The destruction of the natural environment is resulting in biodiversity being lost at an ever-accelerating pace. The Yamaha Group conducts business activities that utilize natural resources, such as the timber used as a raw material to make a variety of products including acoustic musical instruments, and the ecosystems that produce these resources, which are comprised of diverse living organisms. We therefore have a responsibility to protect and preserve forests and the biodiversity therein as a company that uses timber. The Group promotes appropriate business activities and timber use as well as environmental preservation activities based on its recognition of this responsibility.
Protection of Biodiversity
Timber Resource Initiatives
Many of the instruments that the Yamaha Group produces, such as pianos and string, percussion, and wind instruments, are primarily made of wood. Large amounts of timber are also used when making electronic musical instruments, speakers, and soundproof rooms, due to the merits of wood in terms of acoustic performance, function, design, and texture.
Considering the diverse variety of timber used in its business operations, the Group established the Yamaha Group Timber Procurement Policy, which sets forth directives for timber usage in order to better conserve this precious resource and to ensure its availability for continued use in the future, without depleting biodiversity or damaging ecosystems. The Group has also established the Yamaha Supplier CSR Code of Conduct, which clearly stipulates points related to the harvesting and trading of timber resources that suppliers are requested to observe. This policy and code guide the Group in conducting sustainable procurement and in fully utilizing timber, a highly renewable resource, without waste.
Breakdown of Timber Resources Used by the Yamaha Group by Origin (Fiscal 2023)
Breakdown of Timber Purchase Volumes by Location
Timber Due Diligence
Sustainable use of timber requires consideration for forest conservation and for timber resource volumes. At the same time, it is crucial to contribute to community development through employment opportunities and infrastructure to sustain the economic viability of the supply chain. The Yamaha Group has established a due diligence system to prevent the procurement of timber from illegal sources, and promotes a strict confirmation process for the legality of timber harvesting through site visits and surveys of documents for procurement sources. In addition to environmental considerations, the Group is expanding the use of certified timber, which is produced in socially and economically sustainable forests and contributes to the advancement of the community.
The Yamaha Group conducts surveys targeting all business partners from which timber was purchased to assess the place of origin, the legality of harvesting, and the sustainability of relevant resources. Based on the results, we perform stricter verification of legality for timber deemed to represent a high risk by undertaking further investigations including local site visits and assessments by a committee comprised of members of the Timber Procurement Division and the Sustainability Division. We confirmed that 99.6% (volume ratio) of procured timber was low risk in fiscal 2023. The Yamaha Group conducts such surveys each year with the cooperation of suppliers and is aiming to achieve a 100% rate of low-risk timber procurement. Additionally, we are actively adopting certified timber. Certified timber constituted 53.2% of timber purchased in fiscal 2023 (by volume, 5.6% of which was from newly adopted sources). The medium-term management plan announced in April 2022 put forth the target of achieving a ratio of sustainably sourced timber of 75% by fiscal 2025, and we have formulated internal standards to evaluate the sustainability of non-certified timber to further us toward this goal. Going forward, the Yamaha Group intends to expand usage of certified timber and other timber that complies with its internal standards.
Cultivation of Quality Timber through Coordination with Local Communities (Tone Forest Activities)
The Yamaha Group uses a diverse variety of timber to produce musical instruments and other products. However, concerns regarding the sustainability of these resources have arisen in light of the recent declines in timber resource volume and quality. The Group aims to address these concerns through Tone Forest activities, which are being advanced through coordination with local communities for the purpose of developing sustainable forests to ensure that high-quality timber suited to musical instrument production can be secured in a sustainable manner. We partner with government agencies and academic institutions to advance these activities around the world.
Initiatives in Tanzania (African Blackwood)
African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon), an important material used for woodwind instruments, is classified as near threatened by the Red List of Threatened Species, which is compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and a downward trend in the resource volume has been seen in recent years. In 2015, Yamaha began investigations of African blackwood looking at matters such as ecology, resource stocks, and forest management status in Tanzania, where this tree is grown. Seeking to create a business model that can utilize African blackwood timber in musical instruments in a sustainable manner, we have been working to introduce cultivation techniques, improve land utilization practices, and develop material usage technologies from the perspectives of forest preservation, musical instrument production, and local communities. These activities have been selected for subsidy programs by various third-party institutions, including as a base of pyramid (BOP) business by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) over the period from 2016 to 2019 and as a Forestry Agency subsidy project in 2015 and 2021. We are moving ahead with these activities with the cooperation of numerous research institutions, NGOs, and other organizations.
Currently, three communities are taking part in the regular African blackwood planting activities Yamaha commenced in 2015. In fiscal 2023, we planted approximately 3,500 seedlings, making for an aggregate total of around 15,000 saplings planted across an area of roughly 8.5 ha over the six years of these activities. Data on the growth status of the planted saplings and their surrounding environment has been used to develop a fundamental understanding of how to foster quality trees. Meanwhile, we have been working together with local NGOs and community members to make sapling cultivation, tree planting, and other forest management activities entrenched practices within communities. In addition, Yamaha commenced the trial introduction of fast-growing Meliaceae family plants into community farms in 2021. These plants have the potential to be used as timber after a mere 15 years, thereby presenting the possibility for benefits from timber production in the medium term while also generating the synergetic benefits of helping preserve African blackwood and other scarce resources through improvements to community land utilization practices.
Moreover, there are still numerous cases in which African blackwood timber produced in Tanzania cannot be used for producing musical instruments due to flaws such as cracks or breaks. Yamaha is moving ahead with the development of elemental technology for improving the usage inefficiency of such unutilized resources with the goal of increasing the value of these resources to provide additional incentives for preserving forests.
Initiatives in Hokkaido (Sakhalin Spruce)
Kitami Mokuzai Co., Ltd., a Hokkaido-based company that manufactures piano soundboards, signed an agreement with the Okhotsk General Subprefectural Bureau and the town of Engaru, Monbetsu-gun, Hokkaido Prefecture in 2016 under which these organizations have been working together to foster sustainable forests and expand the demand for Sakhalin spruce (Picea glehnii) plantation timber.
These activities were expanded on in 2021 with the conclusion of a comprehensive cooperation agreement between Hokkaido Prefecture and Yamaha Corporation, based on which we are advancing Tone Forest activities across the entirety of Hokkaido Prefecture. Sakhalin spruce trees have continued to be cultivated in Hokkaido Prefecture due to their value as a timber resource, and have even been employed in Yamaha piano soundboards in the past.
The agreement with Hokkaido Prefecture calls for us to help the prefecture once again achieve a reliable supply of high-quality Sakhalin spruce trees that can be used in producing piano soundboards and to transmit the prefecture’s forestry culture to future generations.
In October 2022, we held a tree planting event at an Engaru Town Sakhalin spruce plantation located close to Kitami Mokuzai. In this third iteration of this event, a group of approximately 70 people comprised of employees of Kitami Mokuzai, members of their families, and Yamaha representatives gathered to plant some 600 Sakhalin spruce saplings. Moreover, we displayed an exhibit introducing these activities to the general public at the Mokuiku Plaza in the Chi-Ka-Ho event that took place as part of Sapporo City’s Mokuiku Festa 2022 in January 2023. In addition, we arranged a handmade castanet making event that utilized unused timber materials produced during the thinning of Sakhalin spruce trees and forestry processes related to painted maple trees (Acer pictum subsp. mono). We also planned a workshop as part of the forest education aspect of our Tone Forest activities with the goal of making children more familiar with instrument production and trees. This workshop took the form of a castanet making event that saw participation by 53 individuals over its four-day span at the Yamaha Ginza Shop in March 2023.
Yamaha is advancing basic research on how to foster Sakhalin spruce timber for use in musical instrument production at both existing plantations and new locations. For example, we are engaged in joint research on the growth and quality of Sakhalin spruce plantation timber together with universities and research institutions as well as forestry surveys of publicly and privately owned forests.
Initiatives in India (Indian Rosewood)
Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) is a valuable tree species associated with Southern India that is also an important material for musical instrument production used in guitar side and back panels. In 2022, Yamaha commenced surveys on Indian rosewood forests, cultivation, and replacement conditions and on supply chains that can connect trees in forests centered on the Southern Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala to musical instrument materials. Indian rosewood timber traded on the Indian market sometimes originates from trees grown in the wild and other times comes from trees raised to provide shade in coffee plantations. However, natural replacement of trees in forests in not advanced in either case, creating concerns for the sustainability of this resource. Going forward, Yamaha intends to create and verify a business model for producing quality Indian rosewood timber through cooperation with local companies, NGOs, and research institutions.
Environmental Considerations for Timber Resources in Product Creation
The Yamaha Group is proactively utilizing wood cultivated specifically for industrial purposes on planned plantations as well as certified wood, which is properly managed so that the lumbering process does not harm the forest or ecosystems. The goal of measures is to use the high-quality renewable resource of trees on a sustainable basis. In addition, the Group focuses on developing alternative materials that accurately reproduce the superior sound quality of scarce wood materials best suited for instruments.
Products Designed with Consideration for Timber Resources
|Products / Services||Overview||Related pictures|
|RGX-A2 electric guitar||Use of afforested timber in place of natural timber|
|Products / Services||Overview||Related pictures|
|Acoustalon™ glass-strengthened plastic resin||Use of substitutes for scarce timber in marimba sound board parts|
|Ebony-style natural wood||Substitute for black piano key parts made from scarce ebony|
|Carbon bows||Use of substitutes for brazilwood (Paubrasilia echinate) and other scarce timber|
|Products / Services||Overview||Related pictures|
|YVN500S acoustic violins, L Series acoustic guitars, etc.||Use of A.R.E. treatment on body materials to improve sound characteristics without using chemical agents|
|Yamaha Hall in the Yamaha Ginza Building||Use of A.R.E. treatment on stage floor to improve sound characteristics without using chemical agents|
* Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.) is Yamaha’s proprietary technology for artificially stimulating the same changes in wood that occur during natural aging in a short time to improve acoustic characteristics. Through precise control of temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure using a specialized device, the acoustic properties of the new wood can be manipulated to realize a more ideal condition that is similar to the acoustic characteristics of wood materials in instruments that have been played for years. Prior timber enhancement technologies often utilize chemical agent-based enhancement methods. A.R.E., however, does not use any chemical agents in the processing stage. Therefore, this technology has a lower environmental impact.
Environmental Protection and Preservation Initiatives
Preservation of Forests and Natural Environments
The Yamaha Group is committed to the preservation of forests and natural environments, and we are therefore engaged in forestry activities around the world with the goal of regenerating natural forests and recovering biodiversity in a manner that is matched to the conditions of the given regions.
Yamaha Forest Activities in Indonesia
Over the period spanning from 2005 to 2016, Yamaha carried out Yamaha Forest activities together with local subsidiaries in Indonesia to contribute to the local community through tree planting. In these activities, we planted tree types selected based on academic studies, and approximately 170,000 trees were planted across an area of 176.7 ha. The Company has confirmed the status of forest growth using satellite imagery and estimated the CO2 emissions absorbed by the planted trees. The Company estimates that approximately 42,000 t-CO2 have been absorbed to date.
Enshunada Coastal Forest Recovery Support
In 2007, Yamaha Corporation signed a supporter of future forests in Shizuoka agreement with Shizuoka Prefecture and Hamamatsu City. Based on this agreement, Yamaha Corporation has been working to support the reforestation of the Enshunada Coastal Forest owned by Hamamatsu City. These activities include continuously planting saplings in a coastal forest that was seriously damaged by pine weevils. To date, we have planted more than 3,000 trees of species including wax myrtle (Myrica rubra), Ubame oak (Quercus phillyraeoides), Japanese spindletree (Euonymus japonicus), and Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis). In recent years, we have been placing particular emphasis on black pine (Pinus thunbergii), which is resistant to pine weevil damage, in our tree planting activities. The planted trees have been growing steadily.
These activities were given the certification label (smile label) by the office overseeing supporters of future forests in Shizuoka in the Forest Resources Division of the Environmental Protection Bureau of Shizuoka Prefecture’s Community and Environmental Affairs Department. This label certifies that these activities serve as a physical contribution (smile 1), a financial contribution (smile 2), and a partnership with the region (smile 3).
Chemical Substance-Related Initiatives
To limit the impact of chemical substances on the environment and ecosystems, the Yamaha Group is working to enhance management and reduce usage of chemical substances while implementing measures to prevent leakage.
Water Quality Preservation
The Yamaha Group is building treatment facilities and conducting monitoring and audits to prevent wastewater from business sites from negatively impacting water and related habitats.
Yamaha Music Manufacturing Japan Corporation, which is located within the Yamaha Corporation Toyooka Factory, conducts the production of wind instruments. Wastewater containing chemical substances from the wind instrument production process at this company is detoxified before being released into waterways. Regular assessments of the impact of wastewater on ecosystems are conducted. Moreover, the impact of such factory wastewater is evaluated using the bioresponsive Whole Effluent Toxicity method,* and these evaluations have confirmed that the impact on ecosystems is minimal.
* The Whole Effluent Toxicity method is a wastewater management method that evaluates whether wastewater from factories and business sites is harmful to ecosystems by measuring the impact on the existence, growth, and reproduction of aquatic organisms, such as algae, water fleas, and fish in diluted wastewater.