For the past two years, Meros’ Chisa Ogura has been a member of the expert advisory panel for research commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to support ESG investment in the Japanese food industry. The research itself was conducted by Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting and was supported by a panel of experts invited by MAFF to provide guidance, including Ms Ogura as an expert in the Japanese food and agriculture industry, major food manufacturers such as Kirin and Meiji, as well as specialists in areas of ESG investing, such as biodiversity.
In March 2023, MAFF released the results of this research – a practical Guide on Sustainable Management for Food Companies, aimed at small and medium-sized food companies in Japan, as they prepare to further address ESG issues. The report is now available here for downloading (in Japanese):
2023 Guide on Sustainable Management for Food Companies
The guide covers a range of critical topics, including ESG issues for food companies, sustainable management, governance issues, GHG reduction, human rights, food loss, plastic-free, animal welfare, and biodiversity. The guide is a very useful first introduction to the subject, as it provides a comprehensive overview of key points and background material on these topics.
For each of these environmental and social issues, the report outlines the goals to be achieved, specific measures to be taken, information disclosure methods, and other relevant information. It is expected that major publicly listed food manufacturers, which are required to disclose information on ESG issues, will need to work together with their existing suppliers, who are primarily small and medium-sized companies, to raise the level of the industry as a whole to address ESG and sustainability issues.
The expert advisory panel provided advice on the overall direction of the guide, how to choose priority topics and how to put ESG investment into the context of the Japanese food industry. As the Guide itself was developed, Ms Ogura and the panel advised on the key points that need to be emphasized, especially to small and medium-sized companies, to encourage innovation along the entire supply chain. They also gave recommendations on what may best motivate SMEs in the food industry to implement ESG initiatives and monitor results.
The guide is intended to be used directly by the management and staff of small and medium-sized food companies so that the entire food industry, both major manufacturers and smaller companies, can cooperate more easily by having a better mutual understanding of the challenges and expectations.
This research and the resulting guide is part of MAFF’s goal of increasing sustainable procurement and management throughout the food industry, as outlined in the Ministry’s Green Food System Strategy that was launched in 2021. The Green Food System Strategy aims to improve both productivity and sustainability through innovation throughout the entire food supply chain.