August 3, 2012
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that from August 6th ITOCHU will launch “Make Your Own Eco-Bag for Shopping” using eco-friendly material, Pre Organic Cotton at KidZania Tokyo’s Eco Shop pavilion. ITOCHU has been operating as official sponsor of this pavilion since April of this year at KidZania Tokyo (Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo), an interactive facility where children can experience diverse occupations operated by KCJ Group Inc. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Einosuke Sumitani, President & CEO).
The Eco Shop Pavilion is a pavilion where children can experience conservation activities. These activities utilize the know-how on environmental education accumulated through the global environmental “MOTTAINAI Campaign” (based in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Tatsuo Nanai, Representative) in which ITOCHU participates. Every four months new environmentally themed activities, such as creating My Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth, Eco-Bag for Shopping, and My Chopsticks to Carry Along using eco-friendly materials are featured. And for every child that participates, the amount equivalent to the cost of one tree sapling will be donated to the Green Belt Movement, a tree planting campaign established in Kenya by Professor Wangari Maathai (1940-2011). This initiative is intended to help participating children familiarize themselves with global environmental issues and to experience the joy of participating in specific actions to address them.
The environment is a theme that is familiar to children. The first activity, Make Your Own My Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth, attracted more children than expected, as well as being favorably received by parents.
The second activity, Make Your Own Eco-Bag for Shopping, will start from August 6th, when children will be able to design and create their own original Eco-Bag for Shopping using MOTTAINAI Campaign and KidZania character stamps.
The bags will be made from Pre Organic Cotton that supports cotton farmers during the shift to organic cultivation, so children will also learn about the scheme to support the shift to organic cultivation.
The aim is to raise awareness in respect of environmental conservation in the daily lives of the children, by allowing them to take home their creations to use as their very own “eco-goods” for a long time to come.
In order to get children to use their creations for a long time to come, we will hold an Eco-Bag for Shopping Design Contest and present an award for the best design. By encouraging participants to focus on the design of their bag, it is hoped that the contest will foster a desire to take good care of it. Awards will be presented monthly for the best designs, and it is planned to introduce the winners on the MOTTAINAI Campaign Website.
KidZania (http://www.kidzania.jp/) is a theme park for children where they can experience diverse occupations. The park originated in Mexico. In Japan, KidZania Tokyo opened in 2006 and KidZania Koshien in 2009, and both have been very popular as interactive facilities where kids can learn about the structure of society while having fun. Some sixty enterprises currently exhibit pavilions, with about 830,000 people visiting each year.
Under the corporate philosophy “Committed to the Global Good,” ITOCHU advocates the fostering of next generations as one of the Basic Activity Guidelines on Social Contribution. Set up in 1974, ITOCHU Foundation has been active in supporting children’s libraries and creating electronic libraries for disabled children. It held a Summer Children Class in which local elementary school children were invited to study issues such as global warming, as well as the ITOCHU Baseball Class for enjoying baseball along with disabled children. It also offered subsidies to youth independence support facilities in the Philippines. The Group will continue to actively promote activities that support the sound nurturing of young people.
The word “mottainai” embodies the meaning of reducing (reducing waste), reusing, and recycling, together with respect for the earth’s irreplaceable resources. The MOTTAINAI Campaign (http://mottainai.info/) is a global campaign that uses this word as an internationally recognized byword for protecting the environment, with the aim of creating a sustainable and recycling-oriented society by promoting lifestyles that have less of an impact on the environment. The Campaign was proposed by Professor Wangari Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement tree planting campaign in Kenya, and was launched in 2005. ITOCHU and many other enterprises have shown their support for the Campaign, supporting the philosophy of Professor Maathai and the Green Belt Movement in various ways, for instance by promoting the use of environmentally products such as the My Furoshiki Wrapping Cloth, Eco-Bag for Shopping, My Chopsticks to Carry Along, donation of a portion of profits from flea markets, and one-click fundraising.
The Pre Organic Cotton Program (http://www.preorganic.com/) began in 2007 as a joint venture between ITOCHU and Kurkku, led by music producer Takeshi Kobayashi, to support Indian farmers in shifting from cotton farming to organic cotton cultivation. Shifting to organic cultivation enables a reduction in the health hazards and environmental impact of the pesticides that are used in large quantities in cotton farming. As well as supporting the shift to organic cotton cultivation by providing a “Pre Organic Cotton” purchase guarantee for cotton cultivated during the three-year transition period up to organic certification, this initiative distributes non-genetically modified seeds free of charge, offers guidance on organic farming, and supports the acquisition of organic farming certification. In 2011 after the first three-year transition period, 555 cotton farmers had shifted to organic cultivation. We will continue to bring this fibrous organic material to more people as we work to improve the living environment of producers of this fibrous organic material.