of seminars and other events related to the environment.

WWF Japan supports forest preservation activities worldwide through its global network and also works on environmental education. Through education, Kumon also aims to make contributions to local communities and countries around the globe. Therefore, since we understand their activities, we also decided to support WWF Japan.

1.ESD Activities in Indonesia

In the village of Long Umun, which is located in an area of Borneo with particularly rich biodiversity, an oil palm plantation is being developed for the purpose of palm oil production.

In 2016, WWF started sustainable training as an ESD * activity in the elementary school of this village in order to teach children how to protect the precious forest by themselves. So far, we have trained teachers on a variety of topics, including introducing ESDs, group discussions, lessons utilizing the outdoor environment, and how to incorporate local environmental issues into their lessons.

In November 2019, village teachers and school board staff visited a successful case study school in East Kalimantan to experience the benefits of ESD. In 2020, however, the village was locked down until October due to the pandemic, and school was open twice a week. Thus, many of the planned activities could not be implemented.

In March 2021, a team of WWF staff and journalists went into the village of Long Umun to conduct a workshop with 12 young people. We explained the concept of ESD and the purpose of our activities, created a community map, and discussed the village's ideal state and challenges. The results were compiled into a Charter and Community Development Plan. The Charter, created by the young people, outlines a vision of the future they would like to realize and six actions they will take in the future to realize that vision, and the Regional Development Plan was distributed to the community in September. It is hoped that the village will develop in a sustainable manner in the future, when a highway connecting the village to other towns will be built in Long Umun.

*Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): activities aimed at creating new sense of value and behaviors linked to solving many problems around the world such as the environment, poverty, human rights, peace, and development and creating a sustainable society.

2.Forest conservation in the Mekong region

The forests in the Mekong River basin, which flows through the Indochina Peninsula, the rapidly diminishing tigers, elephants, and gibbons are in danger of extinction. In particular, the development of natural rubber plantations has been progressing since 2010 and is one of the factors contributing to deforestation.

In Myanmar, there are many forests that have not been designated as protected areas, and ethnic minorities have long lived there who lack knowledge about natural rubber production. Therefore, the project aims to eliminate poverty and deforestation by training small-scale natural rubber farmers. This is because an increase in the amount of rubber that can be harvested from the same area of farmland will improve their livelihoods without destroying the forest and expanding plantations.

To date, we have established natural rubber collection stations and provided training to a total of approximately 550 farm households. However, COVID-19 and the coup d'état necessitated a significant change in plans for FY2021. We will seek to continue our activities to ensure sustainable natural rubber production in the future.

Participation in Reforestation Activities through the Tree as a Present

All Instructors in Japan submit reports via the Center system and they order worksheets and items via the internet as part of the effort by the Kumon Institute of Education. We have set up a system where Instructors are given “Green Points” in this process. The Green Points that are earned can be donated to the NPO Environmental Relations at a rate of 1 Green Point = 1 yen. This NPO is engaged in tree planting activities called the “Present Tree.”

In FY2021, a total of 350,000 yen, including 160,000 yen in donations collected from Instructors, was donated to tree planting activities in Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. The planting site is located in the Onikobe district of Naruko Onsen, the area closest to the border between Yamagata and Akita prefectures, where the acceptance of grazing cattle was temporarily suspended due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. In order to return a portion of the former grazing land, where grazing had ceased due to reduced demand for pasture grass, to a natural forest, broadleaf tree saplings were planted. A forest of broadleaf trees was created near the source of the Eaigawa River, located in the Naruko Onsen Gorge, to promote water that will enrich the rice production area downstream.

Together with the Instructors of the Centers nationwide we will continue our efforts to reduce paper usage through our Green Points activities and we will participate in the forest preservation activities via the tree as a present.

Environmental Philosophy and Environmental Policy,
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