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Japan: Toyo Rice presents on SDG approach to rice cultivation at UN Forum

Author: The Japan Food Journal, Published on: 20 January 2020

[Excerpt translation from Japanese to English provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

“Toyo Rice announces activities to contribute to SDGs at UN--first in Japan, first among developed countries”, 11 Dec 2019

On November 27, Toyo Rice attended a lunch session at the 8th UN Business and Human Rights Forum at the UN European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. At the event,…President Keiji Saiga announced his company’s presentation theme, “Japanese Rice a Sustainable Approach”. The announcement marked the first time a Japanese company presented on SDGs at the UN and the first among developed countries to present a sustainable approach to rice production…

As part of its new activity, Toyo Rice created a visualization of its processes by applying the SDG Scorecard developed by the Bluenumber Foundation (a non-profit organization with headquarters in New York) to assess its contribution to the SDGs—a first among Japanese companies. To visualize its processes, the company asked 11 organizations, including agricultural cooperatives, as well as 205 producers of rice and other products, to answer approximately 50 questions that make up the scorecard’s indices. Toyo Rice’s Brand-Grind [(BG)] rice initiative focuses on 14 of the 17 SDGs.

At the UN, the initiative was praised, with one attendee saying, “I didn’t know there was circularity to food production. This is a wonderful initiative”…President Saiga responded to these comments by saying that the initiative was a chance to promote the activities of Japanese companies to the world. He said, “Our effort isn’t limited to an announcement by one company. It’s also a future opportunity to deepen the responsibilities of Japanese companies.”

Miho Okada, Executive Director of the Bluenumber Foundation, said the organization is thinking about further developing and maturing the project with Toyo Rice. She said, “We are trying to draw attention to producers’ activities. Toyo Rice’s initiative involves everyone in its value chain, including producers. We are thinking about incorporating consumers’ scores in our assessment as well.”

In 1976, Toyo Rice began research on preventing pollution caused by rinsing rice. In 1991, the company completed the development of no-rinse BG rice, which requires no rinsing…

…Toyo Rice established a consortium of about 200 companies and organizations for no-rinse BG rice with producers and consumers, with a focus on 36 companies producing this type of rice in Japan. At the first consortium summit, it announced its intention to contribute to the SDGs with its “no-rinse rice statement “

In Toyo Rice’s circular agricultural production operation, stakeholders, including producers, retailers, and consumers, produces, sells, and uses brand-grind rice, eliminating pollution from rinsing rice. At the time of BG rice production, the nuka produced as a byproduct is converted into…fertilizer, [which is used] by farmers to produce healthier rice…

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Related companies: Toyo Rice Corporation