Special Lecture on "Food Waste Reduction" by Aeon Kyushu Co., Ltd. and Kankyo Seibi Sangyo Co., Ltd.

Jun 21, 2024

On May 9, 2024, a special lecture was held by Aeon Kyushu Co., Ltd. and Kankyo Seibi Sangyo Co., Ltd. in the classes "Environmental Economics JA" and "Environmental Policy and Governance JA" taught by Professor Tomonori Sudo of the College of Sustainability and Tourism. The lecture, themed "Efforts toward a 'Food Recycling Loop' to Reduce Food Waste," introduced the initiatives of Aeon Kyushu Co., Ltd. and Kankyo Seibi Sangyo Co., Ltd., and was aimed at realizing a sustainable society.

In the first half of the lecture, Ms. Momoko Matsueda from the General Affairs and Human Resources Department of Kankyo Seibi Sangyo Co., Ltd. explained in detail the food recycling process, which is one of the company's main businesses. Ms. Matsueda, an APU alumna, has been continuously addressing the issue of food waste since her student days, during which she was involved in managing the student organization "Amairo Shoten," which tackles food loss problems.

Kankyo Seibi Sangyo Co., Ltd., which collects, transports, and recycles industrial waste in Oita, includes food recycling as one of its businesses. The company receives approximately 2,000 tons of food waste out of about 50,000 tons generated annually in Oita Prefecture. The collected food waste is composted, resulting in 383 tons of compost, which is then shipped out. This compost is also sold at home improvement stores in Oita Prefecture, allowing consumers to participate in this recycling cycle by purchasing the product.

In the second half of the lecture, Ms. Kyoko Taketomi, Senior Executive Officer of Aeon Kyushu Co., Ltd., explained the company's sustainability strategy. Aeon Kyushu aims to create a rich lifestyle and a healthy global environment with a “glocal” perspective, under the mission of "Our 'Treasure,' Making Kyushu Even Better."

Food waste from Aeon Kyushu's stores is composted by Kankyo Seibi Sangyo Co., Ltd., and the compost is used by Aeon Agri Create Co., Ltd., an agricultural corporation of the Aeon Group, for cultivating crops. The harvested products are then sold at Aeon Kyushu stores. This initiative has been certified as a Food Recycling Loop by the Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Environment, and Economy, Trade and Industry.

Additionally, various environmental conservation initiatives undertaken by the Aeon Group as a whole were introduced. These include the "Food Drive," which collects unopened processed food items from customers for donation to welfare organizations, and the "Yellow Receipt Campaign," which allows customers to donate 1% of their receipt totals to local volunteer organizations. Through these activities, Aeon not only plays a role in environmental conservation but also raises awareness among customers visiting their stores about the realization of a circular society. Ms. Taketomi mentioned that through these efforts, she feels that the number of consumers who prioritize sustainability is increasing.

This lecture demonstrated that large retailers with extensive consumer interaction and specialized waste management businesses play a significant role in forming a circular economy system as a "Food Recycling Loop," while also raising consumer awareness of these issues. The 425 students and other participants who attended the lecture showed a high interest in corporate sustainability efforts such as food waste reduction and gained a valuable opportunity to think about what they can do to contribute to the formation of a sustainable society.

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