Sustainable procurement across future generations is essential to the procurement of natural capital products. Accordingly, at the request of various stakeholders, Seven & i Holdings has been implementing a Basic Policy on Sustainable Procurement.
Ito-Yokado has joined a project advanced by the Tokura Office of Miyagi Prefecture to restore and achieve a sustainable marine industry in terms of economic and other aspects in tandem with protecting the bountiful marine environment. The project has been underway since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in March 2011. As part of the project, in October 2016 Ito-Yokado commenced the sale for the first time in Japan of farmed oysters that have obtained Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, an international certification system for environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture businesses. The farmed oysters were grown a local fishery cooperative.
Seven & i Holdings sells Alaska Seafood products, which are sourced through environmentally friendly sustainable fishing practices. In Alaska, the source region of the Alaska Seafood brand of natural marine products, Alaska Seafood carries out sustainable fishing by strictly managing resources and fisheries to ensure that the ecosystem that nurtures these natural marine resources is not impaired. The Group's shared private brand Seven Premium Benizake No Shioyaki (salt-grilled sockeye salmon) is prepared from wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon. Going forward, Seven & i Holdings will consider expanding the range of Alaska Seafood items handled by Group companies.
In response to rising consumer interest in product safety and reliability in recent years, Seven & i Holdings started selling 100% Organic Cotton Innerwear products for women under the Seven Premium private brand in December 2015. These products are sold at around 200 Ito-Yokado (IY) and York Benimaru (YB) stores throughout Japan and the Group's integrated portal website, omni 7. The cotton used as raw materials in these products are only organic cotton that meets Organic Content Standards (OCS). Apart from these products, Seven & i Group companies also sell items such as organic cotton towels and apparel, as well as organic coffee and loose leaf tea.
IY and YB sell private brand products that use fewer agrichemicals than the statutory limits. Examples include the "Fresh Vegetables with Traceability" and "Fresh Fruits with Traceability" private brand products sold at IY. Although these products are not completely organic, they are grown with fewer agrichemicals, and assure traceability of the growing region and growing history. Sales of these products in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016 were approximately \12.9 billion.
The methods and frequency of use of agricultural chemicals vary by region and crop. The "Fresh Vegetables with Traceability" category and certain other products comprise foods grown with the goal of applying agrichemicals with half or lower of the usual frequency of each growing area (the average number of applications for each crop stipulated by local government organizations and other public bodies).
In addition, at our "Seven Farms," which are engaged in agriculture operations, and under our "Fresh Vegetables with Traceability" and "Fresh Fruits with Traceability" brands, we aim to ensure safe agriculture produce, correct farm management, and so forth, and have acquired Japan Good Agriculture Practice (JGAP) certification. JGAP is an agricultural production management method recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan. It provides a set of standards to be followed in daily farm management to increase food safety and ensure environmental conservation. Since JGAP includes standards relating to "food safety" and "environmentally sustainable agriculture," these products use the minimum necessary level of agricultural chemicals.