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Stakeholder Dialogue (Full Report)

As a WFP Corporate Partner

Kaneka holds dialogues with various stakeholders to exchange different perspectives and opinions to deepen mutual understanding, and collaborates by sharing common issues.
As the first partner of the WFP (see note 1) corporate program, we held a dialogue with the Japan Association for the World Food Programme (JAWFP) in February 26, 2016.

Note 1: The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. It is part of the United Nations and is voluntarily funded. The Japan Association for the World Food Programme is a certified nonprofit organization that supports the WFP in Japan.


At the Japan Association for the World Food Programme, February 26, 2016

Participants

Kunio SuzukiKunio Suzuki
Executive Officer
Japan Association for the World Food Programme
Yuji Kotera Yuji Kotera
General Manager
Business Development
Japan Association for the World Food Programme
Minetoshi MarufujiMinetoshi Marufuji
Executive Officer
General Manager CSR Division
Administration Office
CSR Committee
Kaneka Corporation
Kiyotaka KondoKiyotaka Kondo
Manager
Administration Office
CSR Committee
Kaneka Corporation
Mika FujiiMika Fujii
Assistant Manager
Administration Office
CSR Committee
Kaneka Corporation

“Solving social problems takes a long time.
Continuous support is needed.”
(Mr. Kunio Suzuki, JAWFP)

• Please tell us why you started the WFP corporate program.

Mr. Kotera:
The WFP corporate program facilitates partnerships between companies and WFP, so that the companies can provide their continuous support over a period of three years. Although companies had occasionally offered us assistance, it was difficult to obtain continuous support. WFP works toward a world without hunger in Africa and various other regions. Almost none of its programs end in a single year. Continuous support enables people working on the ground to continue their initiatives with confidence.

“Steady market growth requires improved quality
of life of the people in the region.”
(Minetoshi Marufuji, Kaneka)
“Kaneka is committed to regional development
in the long term.”
(Mr. Kunio Suzuki, JAWFP)

• Kaneka supported school meals in Sierra Leone from 2013 until 2015, and will give further support for another three years from 2016. What caused you to begin supporting this program?

Marufuji:
For more than 30 years, Kaneka has been expanding its Kanekalon wig business in Africa. The Kanekalon brand has gained an excellent reputation in sub-Saharan countries such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana. We hope to continue steadily expanding our business in Africa in the future. However, this requires the improvement of living standards in African countries. Countries develop when their children, who are the country's future, attend school to learn then go on to enter the workforce. If we can contribute to achieving this in some way, then it will certainly be a welcome development for the people of Africa, and it will also be welcome for Kaneka because it will lead to market growth. Hence, we decided to join the WFP corporate program and support the school meal program. Considering that such programs will not be effective in only one year, we decided to provide school meal support in Sierra Leone for three years.
Mr. Kotera:
Education is the foundation of a country's development. Although impoverished families cannot provide money for school meals, parents will make their children go to school if the school provides them with free meals. The low school attendance rate of girls is another issue, because girls shoulder the burden of domestic work. In addition to school meals, we also implement a program that allows girls who reach a certain percentage of attendance to bring food home to their family. Through this program, the girls' school attendance rates have greatly increased to almost the same rates as boys. By going to school, the children can study, acquire knowledge, and dream of their future. Dreams support children as they grow up. We have been continuing this initiative for many years with the hope of raising many such children.
Marufuji:
Although Kaneka conducts business based on the B2B model (business between companies), just ahead of B2B is the customer. As the world changes, we believe that we should always be aware of customer trends in our work. We think that engaging in these kinds of wide-reaching initiatives is important for us to know the hopes, desires and needs of consumers in the regions where we conduct business.
Mr. Suzuki:
Kaneka is committed to regional development in the long term because our business in this region does not end in one year. Through the school meal program, we are also attempting to improve communities in the long term, so I believer we have mutual needs.
Kondo:
Aside from the WFP corporate program, we also had the opportunity to support the WFP essay contest and aid the Ebola virus disease emergency system in 2014. In the same year, the Japan ambassador for WFP and Kaneka celebrity endorser, Ms. Kurara Chibana, came to give a talk and raise funds at a company event attended by employees and their families. From here on, we would like to focus on gaining the understanding of our stakeholders outside the company.

“The ultimate goal of WFP is to end world hunger,
and to end the need for WFP.”
(Mr. Kunio Suzuki, JAWFP)

• From the standpoint of collecting donations, what is WFP promoting?

Mr. Kotera:
WFP is still unfamiliar to many people; we have to keep sending out the message that we provide food and emergency assistance. Our strength is that all the aid we receive can be delivered to the destination without fail. In emergencies, WFP works with the aim of delivering food and other relief supplies to the field within 48 hours.
Mr. Suzuki:
Each division of the UN has its own role and responsibility. For example, after devastating earthquakes, the UNICEF (see note 2), as well as WFP, take action. In the case of refugees, the UNHCR (see note 3) takes action. WFP is in charge of transportation and communication; we go in first to establish a base, secure the means of communication, survey the situation, and dispatch information on the necessary food provisions, medicine, medical staff and so on.
Mr. Kotera:
In order to deliver the necessary relief supplies and such, we have 70 airplanes, 5,000 trucks and 20 ships. All of these are currently employed somewhere around the world, which is actually very sad. If WFP does not have to act, then it means we have a world where nobody lacks food.
Mr. Suzuki:
The ultimate goal of WFP is to end the need for WFP.

Note 2: The United Nations Children's Fund

Note 3: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

“We hope Kaneka will teach children
about global food and hunger.”
(Mr. Yuji Kotera, JAWFP)

• What do you require from corporations?

Mr. Kotera:
Mr. Kondo talked about this a while ago. You promoted WFP among your employees and their families in Kaneka's anniversary event two years ago. We request supporting companies to promote their participation in WFP activities at company events and other occasions.
Fujii:
Our employees' families, including mothers and children, participated in the anniversary event. When we described the current situation where many people are starving in Africa, most of the mothers told their children "It’s important to remember that not all children in the world are happy." The children also gave us feedback such as "I wish the children in Africa could go to school." I realized once more the importance of talking face-to-face, and how it stays in their hearts.
Mr. Kotera:
Last year we set up a WFP booth in the exhibition space of a wholesale food company that supports us. We held a food tasting event where we served the corn-based porridge supplied to the local people, and similar to Kaneka, I saw how the children's attitudes toward food changed. They had more appreciation for their food. The head of that company told me that, " WFP not only provides food aid in developing countries, but it also educates people about food in countries like Japan." Based on that insight, we are now creating educational materials, because children's attitudes change if they learn about the global food situation at corporate events or while eating their school lunch.

“I believe Kaneka is aiming to improve
people’s quality of life and bring happiness to
humanity through its businesses.”
(Mr. Kunio Suzuki, JAWFP)
“With WFP and the regional community
as our partners, we will continue to build
a win-win-win relationship.”
(Minetoshi Marufuji, Kaneka)

• How do you rate Kaneka's initiatives?

Mr. Suzuki:
I believe Kaneka is aiming to improve people’s quality of life and bring happiness to humanity through its businesses. Also, you clearly express that all the stakeholders should be able to enjoy the benefits. Your actions are highly convincing, and I feel that you have drawn a persuasive framework for your stakeholders as well. Increasing agricultural production is a big issue, and Kaneka produces fertilizers. In Asia and Africa in particular, developing self-reliance in agricultural production gives local people a chance to escape starvation. We are truly grateful to Kaneka for its desire for people living where it operates to enjoy their lives, its wish to move forward together, and for its long-term commitment to helping the communities of Sierra Leone for a total of six years.
Marufuji:
In Kaneka's corporate philosophy, we have stated our commitment to "contribute to the global environmental issues and upgrading the quality of life." It is important that rather than Kaneka, the local people themselves feel that their quality of life has improved. This means improvements in the quality of their clothes, food and housing. We will patiently work on the various issues with the power of science and carry out our management philosophy. We also believe that our capability is greater than you imagine. It is difficult for us, for example, to directly address the issue of food for children. However, by partnering with WFP and lending our support, we can build a win-win-win relationship together with local communities.
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