12

May

Thinking about the future of food chains through the lens of digital transformation

~SDGs No.12 Responsible consumption and production The global food crisis is getting worse. Did you know that 800 million people (one in nine worldwide) suffer from hunger, yet 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year around the world? To address this issue, the United Nations and stakeholders involved in the global food chain are working on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and the Food Waste Reduction Promotion Act. In order to feed the world’s ever-growing population, the entire food chain, from traditional food production to consumption, needs to be reviewed. Global challenges, background on food loss In fact, there is enough food produced in the world during the year to distribute to the entire population. According to the United Nations WFP report, the world produces about 4 billion tons of food a year, of which 1.3 billion tons (one third) is wasted. The numbers are astonishing and at the same time the reasons for this disposal differ between developing and developed countries. The cause of waste in developing countries is “surplus crops;” in other words, overproduced food is thrown away. This is partly because individual farmers are unable to set up warehouses for long-term storage due to financial reasons, and vegetables that do not meet standards are often rejected by wholesalers. In developed countries, for example in Japan, food waste is 27.59 million tons per year, and the amount of food that could be eaten but is discarded is about 6.5 million tons per year. This means that each Japanese person throws away 51kg of edible food every year (according to the Consumer Affairs Agency.) In developed countries where each individual citizen has a commensurate income and is expected […]

31

Mar

“Carbon offset” using blockchain technology 4 Reasons to Innovate Various Businesses

The power of digital transformation to spur global CO2 reduction About carbon offset In recent years, the “carbon offset” approach has become a common phrase among major companies.In order to put this system into practice, major companies are actively promoting participation in the “J-credit system” led by the Ministry of the Environment, major Japanese trading companies, logistics and retail businesses. However, to participate in this system, complicated application procedures and complicated certification procedures are major issues. Attempts are being made to solve them with blockchain technology. Therefore, our topics this time are why the “carbon offset” and “J-credit system” are drawing attention and an introduction to blockchain technology that has the potential to solve various issues. “Carbon offset” that gives “creditability” to CO2 reduction To explain carbon offset, “It is a concept of compensating for greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2, which cannot be avoided in daily life and economic activities, and investing in greenhouse gas reduction activities commensurate with emissions. “(Quoted from the official website of the Ministry of the Environment in Japan) In other words, it is a system that gives credits to the amount of invisible CO2 reduction is “carbon offset.” (See the figure below) How “carbon offset” works For example, to reduce the emissions from three factories and 100 trucks owned by Company A, it is common to first determine the kinds and amounts of emissions created and to then make efforts to reduce them based on those activities. However, this task cannot be covered by that one company alone. To offset some or all of these emissions that cannot be reduced, credits with others are calculated to create a “carbon offset”. The method may be applied […]

28

Feb

Forefront of Digital Transformation, Smart Agriculture

The innovative changes that new technologies bring to agriculture The shadow of decline creeping into agriculture Did you know that a piece of land that can supply three months of rice to about 13 million people in Tokyo is lying unused? This is just one of the problems with agriculture. Although the global economy and other industries are affected by the current COVID-19 crisis and warm winter this year, agriculture is an industry that is highly susceptible to seasonal environmental changes, which cause the proliferation of fungi and pests and decimate food crops. Such crops are also essential sources of raw materials for clothing, food, and shelter. However, the Japanese domestic farming population is currently declining, and abandoned arable land is increasing year by year. In addition, fake food products are being disguised and replaced in food supply chains because of the holes in risk management systems. How can digital transformation (DX) solve such a wide variety of agricultural issues? Agriculture now and in the future By 1985, when the Japanese bubble economy began, the population of domestic farmers had reached 5.43 million. After three decades, the number of farmers in 2019 will be about 1.68 million, a decrease of 70% from the heyday. An additional problem is the aging of the remaining farmers. At present, the average age is 66.8 years, which represents an urgent situation given the heavy labor in agricultural work and the likelihood of retirement after a few more years. (See the figure below) There are issues arising from aging and a shortage of workers which have led to an incomplete risk management system. In the agriculture and forestry industry, false reporting of the production area […]