Environment and Communities
The Toray Group leverages the specialized technologies and human resources of its Green Innovation businesses to raise environmental awareness, with a focus on water resources. The Group is also working to address the challenges facing communities, including environmental issues, through dialogue and cooperation with community stakeholders.
Raising Environmental Awareness, with a Focus on Water Issues
The Toray Group conducts environmental education to make the public better understand the connection between everyday life and the environment, and to educate the public on global water issues as well as raise awareness of environmental issues.
Toray Group employees from diverse professional backgrounds including engineering, sales, and research give workshops at elementary and junior high schools. The workshops for elementary school and junior high school students explore water treatment membranes and advanced materials respectively, examining their connection to global environmental issues. The presentations expand on course units in biology and the environment, and in science & technology and society, in the science curriculum. In fiscal 2016, the Group arranged workshops at 19 schools in local communities.
Officials from Shizuoka Prefectural Mishimakita High School asked Toray to arrange a presentation on global and Japanese water issues, a theme that the school has been conducting research on. Toray invited students from the school to its training center, where a director gave a talk about global water issues and water treatment membrane technology. This contributed to the school's decision on what issues to focus on in the following year.
Toray also cooperated with Nagatadai Elementary School in Yokohama City under a career education initiative that was launched in fiscal 2016 by the Yokohama City government. The school is focusing on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as promoted by UNESCO, and it partnered with Toray to conduct classes on water issues in November 2016. Through the classes, the students examined water issues such as safe drinking water and everyday practices for conserving water.
- Presentation for first-year students of Shizuoka Prefectural Mishimakita High School
- Fourth grade students at Nagatadai Elementary School in Yokohama City learn about global water issues.
Teaching Thai University Students about Natural Disaster Preparedness in Connection with Climate Change
Presentation on disaster preparedness technologies
In October 2016, students visiting Japan from the Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand heard a presentation on disaster preparedness technologies and disaster preparations in Japan, given by a Toray employee. The students were received by Toray under the Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science (Sakura Exchange Program in Science1) which is implemented by the Japan-Thailand Economic Cooperation Society with the support of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
The presentation gives Thai students interested in this field the opportunity to learn about advanced technologies being deployed by Japan against natural disasters, which may help Thailand to adopt such measures and technologies in the future.
- 1 The Sakura Exchange Program in Science invites young people who have never been to Japan and exposes them to Japan's advanced science and technology in order to enhance their interest and understanding, thereby fostering human resources who can contribute to the advancement of Japanese science and technology in Asia. In fiscal 2016, the program was implemented in 35 countries and regions in Asia.
Promoting Conservation of Water Environments
The Toray Group is working in various regions to raise awareness of water environment issues and to encourage conservation.
In Tokyo, employees took the initiative to organize and participate in the annual Toray Group Arakawa Clean Aid event. On the day of the event, which was in June 2017, participants gathered to hear from members of a non-profit that has been working for a long time to raise public awareness of conservation efforts and biodiversity issues in the Arakawa River watershed. After learning about the trash problems affecting the river, the participants set out to collect and sort trash from the riverbanks. Employees and their families from eight group companies participated in the event, helping to clean up the river and directly experiencing the biological diversity that exists in and around the Arakawa River.
In September 2016, employees of Toray Plastics (Shenzhen) Ltd. participated in the 2016 Shenzhen International Coastal Cleanup Day, joining others to pick up trash along the coast. The trash was classified and recorded on data cards.
- Participants learned about crabs and other living organisms in and around the Arakawa River.
- Employees of Toray Plastics (Shenzhen) Ltd. collect trash along the coast.
Coin Bank Project Raises Environmental Awareness in Thailand
Students made coin banks from recycled materials.
Toray Group companies in Thailand make donations to local schools and visit schools as part of the Group's community relations efforts.
The Nakhon Pathon Plant of Thai Toray Synthetics Co., Ltd. launched a project in fiscal 2016 in cooperation with an elementary school in the Bang Kula Bao region of Thailand to find a novel way to recycle waste materials. The plant supplies the school with film end pieces generated from manufacturing, and paper rolls that have already been reused multiple times. The students fabricate coin banks from the materials, in the spirit of recycling and resource conservation. The initiative is designed to raise the environmental awareness of students and foster a spirit of conservation.
Raising Crops Using Roll PlanterTM Systems
Since fiscal 2012, Toray and Mitsukawa Co., Ltd. have been collaborating on initiatives to raise crops in South Africa using Roll PlanterTM products. 2 In the spring of 2016, students of an elementary school in an impoverished region of South Africa used the planters to successfully grow cabbages, green peppers and other crops on the school grounds. The vegetables were then served in school meals.
In March 2017, Toray took part in the Business Prospect and Support Measures in Africa symposium, which was sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya to Japan and held at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. The general manager of the Fibers & Textiles Green Innovation & Life Innovation Business Department participated as a panelist and described Toray's initiatives involving Roll PlanterTM products.
- 2 Roll PlanterTM is a registered trademark of Mitsukawa Co., Ltd. The tube-shaped planters are made from Toray's ecodearTM plant-based polylactic acid fiber and filled with local soil and sand, and then placed in rows. The product enables arid land to be revitalized into crop-producing land.
- Students of an elementary school in South Africa successfully raised crops.
- Business Prospect and Support Measures in Africa symposium
Toray Participates in Business Roundtable to Support Women in America
Business Roundtable 2016: Empowerment of Women
The Business Roundtable 2016: Empowerment of Women, co-hosted by the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington and the Japan Business Association of Seattle, takes place every year to discuss the current state of gender equality and the implications for the economies of the United States and Japan.
The theme of the September 2016 roundtable, which aims to bridge the gap between Japan and the U.S., was women's empowerment in the workplace. Executive Vice President Nobuyuki Odagiri of Toray Composites (America), Inc. participated as a panelist, giving examples of Toray's efforts to support the social progress of women and sharing information about women of Japanese descent who are active in American business.
Toray Group company Ichimura Sangyo Co., Ltd. has committed to donating one percent of its total operating income each year to disaster relief. In fiscal 2016, the company directed the funds toward reconstruction from the Kumamoto Earthquake.
In Niigata Prefecture, where group company Maruichi Fiber Co., Ltd. is headquartered and operates a plant, a catastrophic fire occurred in Itoigawa City in December 2016. Three employees of the company were involved for over 10 hours fighting the blaze. Toray Group companies and employees collected funds to aid recovery from the fire, presenting a cheque to Mayor Toru Yoneda of Itoigawa City.
- Governor Ikuo Kabashima of Kumamoto Prefecture (second from right) and Atsushi Fujiwara, President of Ichimaru Sangyo Co., Ltd. (second from left)
- Mayor Toru Yoneda of Itoigawa City (left) with Kazuyoshi Tsuji, President of Maruichi Fiber Co., Ltd.
Volleyball Clinic for Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction
Sixth grade students receive instruction from ex-national volleyball team member Kana Oyama.
In June 2016, the Tohoku Branch of Toray organized a volleyball clinic in support of ongoing recontruction efforts from the Great East Japan Earthquake. The clinic took place at the Yamoto Nishi Elementary School in Higashi Matsushima City, Miyagi Prefecture. The sixth-grade students enjoyed the energetic instruction they received from ex-national team member Kana Oyama and other former players and coaches of the Toray Arrows professional volleyball team.