There is a global organization for volunteer activities that aims to improve the local environments. The name of the organization is Groundwork, and it has its origins in the United Kingdom. The branch of the organization in Japan, the Japan Groundwork Association, was established in October 1995. We joined the organization at the time of its establishment as its first corporate member. The organization aims to have three parties -- companies, residents, and the local government -- make use of their knowledge and human resources in the area of specialty of each of them and work together to contribute to the local environment. At Oji Group mills and plants, maintaining good relationships with the local residents and government has been a core principle of their operation, under which they have been proactive in participating in local events and volunteer activities. We took the participation in the Groundwork Association as an opportunity to set “promotion of Groundwork activities” as the policy of the entire Group and instructed all plants and mills to promote the activities. While cleanup activities carried out by companies are not unusual now, such activities were rare when the Japan Groundwork Association was established. Most Oji Group employees felt a little embarrassed while picking up garbage. However, with the launch of these activities at our mills and plants, they spread to multiple organizations. As a result, many similar activities are carried out today.
Some of our former employees also participate enthusiastically in similar activities by joining nearby volunteer groups after leaving the company.
We are pleased that as a result, the seeds sowed through our Groundwork activities have led to the emergence of new seedlings all over Japan.
Examples of Specific Activities
Tomakomai Mill: Volunteer cleanup and snow removal activities for welfare facilities
In December every year, employees of Tomakomai Mill of Oji Paper carry out year-end cleanup activities, snow removal, and other volunteer activities at welfare facilities in Tomakomai City. These activities commenced in 2000 and have become an annual event.
Kure Mill: Marine Day cleanup activity with fisheries cooperative
Located on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, the Kure Mill of Oji Materia operates daily with benefits from the sea for the acceptance of raw materials, the shipment of products, and other operations. To give thanks for the ocean, employees of the mill participate in the beach cleanup activity that is organized by the local fisheries cooperative on Marine Day in July every year. They pick up, sort, and cut driftwood and garbage and carry out other tasks to clean up the harbor area.
Kasugai Mill: River cleanup activities in spring and autumn
The Kasugai Mill of Oji Paper cleans up the river near the facility in spring and autumn by cooperating with the local neighborhood association, the citizens’ organization, and the municipal government. This activity is carried out as a partnership activity with the local citizens and government.
Tomioka Mill: Tree planting commemorating the U.K.-Japan Green Alliance
The U.K.-Japan Green Alliance was formed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In commemoration of the establishment of the new alliance, approximately 200 oak trees were sent from the United Kingdom to communities all over Japan as emotional bridges between the two countries.
The Oji Group was requested to plant one of the trees in commemoration of the alliance. In December 2002, the tree was planted at a park in Anan City under the partnership between the Groundwork Association and the Tomioka Mill and with the cooperation of the U.K. Consul-General, related persons from Anan City, and volunteers. As a species that grows into a giant tree, the oak tree will continue to be loved as the symbol of the park.
In addition, the Yonago Mill and Fukuoka Sales Branch also participated in the oak tree planting to commemorate the U.K.-Japan Green Alliance, which was held in the respective local areas.