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Monday, 03 June 2013

Partnering with AEON to help suppliers in developing countries achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability

TOKYO, 3 June 2013 – Japan’s biggest retailer, AEON, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will jointly contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and of the UN Global Compact by promoting economic and social development in developing countries and economies in transition.

This was emphasized in a joint declaration presented today during a ceremony in Tokyo, which was attended by Kandeh K. Yumkella, the Director General of UNIDO, and Motoya Okada, Director, Representative Executive Officer, President and CEO AEON CO., LTD.

“Suppliers in developing countries and countries with economies in transition require support in upgrading and enhancing compliance with global market requirements to take advantage of trade opportunities in domestic and export markets such as those offered by AEON,” said Yumkella.

“We already have very positive experience as part of our partnership with AEON, including successfully developed joint projects. AEON is helping suppliers achieve sustainable market penetration and profitable growth through internationalization and by opening up the fast-growing and emerging Asian markets to modern forms of retailing, consistent with the principles of corporate social responsibility. This new agreement will specifically focus on building the capacity of clusters of suppliers along supply chains to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability, including energy saving. Upgrading  products and systems quality and safety will foster suppliers’ access to markets, in accordance with UNIDO’s thematic priorities and AEON’s business model,” said Yumkella.

In January, AEON and UNIDO, with the Government of Malaysia, 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 and cluster small and medium-sized enterprises, and in building trade capacity by increasing food safety, productivity and sustainability.

The project is part of UNIDO’s Sustainable Supplier Development Programme and builds on the successful cooperation with some of the world’s top retailers to improve livelihoods and make sustainable supplies available throughout 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  Government of Japan.

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

Gerardo Patacconi
Chief, UNIDO Clusters and Business Linkages Unit
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