On July 15, seven Nidec Corporation employees volunteered on behalf of the “Kyoto CSR Network*” in a “Gion Festival Zero Waste Campaign,” an event to reduce environmental burden by generating less flammable waste during the annual Gion Festival held in the city of Kyoto.
The Gion Festival, is one of Japan’s three major festivals and is a month-long annual event held in the ancient capital every July. During this period, numbers of domestic and overseas tourists come to enjoy the festival. On the eve of the main parade (yoiyama), visitors soak up the unique and festive atmosphere as they enjoy a leisurely stroll along the stall-lined main streets―with snacks and drinks in hand―appreciating the beauty of many tapestry-decorated floats awaiting the parade called yamaboko junko. The 1200-year long gorgeous and historical festival, however, has a big post-event headache―several dozens of tons of garbage left behind in the aftermath of the magical moments. Thus the “Gion Festival Zero Waste Campaign” was launched in 2014 by private businesses, NPO organizations, and the government, which collaboratively provide food stalls with reusable tableware, and send volunteer staff to help collect those reusable tableware and other garbage. Nidec has been volunteering in this campaign since 2014.
This year, Nidec employees volunteered in this campaign two nights before yamaboko parade held on July 17, between 19:00 and 22:00, the busiest time of the day. Approximately 280,000 people visited the festival that evening. Nidec volunteer team was assigned at one of the Eco-stations set up on the corners of the jam-packed street, calling on passersby to be mindful of what they were going to throw away―from tableware and trash to cans and bottles―in terms of whether they are reusable or not. “I feel deserved if I could help people out here feel that the festival was worth visiting even in this sweltering mid-summer heat ,” “It is wonderful to volunteer in this campaign while still being able to enjoy the mood of the Gion Festival,” some of team members said.
Volunteering in the campaign renewed our awareness of the importance of in-depth understanding of community concerns. Taking clues from close dialogues with local communities, we will continue to seek forward-looking community contribution.
*Kyoto CSR Network: A network of Kyoto Prefecture-based businesses’ CSR personnel, administrative officers, etc. to exchange information, offer learning opportunities, and create chances for collaboration beyond organizational barriers.