Yutaka Kunimoto, corporate executive deputy president of food and chemical giant Ajinomoto Co., delivered a speech at the seminar hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on June 22.
Following are excerpts from his speech:
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Our core business is the production of seasonings and medicines that contain amino acids. The global output of amino acids is about 1 million tons a year.
The word "biocycle" sums up our company's basic philosophy.
We produce amino acids by way of fermentation, adding microorganisms to syrups extracted from sugar cane and other materials. Since the residual liquid is rich in nutrients, we add it to fertilizers for local farmers to use to grow sugar cane and other crops. We have been practicing this recycle-type method of sustainable production for three decades.
As for energy-related renovations, a large-scale biomass boiler began operation at our Laranjal Paulista plant in Brazil in May. The boiler is fueled by bagasse (crushed sugar cane residue), chaff and wood chips, all of which are procured locally. Since these fuels were originally plants, they have absorbed carbon dioxide while they were growing. They do far better than coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
We are also aiming to maintain and revive marine ecosystems with amino acids. We mix amino acids into concrete blocks and leave the blocks in the river or the sea, so that the amino acids will seep into the water. The nutrients from the amino acids make seaweed grow, providing food for fish and helping the fish population to grow.
This project is now undergoing trial runs at more than 20 locations in Japan.
A major theme of the Rio+20 Conference is the pursuit of a "green economy." As a company that is deeply involved with lifeforms on our planet, we, too, are pursuing it. We believe that the whole world can be changed by changing food for its 7 billion people.
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