December 16, 2006


JFS English Guided Tours -- Green Purchasing Network

Report of the Eco Products 2006

Not-for-profit network to promote green procurement among businesses, governmental organizations and consumers in Japan.

  • Member organizations: 2,876 (as of 2006)

  • Activities: establishing green purchasing guidelines, holding seminars and exhibitions, offering information including GPN Data Base for Green Purchasing, etc.


Green Purchasing of food products

  • GPN displayed panels to introduce the idea of green purchasing of food products, including points to choose environmentally friendly food products at each stage of production of raw materials, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal/recycling. (e.g. the method how the food was produced, the distance of transporting food, environmentally friendly packaging and containers, etc.)

  • GPN has been making efforts in green purchasing of food products. In October 2005, it established Food Products Study Group to draw up a guideline to promote green purchasing and environmentally friendly food products. The study group has just released a report regarding major issues of environmentally friendly food products, focusing on following three areas; 1) environment-conscious food production (especially in the areas of agriculture, livestock farming, and fisheries), 2) environmentally friendly containers and packaging, and 3) CO2 reduction efforts throughout life-cycle of food products.

  • Five other food-related companies or organizations exhibited their environmental initiatives and study results

    Q.P. Corporation (Kewpie)
    • Environmentally friendly containers and packaging

    • Recycling eggshells: Kewpie recycles 100 percent of the eggshells over from eggs used in the processes of manufacturing mayonnaise and other products.

    Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
    • Bio-cycle: the company's unique recycling system to utilize by-products derived from amino-acid fermentation process

    • Ajinomoto's Eco-Index for Containers and Packaging

    • Environmentally friendly food packaging including those made of bioplastics

    Pokka Corporation
    Green Consumer Research Group (Japanese)
    • Introducing three food-related principles out of its guideline for green consumers

    Global Environmental Forum
    • Panels and DVD to point to where foods the Japanese eat come from, particularly focusing on developing countries from which Japan imports plenty of food such as shrimps.

    • Challenges ahead and necessary initiatives for the future

  • Government supports are needed to further promote environmentally friendly food products, especially in the area of environment-conscious food production. For example, regulations and policies to promote organic farming are essential.
    cf. In Europe, governments play active roles in promoting organically grown produce by introducing regulations and setting targets to support organic farming.

  • Along with establishing the guidelines, GPN intends to work on developing eco-labeling in the future.

  • Raising both producers' and consumers' awareness on green purchasing and environmentally friendly food products will be also needed.

  • Question and Answers:

    Q. "Why does GPN focus on food industry now?"

    A.".When you hear a word 'green purchasing' you may think of hardwares, such as paper, electronics, etc. But we believe that the concept of green purchasing needs to go beyond BtoB to BtoC - toward a decision making process of individual consumers. Food is the most daily purchasing item and we thought of promoting the concept in this field."

  • Food for thoughts: Do you have a similar organization as GPN in your region? How prevalent is the concept of green purchasing, especially in the food industry?

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