CSR Activities at ITO EN
In accordance with our principle of “Always Putting the Customer First,” ITO EN has always sought to reward the trust of our stakeholders, including consumers, shareholders, retailers, suppliers, financial institutions, local communities, government organizations, NGOs and NPOs, and employees with sustainable growth of both society and the Company.
We have established the following basic CSR promotion policies and intend to enhance CSR activities in the coming years.
1) Ensure rigorous adherence to the management principle “Always Putting the Customer First” through further enhancement of CSR activities.
2) Become a company that meets the expectations of stakeholders.
3) Provide products grounded in the concepts “natural,” “healthy,” “safe,” “well-designed,” and “delicious.”
In the coming years, we will seek to contribute to the further sustainable development of society through dialogue with our stakeholders, in line with the ISO 26000 international standard for social responsibility. We will thoroughly address the seven core subjects of social responsibility defined in ISO 26000 (organizational governance, human rights, labor practices, the environment, fair operating practices, consumer issues, and community involvement and development).
Corporate Auditor System（Corporate Governance）
ITO EN aims to enhance corporate value by ensuring transparency, soundness, and legal compliance in management and prompt, appropriate information disclosure.
Corporate Governance Guideline
Corporate Governance System
ITO EN has adopted a corporate auditor system. Our internal corporate auditor and outside corporate auditors attend every meeting of the Board of Directors, where they objectively and fairly express their opinions on audits and individual matters. They also monitor business execution by the directors in accordance with the audit policy of the Board of Corporate Auditors.
Internal Control System
ITO EN is developing an internal control system for the purpose of enhancing work effectiveness and efficiency, ensuring the reliability of financial reporting, complying with laws, regulations, and social norms, and safeguarding corporate assets through proper procedures and approval. To achieve these objectives and comply with the new Companies Act, we have established a basic policy concerning the internal control system. In line with these efforts, the Internal Auditing Department periodically conducts audits from an independent and objective viewpoint.
The ITO EN Group complies with the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and the Timely Disclosure Rules established by the Tokyo Stock Exchange on matters concerning the disclosure of information. In addition, we strive to proactively disclose information to promote a clear understanding of the Company, with an emphasis on fairness and promptness.
ITO EN will promote the development of society and the Group by engaging in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to enhance CSR activities.
The protection of human rights is a fundamental law of society. The Group has established the ITO EN Group Code of Conduct and standards of conduct that clearly define basic human rights. On the basis of the principles set forth therein, we strive to create employee-friendly work environments by eradicating sexual harassment and power harassment and eliminating discrimination based on sex, age, religion, or ethnicity.
Ever since its founding, ITO EN has embraced the principle of “treating people as people” and operated a merit system under which everyone is given equal opportunity and fairly evaluated regardless of academic background or sex. We have a number of systems and offer various benefits that support the creation of work environments in which each employee can work vigorously. One example is the “Voice System,” through which all employees can offer wide-ranging suggestions for new products, sales promotions, and other matters.
ITO EN is enhancing its unique environmental initiatives and fostering greater awareness of environmental issues among employees.
Acquisition of ISO 14001 Certification at
All Divisions and Initiatives to Reduce CO2 Emissions
Eco-friendly PET bottle approximately 30% lighter in weight than previous bottles
Hybrid vehicles introduced at sales offices
In the course of business activities, ITO EN consumes energy and emits carbon dioxide（CO2）and other greenhouse gases and waste. We have obtained certification under the ISO 14001 international standard for environmental management systems and operate systems to achieve environmental targets. We obtained ISO 14001 certification at the Shizuoka Sagara Plant and the Central Research Institute in 2000 and expanded the scope of certification to all plants in 2001. We obtained certification for the Head Office, the Nishi-Shinjuku Building, and Taito Asakusa Building in April 2007, and for all sales offices by March 2009. Today, ITO EN is reinforcing environmental protection activities throughout the Company in accordance with our environmental management system.
Specifically, we set medium-term environmental targets and actively engage in environmental initiatives such as recycling empty containers, introducing environment-friendly vending machines and low-emission vehicles, and utilizing used tea leaves and coffee grounds from production processes for composting or conversion into animal feed. We also implement a range of measures aimed at reducing the consumption of resources. These include reviewing production methods, adopting low environmental impact design, such as reducing the weight of PET bottles and label size in the product development stage, and decreasing energy use by boosting the efficiency of distribution and sales systems.
Proprietary Used Tea Leaves Recycling System（Award Winner）
Envelopes made from recycled tea leaves
The Company generated an estimated 43,000 tons of used tea leaves during beverage production in the fiscal year ended April 30, 2011, and the volume is increasing each year. We recycle this waste for use in fertilizer and other materials, and some of it goes through our Used Tea Leaves Recycling System to be transformed into chahaigo (meaning “containing used tea leaves”) resin, cardboard boxes, and other useful items. In recognition of its recycling activities, ITO EN received the “Commendation for Contributors to Promote the Establishment of a Sound Material-Cycle Society” by the Ministry of the Environment in 2007.
We received the Grand Prize from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Energy Services Section at the 2008 Eco Products Awards in recognition of our efforts in the tea plantation business and for the environmental benefits of our tea trees, which contribute to the absorption and long-term storage of CO2 in the course of their growth.
These accolades underscore the high acclaim ITO EN has received for its unique Used Tea Leaves Recycling System and environmental initiatives in the tea cultivation business. We will continue to encourage all employees to think about the environment and steadily engage in activities to protect the environment.
Initiatives to Increase Customer Satisfaction Utilizing ISO 10002
In 2009, ITO EN issued a declaration of compliance with the ISO 10002 International Standard for Complaints Management. 2007. We plan to continue to make use of customer feedback in business management and steadfastly adhere to our long-standing principle of "Always Putting the Customer First."
As a beverage company, ITO EN's most important mission is to deliver safe products to customers. To ensure product safety, we have developed strict quality control systems for each process, from raw materials production and procurement to the production of finished products. For tea leaves and green tea beverages, which account for approximately 60% of ITO EN products, we have established and rigorously implemented a comprehensive traceability system that covers every aspect of production.
Protection of Personal Information
Education on Tea and Tea Culture
A class on brewing delicious green tea
In Partnership with Local Communities
(Community Participation and Community Development)
As part of its business operations, ITO EN pursues activities that involve nurturing partnerships with local communities.
Concept Behind the Tea-Producing Region Development Project
As the largest purchaser of raw tea leaves grown in Japan, ITO EN fosters the sustainable development of agriculture to create value for local communities, in particular farming communities. Though our activities we pursue mutual benefits for both local communities and ITO EN through supply chain optimization. Benefits include the realization of environmentally sustainable agriculture, the realization and expansion of stable agriculture, the stable supply of high-quality raw materials, and the stable supply of high-quality products.
Agriculture in Japan is teetering on the edge of a crisis as a result of several factors, including management issues stemming from wild fluctuations in produce prices, the aging of farmers, and the shortage of successors. This has not only resulted in problems of supply of high-quality fresh produce and abandoned farmland, but has also contributed to the erosion of many local traditions and diminished the appeal of local communities.
Since 2001, ITO EN has been engaged in a large-scale project dedicated to growing tea on abandoned farmland. To ensure the stable supply of high-quality tea leaves from these plantations, we share our agricultural techniques with producers. ITO EN has entered into long-term contracts to purchase entire harvests at stable prices. This makes it possible for tea growers to enjoy stable income unaffected by fluctuations in market prices.
In consideration of the natural environment, we not only comply with laws and regulations in the use of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, we also adjust the growing season and quantity grown according to plantation conditions to ensure quality and crop yield and reduce environmental impact. We work with local communities and utilize local food and livestock waste for the cultivation of our tea crops. Since launching this initiative in 2001, we have expanded production volume each year, mainly in the Kyushu region.
Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest
Prize-winning entries are printed on the Oi Ocha packaging
The Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest is an enjoyable cultural activity open to the public which over the years has inspired millions of participants to create new twists on haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry. The contest began in 1989, the same year the Oi Ocha brand was launched and has developed into one of Japan's largest open-entry writing contests. This year the number of entries exceeded 1.7 million, bringing the total number of entries over the years to approximately 21 million. Prize-winning entries appear on Oi Ocha packaging to share the beauty of haiku with millions of people.
Green Tea for a Beautiful Japan
Tree planting under the Umi-no-Mori（Sea Forest）Project sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Since 2008, ITO EN has donated a portion of sales from beverages as proceeds to support Lake Biwa conservation activities. In 2010, we expanded the activities to include the preservation of beautiful natural environments in the Mount Fuji area and other parts of Japan. In this way ITO EN employees and residents of local communities work together to contribute to community development.