Seven & i Holdings is working to raise the awareness of Group employees through environmental education and other activities. At the same time, we are emphasizing communication with stakeholders outside the Company and encouraging every employee to be aware of our social responsibilities as a corporate citizen and to co-exist in harmony with the global environment and local communities.
Seven & i Holdings regularly holds training for new recruits and newly appointed corporate officers with the aim of instilling basic knowledge and facilitating their understanding of environmental matters. In addition, since 2014 we have been conducting a campaign to encourage all employees to take the Certification Test for Environmental Specialists (Eco Test) as a training tool for systematically imparting a broad knowledge about an expansive range of environmental problems.
In this campaign, the Company provides a certain amount of support subsidies for those who pass the Eco Test, with the aim of encouraging participants to voluntarily obtain a broad knowledge about the environment by studying to obtain the certification. At the test conducted in July 2015, 963 people from 17 Group companies took the test, and 765 passed. (The pass rate for employees taking the test was 79.4%, compared with a pass rate of 62.3% for all test-takers nationwide.)
Seven & i Holdings holds environmental events both within and outside the Company to provide opportunities to raise the environmental awareness of employees. For example, Group employees and 7-Eleven franchisees regularly participate in volunteer activities organized by the Seven-Eleven Foundation. Major activities include events such as forest care operations ranging from tree planting to tree thinning and undergrowth cutting at "Seven Forests" in 15 locations throughout Japan; marine afforestation initiatives to increase eelgrass, which purifies water and reduces CO2 in Tokyo Bay, thereby enriching the bay's marine environment; and clean-up activities on Mt. Fuji. In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016, a total of 1,869 people took part in such events, comprising both Group employees and personnel from Seven-Eleven Japan franchised stores.
Seven & i Holdings has long been supporting various environmental organizations such as the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, which promotes wider awareness of biodiversity, along with the nature protection projects of environmental and wildlife preservation group WWF Japan, and various NGOs in and outside of Japan.
In addition, SEJ has been conducting environmental contribution activities together with franchised stores through the Seven-Eleven Foundation since 1993. Based on contributions*1 from customers collected through collection boxes placed at the counters of 7-Eleven stores, along with donations from SEJ and other funds, the Seven-Eleven Foundation assists environmental NPOs*2 through environmental citizenship activity subsidies, and also supports initiatives to prevent global warming, activities for protecting and conserving the natural environment, and other such efforts.
The Seven-Eleven Foundation operates nature schools based on the principle of "Learning from nature: how to promote co-existence and mutually beneficial relationships between people and nature and the natural environment and local communities," with the aim of protecting and conserving Japan's precious nature and ecosystems. The Kujuu Furusato Nature School located in Oita Prefecture is working to preserve marshland environments, such as the Tadehara and Bougatsuru areas registered under the Ramsar Convention, and is taking action to preserve grassland butterflies. It is also promoting efforts to protect and conserve rural areas through activities such as creating rice paddies that harmonize with nature and making charcoal to help preserve wooded areas. We have prepared programs to enable members of the general public to participate in these activities and through them many people have learned about the importance of nature. The Takao Forest Nature School, a second nature school, was opened in Hachioji City, within Tokyo Metropolis, in April 2015 as a collaborative project with the metropolitan government. The school provides a wide range of programs, including forest care activities, outdoor environmental workshops, and the development of forest care personnel.
A program to create rice paddies that harmonize with nature and nurture life run by the Kujuu Furusato Nature School has been designated as a collaborative project of the Japan Committee for UNDB. In November 2015, the program was awarded a Certification of Gratitude from the committee based on a strong evaluation of its activities.
|*1.||Store-front donations collected in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016 amounted to \430,926,053.|
|*2.||Assistance for environmental NPOs through public aid in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016 (including recipients of ongoing support): 264 aid projects; \169,311,877 provided in total|
We receive and respond to opinions and requests relating to the environment from customers and civic groups at the customer service offices at each Group company and at the CSR Department of Seven & i Holdings. In 2014, when we identified the material issues that Seven & i Holdings should address, we incorporated the opinions of stakeholders including customers, business partners, shareholders and other investors, as well as those of CSR experts.
Seven & i Holdings makes policy recommendations at the stage of drafting laws and regulations by participating as necessary in meetings organized by government organizations, central government ministries and agencies, and industry groups, as well as in other forums.
For example, Seven & i Holdings made policy recommendations on issues and other matters related to regulations on transporting PET bottles collected at stores from the standpoint of a retailer. In Japan, supermarkets usually have a box at the storefront for collecting used PET bottles, which are then passed to a recycling operator, in order to promote the recycling of resources. However, under this method, the PET bottles collected at the store are categorized as industrial waste, which cannot in principle be transported without an industrial waste collection and transportation permit. This makes the cost of transporting the PET bottles around twice that of an ordinary transport operator. In addition, longer transport distances create an environmental burden.
To solve these problems, Seven & i Holdings participated in a regulation revision conference of the Cabinet Office in 2014. Seven & i Holdings submitted that the PET bottles are collected for the purpose of recycling, and not as waste. Based on both cost and environmental considerations, we continuously proposed that delivery trucks be allowed to load their truck beds with used PET bottles and transport them after unloading products at stores. As a result of this proposal, in certain areas the regulation has now been relaxed to allow ordinary transport operators to carry the bottles after making an application to the local municipality.