Panasonic now serving certified sustainable seafood at over 50 employee cafeterias

Published on
March 16, 2021

Kadoma City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation has reached a milestone in its program promoting sustainable seafood.

In a 10 March blog post, the company said it had begun providing certified sustainable seafood in its employee cafeterias at Connected Solutions Company’s Kitakadoma base and Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display Co., Ltd. Fifty-one of Panasonic’s cafeterias are now serving seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and/or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), compared to the 42 tallied at the end of fiscal year 2019, it said.

Currently half of the company’s cafeterias in Japan are serving certified sustainable seafood. The firm set a goal of increasing the number of cafeterias serving MSC- and ASC-certified seafood by 10 by the end of fiscal year 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented obstacles for the company on the way to achieving its goal. The program had to be temporarily suspended at many sites last year, as increased teleworking reduced the number of workers eating at the company’s factory cafeterias by 20 percent compared to pre-pandemic figures, and by two-thirds at sites with more white-collar workers.

As the sustainable seafood items were only featured on corporate menus once per month, it became less profitable for Panasonic’s suppliers and caterers to acquire and maintain the necessary chain of custody (CoC) certification, and to stock certified items, it said. Panasonic did what it could to maintain demand for its suppliers by assisting other companies to implement similar programs. It also guided suppliers in obtaining CoC certification, including via a group inspection process that lowered their costs.

While things have not yet returned to normal – even with the lifting of the state of emergency in the Kansai area, where the company is based – the program is still being pushed forward.

“It was a year under the COVID-19 calamity. However, even under such kind of difficult situation, we were able to achieve the introduction at about half of our bases. I think this will encourage the expansion of installation bases when the state of emergency is lifted nationwide. In addition, we would like to promote the transformation of consumer behavior. By strengthening the provision of information, we hope employees who continue to work from home could select and purchase sustainable seafood outside the company,” Panasonic Groupwide Brand Strategy Division, CSR, and Citizenship Department Manager Kosuke Kino said.

Panasonic established the program with the World Wide Fund for Nature Japan to support reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which occurred a decade ago on 11 March, 2011. The company started supporting environmentally-friendly aquaculture reconstruction activities in Minamisanriku in 2014. It also backed efforts spearheaded by the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Cooperative’s Shizugawa Branch/Tokura Branch Office in 2016 that led to the ASC certification of farmed oysters.

The company first introduced sustainable seafood at two employee cafeterias, including at its head office, in March 2018. It was the first initiative in Japan that saw a company commit to continuously providing sustainable seafood in employee cafeterias.

Photo courtesy of Panasonic Corporation

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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