Japan Partnership to Empower Small Farmers

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New York & Tokyo, 9 September 2016

Caux Round Table Japan (CRT Japan) will provide B# ID to farmers in Japan, and help Japanese companies buying agriculture and seafood from Asia to know the farmers and fishers they are buying from. CRT Japan has partnered with Bluenumber Foundation to deploy a farmer-centric online platform for the food and agricultural sector in and to Japan.

Bluenumber Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in New York, maintains an independent, neutral registry of “B# ID”: unique identifiers for farmers to publicly self-declare who they are, where they are and what they produce. This directory is displayed on BlueView – a global map and shared registry resource.

CRT Japan helps companies embed sustainability into their corporate strategy and management systems, with a focus on business and human rights since 2012. Hiroshi Ishida, Executive Director of CRT Japan, says “We believe B# ID will greatly help companies to respect human rights across supply chain by making every farmer and actor in their value chain clearly visible. Such precise geo-located information will support development of human rights policies, conduct human rights due diligence and, especially, allow meaningful impact assessment and measurement”.

Japan significantly sources food, fish and shrimp from countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, the first ASEAN countries to begin B# ID pilot projects for palm oil, rice, fruits, oilseeds and farmed seafood. Japanese retailers also operate extensively in the ASEAN region. They can use B# ID to ensure that the products sold in their stores meet international expectations of sustainability and human rights.

Puvan Selvanathan, CEO of Bluenumber Foundation, notes that “B# ID establish who food comes from. Supply chains today cannot be ‘black boxes’. If you buy from a 100,000 farmers and say they are treated well – what are their names and where are they? Large companies and brands claiming to respect human rights, or providing livelihoods for farmers, cannot credibly do so unless they can show that they know exactly who is in their supply chains”.

The B# ID platform offers anyone the chance to establish a global identity instantly, and build trust by offering basic information for open public viewing. They can link and provide other information to organisations, buyers and consumers if they wish. This allows for full traceability and transparency of who is involved in chains, and encourages questions to avoid layers that add cost without value, and exploitation of farmers at the base of the pyramid.

The CRT Japan and BNF partnership is the outcome of several discussions between intergovernmental organisations and industry. For Japan the B# ID pilot project will focus on fishing, agriculture and food industries to address human rights impacts of foreign workers supplying commodities, for traceability and transparency of processes and produce sourced from ASEAN, and to encourage small farmers and fishers to present themselves directly to consumers.

Media Contacts:
Caux Round Table Japan
Miho Okada, Director
+81 (0)3 5728 6365

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