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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

UNIDO and AEON join forces for safe and sustainable supplies in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 January 2013 – Japan’s biggest retailer, AEON, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have launched a programme that aims to increase safe and sustainable sourcing, and business linkages between AEON and its suppliers in Malaysia.

The programme builds on AEON’s Good Citizenship Business Principles, incorporating food safety, integrity, sustainable development and community development which will be promoted throughout the supply chain, and on UNIDO’s experience in business partnership programmes to develop small and medium-sized enterprises, and in building trade capacity by increasing food safety, productivity and sustainability.

The launch event, which took place on 15 January at the AEON AU2 Setiawangsa Shopping Centre, was attended by Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, Y.B. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamad.

The project is part of UNIDO’s Sustainable Supplier Development Programme and builds on the successful cooperation with some of the other world’s top retailers to improve livelihoods and make sustainable supplies available through inclusive value chains. The partnership with AEON, a retail network comprising a large number of subsidiaries and affiliated companies ranging from convenience stores and supermarkets to shopping malls and specialty stores, is supported by the Japanese government.

The programme will benefit Malaysian small and medium-sized enterprises and farms, and local communities where suppliers operate, as well as consumers. It will not only give local suppliers access to new markets, but will also bring about important improvements in the areas of quality and food safety at the local level and will help suppliers to increase productivity and implement best international practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability in their daily operations. There are plans to extend and develop the programme, with a view to helping Malaysia become a hub for sustainable supplier development in the region.

The focus of the programme will be on food safety requirements, and participants will undergo a series of training and mentoring sessions to implement effective food safety systems in line with a programme developed by the Global Food Safety Initiative’s Global Market Protocol.

The programme is a public-private partnership, jointly supported by UNIDO and AEON, which will be implemented in Malaysia with the support of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, SME Corp. Malaysia and other local institutions, such as the Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM), the Ministry of Health, the Halal Industry Development Corporation, the Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia and the Federation of Malaysia Manufacturers. With 25 suppliers participating initially, the programme will be extended to 100 suppliers by 2015.

Immediately after the launch ceremony, the programme will swing into action when 25 selected suppliers will be briefed on how to upgrade in terms of food safety and quality, and 35 Malaysian experts will be trained to become trainers and assessors. The corporate social responsibility and sustainability component of the project will start in mid-year when 15 AEON suppliers will be upgraded by applying UNIDO’s Responsible Entrepreneurs Achievement Programme (REAP). REAP is a training and monitoring package for improving company performance and sustainability.

Building partnerships and developing strategic relations is integral part of AEON’s business approach, and the company believes that, when this creates value for all parties, it can only lead to a more positive business environment. The cooperation between UNIDO and AEON, which is not exclusive and is open to other partners, will be formalized at a signing session later in the year.

For more information on the UNIDO-AEON partnership, please email:

Gerardo Patacconi
Chief, UNIDO Clusters and Business Linkages Unit
Email

For more information on AEON Malaysia, please email:

Zakimarhaini Mohd Said Manager - PR & Corporate Branding Corporate Communication & BrandingEmail