To ensure sustainable use of natural resources across future generations, Seven & i Holdings formulated the Basic Policy on Sustainable Procurement and has been promoting initiatives in collaboration with various stakeholders.
Ito-Yokado has joined a project advanced by the Tokura Office of the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative's Shizugawa Branch to restore and achieve a sustainable marine industry in terms of economic and other aspects in tandem with protecting the bountiful marine environment. 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 by the cooperative.
Seven & i Group stores sell Alaska Seafood products, which are sourced through environmentally friendly, sustainable fishing practices. In Alaska, the source region of the brand's all-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. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, Seven-Eleven Japan launched POP displays for its Seven Premium private brand Benizake no Shioyake (salt-grilled sockeye salmon) in June to promote the features of Alaska Seafood, such as "natural" and "environmentally considerate" to customers. Meanwhile, in July 2016, Sogo & Seibu started holding Alaska Seafood introduction and sales events. Furthermore, at the Seven & i Group Head Office building, staff cafeteria operator Seven & i Food Systems is providing set meals using Alaska Seafood products. Employees distribute leaflets and set up POP displays and so forth to encourage Group employees to consider sustainable fisheries.
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 210 Ito-Yokado and York Benimaru stores throughout Japan and the Group's integrated portal website, omni 7. The cotton used as raw materials in these products is 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.
Ito-Yokado and York Benimaru 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 Ito-Yokado. 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 28, 2017 were approximately \22.2 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 agricultural operations, and under our Fresh Vegetables with Traceability and Fresh Fruits with Traceability brands, we aim to ensure safe agricultural produce, correct farm management, and so forth, and have acquired Japan Good Agricultural 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.
Seven & i Holdings is promoting use of paper with FSC certification, an international certification system that promotes preservation of forest environments. In March 2017, we started using FSC-certified paper for paper board boxes in our Seven Premium private brand. As of July 31, 2017, FSC-certified paper is used for 44 items including ice cream containers.
At Seven-Eleven Japan in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, we switched to FSC-certified paper for the display stands for selling SEVEN CAFÉ bakery items.
Meanwhile, at Seven Bank, cash envelopes at ATMs and the Bonolon, Warrior of the Forest magazine are made using FSC-certified paper.