ITOCHU Announces Launch of the MOTTAINAI Gift Card

April 18, 2012

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) and ITOCHU Electronics Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Toyohisa Tsuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU Electronics”) announced today that they would be joining forces with JCB Co. Ltd. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Takao Kawanishi, President & CEO; hereinafter “JCB”) to launch the MOTTAINAI Gift Card, a server-based gift card aimed at expanding ITOCHU’s MOTTAINAI Campaign*1 environmental brand. The first batch of cards will be available from today, Wednesday April 18, 2012, in the form of MOTTAINAI Reconstruction Assistance Shopping Coupons and MOTTAINAI Eco Shopping Coupons, aimed at assisting with reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Coupons can be converted from Reconstruction Assistance Housing Eco-Points*2.

Server-based gift cards are a new type of shopping coupon whereby the balance is managed on a server. As well as being ideally suited to small purchases, they also open up more possibilities in terms of design and require less management than conventional paper coupons. Each card is assigned a card number that can be used online as well as in regular stores. Users can then check their balance on the server. The gift card market is already worth over ¥10 trillion in the US and is steadily growing in Japan too.

Users will be able to exchange the first batch of MOTTAINAI Reconstruction Assistance Shopping Coupons and MOTTAINAI Eco Shopping Coupons, which will be issued by JCB in its capacity as a gift card operator, for reconstruction assistance products, for environmental goods and other items via the MOTTAINAI SELECT redemption website operated by ITOCHU Electronics ([Open in a new window]). As the master licensee for the MOTTAINAI brand, ITOCHU will be handling gift card branding and working to increase sales of environmentally friendly licensed products bearing the MOTTAINAI brand. ITOCHU Electronics meanwhile will be responsible for developing the redemption site, procuring and delivering products, customer service and all other aspects of general operations, as well as promoting the MOTTAINAI brand. A percentage of the proceeds from MOTTAINAI Gift Cards will be donated to the Green Belt Movement, the tree-planting scheme founded by Professor Wangari Maathai*3.

Although these particular shopping coupons provided by ITOCHU, ITOCHU Electronics and JCB are offered as limited edition Reconstruction Assistance Housing Eco-Points products, the three companies are considering extending the scheme to include gift cards that can be exchanged for general MOTTAINAI licensed products in the future. The nature of server-based gift cards means that they can be used in campaign booths and other participating stores as well as online. As such, the three companies intend to open up more locations in the future, as well as offering gifts to suit a wide range of consumer needs and providing services for the corporate incentive market.

ITOCHU is committed to fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities (CSR) through its core business activities and has pledged to promote businesses that help solve social and environmental issues in its Basic Policy on CSR. ITOCHU has been part of the MOTTAINAI Campaign since 2005, based on the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling, and respect for the earth’s irreplaceable natural resources. The aim is to establish “MOTTAINAI” as an internationally recognized byword for protecting the environment and to help create a sustainable, recycling-oriented society.
Making the most of the expertise and framework underpinning its gift cards, which can be used in over 500,000 stores nationwide, JCB is involved in a range of Eco-Points schemes and a whole host of other environmental initiatives.
All three companies will be continuously committed to preventing global warming and providing reconstruction assistance for those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

A selection of products available for exchange
  1. MOTTAINAI Campaign
    The MOTTAINAI Campaign is a worldwide environmental campaign spearheaded by ITOCHU amongst others and supported by Professor Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan woman who in 2004 became the first person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for environmental activities. The aim of the campaign is to establish “MOTTAINAI” as a universally recognized by-word for the principles reduce, reuse, recycle and respect (3R+Respect), to promote lifestyles that have less of an impact on the environment, and to help create a sustainable, recycling-oriented society.
    MOTTAINAI Campaign website:[Open in a new window]
  2. Reconstruction Assistance Housing Eco-Points
    The aim of the Reconstruction Assistance Housing Eco-Points scheme is to provide reconstruction assistance, revitalize the housing market and promote energy saving in the home. Points are awarded to those who build new eco-friendly houses or carry out eco-friendly renovations, and can then be exchanged for reconstruction assistance products or eco-friendly goods.
    Reconstruction Assistance Housing Eco-Points website:[Open in a new window]
  3. Professor Wangari Maathai
    Born in 1940, Wangari Maathai was a Doctor of Biological Sciences and Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. As well as being a keen proponent of the MOTTAINAI Campaign, she was also a UN Messenger of Peace. She founded the NGO Green Belt Movement and began tree-planting activities in 1977. Rather than focusing solely on environmental preservation, she used tree planting as a means of raising awareness of social participation amongst the poor and continued to work towards the democratization of Kenya and the empowerment of women. Having planted over 45 million saplings, in 2004 Maathai became the first person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for environmental activities, and also the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2009, she was appointed as a UN Messenger of Peace and given key responsibilities as an emissary for the environment and peace. Maathai passed away in 2011.