Partnership with Communities
Relevance to our business
The Fuji Oil Group has key operating sites in 14 countries (as of July 2021). While food culture varies from region to region, our activities as a food ingredient manufacturer, including plant operations and product sales, requires cultivating close relationships with local people. Our business success relies on a partnership with these communities. The work we do in community development also enables employees to find greater satisfaction in their work and raises their awareness of sustainability.
We recognize companies as citizens and, as such, aim to contribute to the development of local communities through dialogue and community service. A guiding principle of our business is to “engage in corporate activities rooted in our communities and actively contribute to society,” as expressed in the Fuji Oil Group Management Philosophy.* One way we contribute to local communities is by providing food education, which draws on our business expertise.
* Follow the link below to learn more about the Fuji Oil Group Management Philosophy.
Each company in the Fuji Oil Group carries out community development activities specific to the country and region in which they operate. Groupwide or interregional activities are led by the CSV Promotion Team, Sustainability Development Group, Fuji Oil Holdings Inc. under the supervision of the Chief “ESG” Officer (C“ESG”O).
Food education project
Since FY2014, Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. has been conducting a food education project in Japan in cooperation with the nonprofit Houkago NPO AFTER-SCHOOL. The objective is to convey the importance of food and the power of soybeans to children.
In FY2020, we held the classes online for the first time, given the challenges of holding in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. For elementary schools that desired in-person classes, we taught children how to plan a school lunch individually and to prevent the spread of infection.
We also developed a new palm oil program to guide students in noticing connections between familiar foods and the planet. After a trial period, we plan to officially launch the program in FY2021.
In FY2020, we taught a combined 18 classes, in-person and online, on the power of soy and palm oil to 366 students at 13 elementary schools. A total of 3,105 children have participated in the food education project since it began.
An online food education class on palm oil
An in-person class with individual projects
Comments from children who attended the classes:
- I gained a new interest in soy and now I want to know more!
- The class was fun but it was sad learning that one in nine people in the world don’t have food.
- It was my first online class. It was fun learning how soy transforms into different foods, while playing bingo!
- I’ll look for the SDGs and RSPO* label when shopping at the grocery store!!
- I think the solution for palm oil is to buy products that use palm oil but buy the ones that are Fair Trade.
* Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Support for SDGs for School
SDGs for School* is a program run by non-profit Think the Earth to spread knowledge of the SDGs among junior and senior high school students and encourage learning and action for creating a more sustainable society. The Fuji Oil Group has sponsored this program since 2018. In FY2020, Think the Earth presented its work in the SDGs for School program at a training session for executives (including outside executives) and senior employees of the Fuji Oil Group. The presentation reaffirmed for us the strong interest children have in sustainability and the importance of our sustainability efforts as a company.
* Follow the link below to learn more about the SDGs for School program.
Hannan Forest Project
Since March 2018, Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. employees have volunteered their time and labor to support park development at Izumisano Kyuryo Ryokuchi in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Local volunteers, the Osaka prefectural government, and companies come together once a month to manage the forest and bamboo groves in a designated area of the park.
In FY2020, the volunteering events were held only twice, due to the many months when the COVID-19 state of emergency was in effect. Employees plan to continue volunteering in FY2021.
Thinning a bamboo grove
Carrying out the cut bamboo
Fuji Foundation for Protein Research
In 1979, we inaugurated the Research Committee of Soy Protein Nutrition to support the promotion of academic studies on soybean protein through research grants. In 1997, we established the Fuji Foundation for Protein Research as an incorporated foundation under the jurisdiction of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (currently Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). In 2012, the Foundation changed its status to a public interest incorporated foundation under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office, to take over and further expand the activities of its predecessor. To date, the Foundation has awarded over a billion yen to more than 1,100 studies covering subjects from the life sciences to dietary culture, and to the science of cooking.
In addition to funding research, the Foundation also holds free open lectures, an important part of its public interest mandate. The lecture planned for FY2020 looked nearly cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it was able to proceed with strict safety measures in place, such as limiting venue occupancy and requiring attendees to wash their hands and wear masks. Front-line researchers gave talks on the relationships between food and the global environment and on the various physiological functions of soybeans.
A session of the open lectures held in November 2020 at Acros Fukuoka in Fukuoka city
Supporting bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) entrepreneurs through a chocolate training program in Brazil
In Brazil, home of Fuji Oil Group company Harald Indústria e Comércio de Alimentos Ltda (Harald), 76% of the population earn low levels of income, making it hard for them to gain the quality education and specialized skills needed for employment.
Since 2019, Harald has been partnering with an NGO to provide low-income earners with practical knowledge and skills for starting their own chocolate candy business. In this training program, held at a community kitchen in Sao Paulo, participants gain hands-on skills for designing and preparing chocolate products, applying their skills using Harald’s products as ingredients, and marketing and selling them.
Two hallmarks of a chocolate candy business are low start-up costs and quick returns. Young adults and women make up 80% of participants in the program. Their ability to start a business, earn a living, and improve their standard of living after graduation is helping to strengthen ties between Harald and the community.
In 2019, the first year, more than 200 people participated in the pilot course. In 2020, in-person classes were cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead, Harald held an online workshop on the chocolate business and the entrepreneurial mindset. The popularity of that workshop focused on Easter led to more than 140 people participating in the next-level course focused on Easter in 2021.
Training low-income Sao Paulo residents in chocolate preparation