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Contributing to the Environment through the KOBELCO GREEN PROJECT

In respect to environmental concerns, the Kobe Steel Group also strives to work in cooperation and harmony with society. Beginning in fiscal 2013 we implemented a Group-wide program known as the KOBELCO GREEN PROJECT that comprises a variety of environmental activities. Activities include forest development programs carried out by Group employees, the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize designed to raise children's environmental awareness, and visits to children's centers to give lessons on caring for the environment.

Forest Development

Countryside forest and agricultural land conservation in Zenihara, Ibaraki

Countryside forest and agricultural land conservation in Zenihara, Ibaraki

Countryside forest and
agricultural land conservation in
Zenihara, Ibaraki

Since the autumn of 2011, the Kobe Steel Group has been utilizing employee volunteers to carry out forest development programs.

Forest development is carried out twice per year, in spring and summer, at two locations within Hyogo Prefecture: KOBELCO Forest in Miki, Hyogo Prefecture and ECOWAY Forest in Kobe's Nada Ward.

Since fiscal 2014 the Ibaraki Plant has also been cooperating with the welding branch of Kobe Steel's labor union to conserve countryside forests and agricultural land in the Zenihara district of Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture. Approximately 300 people in total, including plant employees and their families, carry out regular activities, including forest conservation such as thinning cypress trees and trimming undergrowth, and agricultural conservation such as planting and harvesting vegetables on unused farmland.

After One Year

Hirotaka Oshida

Hirotaka Oshida
Zenihara Neighborhood
Association Chairman

I was a little worried at first, because this was the first time in the prefecture that we were cooperating on forest and agricultural conservation. But in the end it was a lot of fun working together with the government and employee families on activities such as planting and gathering vegetables and trimming and weeding forests. I was very pleased.

The population is aging and birthrates are declining in Zenihara, making it difficult for local residents to care for the rural landscape on their own. By expanding this program, I think we will be able to work together to protect the peaceful countryside scenery.

2nd KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize

Our hope is to raise a generation of children who carry with them an appreciation for all the many blessings that forests offer us. This is why the Kobe Steel Group introduced the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize, which collects stories on forest themes, in fiscal 2013. Winning stories are transformed into picture books with illustrations by picture book authors Moe Nagata and Roko. These books are then donated to local schools and public libraries.

The second annual prize, held in fiscal 2014, garnered a total of 438 submissions (172 in the elementary school division and 266 in the middle and high school division). The Forest's Birthday Wreath, written by Akari Kunimaru (elementary school division), and Grandma and the Forest, written by Mizuki Igarashi (middle-high school division) were selected as the grand prize winners.

Kobe Steel also supports NPO events for children interested in the competition, to help bring them into touch with forests and natures and receive inspiration for their stories.

Comments from the Authors

Comments from the Authors

Elementary School Division

Mori no Birthday Wreath
(The Forest’s Birthday Wreath)

Akari Kunimaru
(Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, grade 5, pictured on right)

"I've liked making picture books ever since I was little. It makes me very happy to see my story illustrated by a real picture book artist and turned into a book. I hope both the story and the illustrations help people get in closer touch with forests and nature."

Middle-High School Division

Mori to Obaa-san (Grandma and the Forest)
Mizuki Igarashi
(Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, middle school grade 3, pictured on left)

"I really enjoyed writing the story, thinking about what it would be like if I grew up to be a grandma like this one. I was really overjoyed when my story won. I hope the book helps more people take an interest in forests."

2nd KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize winning stories

2nd KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize winning stories

Picture book presentation ceremony (left: Kobe City Board of Education Superintendent Shinnosuke Yukimura)

Picture book presentation ceremony (left: Kobe City Board of Education Superintendent Shinnosuke Yukimura)

Forest field trip event (KOBELCO Forest)

Forest field trip event (KOBELCO Forest)

Judge's Comment

Moe Nagata

Moe Nagata
Judging Panel Chairwoman

I was very grateful for the chance to serve as a judge for the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize, as it's given me an opportunity to learn about the importance of forests for myself.

In the past, great swathes of natural forests have disappeared from the Earth by human hands in the name of development. But now that we see the error of our ways, mankind is striving to protect natural environments in ways that are only possible through human effort. The submissions we received included many excellent and charming stories that reflect on these issues, and both as a judge and as an illustrator for the final books, I've been very happy to have the opportunity to read them each year. I'm also happy that the finished books reach the hands of so many readers, and that the project has been greeted with such a warm reception. I would like to oncp;e again express my thanks to all those involved, including the staff at the Secretariat of the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Educatiion.

Hands-on experiences help raise compassionate and independent children.

Kenjiro Nishida

Kenjiro Nishida
Compulsory Education Section
Hyogo Prefectural Board of

One of our fundamental educational principles in Hyogo Prefecture is to nurture compassion and independence through involvement in the community, which is why we pursue hands-on, experience-based learning in line with children's developmental stages. These include firsthand nature, social, artistic and cultural encounters, opportunities to forge bonds of gratitude through interaction with local members of the community, and special activities to cultivate hometown pride and community spirit.

I hope the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize will help foster compassion in the next generation of children by encouraging them to reflect on nature and the environment.

Environmental Education Outreach to Children's Centers

Children playing an eco card game (Shirakawadai Children's Center)

Children playing an eco card
game (Shirakawadai Children's

As part of local environmental contributions, Kobe Steel participates in planning for the Kobe Children's Eco Challenge 21 Club, sponsored by the city of Kobe. Since fiscal 2011 the club has carried out environmental education outreach programs designed to let children have fun and move their bodies as they learn about the environment.

The program visits children's centers in Kobe to teach about the environment through topics such as iron and electricity. Children learn about the importance of the environment and electricity and the convenience of steel in our lives through science shows, quiz games, eco card games and other fun activities. In fiscal 2014 the program was carried out at three children's centers, with approximately 100 children participating.