L-R: Meiji President Kazuo Kawamura, Associate General Manager Yoshinori Doi, and WCF Vice President, Member & External Relations Tim McCoy, meet at Meiji’s head offices in Tokyo

L-R: Meiji President Kazuo Kawamura, Associate General Manager Yoshinori Doi, and WCF Vice President, Member & External Relations Tim McCoy, meet in Tokyo at Meiji’s head offices.

Written by Tim McCoy, Vice President, Member & External Relations

With the recent addition of branded confectionery company Fujiya, WCF now counts 13 Japan-based members*. After the United States, no other single country boasts as many WCF members. WCF deeply values the unique perspective and expertise that these companies bring to the ongoing global conversation about cocoa sustainability. Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Japan to meet with many of these WCF members and other members that have a presence in Japan, as well as a few prospective members. During my discussions, I explored how the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are driving increased focus in Japan on supply chain practices as the Games are already on record as being committed to sustainable sourcing for all goods and services. WCF’s members in Japan showed strong interest in activities related to priority areas such as deforestation, farmer livelihoods and child labor, with some of the companies Japanese Companiesalready demonstrating impressive leadership on these issues. 

I was especially honored to meet with Meiji President Kazuo Kawamura and the company’s Senior Managing Executive Officer/Member of the Board Hirotada Nakamura. Mr. Kawamura thanked WCF for helping Meiji bring greater awareness to the Japanese public about cocoa sustainability issues, while asking WCF to increase our efforts to ensure a reliable supply of sustainably produced cocoa. During my visit, I also participated, along with representatives of WCF members Nestlé and Tachibana, as a panelist at a well-attended multi-stakeholder seminar organized by Action Against Child Exploitation-Japan (ACE-Japan) to discuss the experiences of the chocolate and cocoa industry in tackling sustainability issues through collaborative activities.  ACE-Japan is currently partnered with WCF members Morinaga and Tachibana on a community development and child labor prevention project in Ghana. The visit provided an opportunity for me to share perspectives on a wide range of issues affecting the sector with the Chocolate and Cocoa Association of Japan and its Executive Director Hideaki Harada and Deputy Secretary General Yasuko Fujita. A final word, of gratitude, to the talented team at Cargill-Japan for the excellent support that it provided for my visit!

*Bourbon; Daito Cacao Co., Ltd.; Glico; Fuji Oil; Fujiya; Itochu; Lotte; MC Agri Alliance; Meiji; Morinaga; Royce’; Tachibana; and Tachibana International.