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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Aikasa, the umbrella market share company, announces results of its efforts to achieve zero disposable umbrellas by 2030! Collaboration with all 10 major railroad companies also achieved!

Nature Innovation Group, the operator of "Aicasa," an umbrella sharing service that makes rainy days more comfortable and happy, announced the launch of the "2030 Zero Disposable Umbrellas Project for Buildings," an initiative launched in FY2022 to reduce disposable umbrella waste, as well as the completion of a partnership with 10 major railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The company announced the launch of the "2030 Zero Disposable Umbrellas Project for Buildings" with the aim of reducing the number of disposable umbrellas and the completion of a partnership with 10 major metropolitan area railroad companies!

The "2030 Zero Disposable Umbrellas Project" is an initiative to reduce the number of disposable umbrellas to zero in Japan, the world's worst consumer of plastic umbrellas, which consumes approximately 80 million umbrellas(*) per year.

Every year, approximately 120-130 million umbrellas (*1) are consumed in Japan. Most of these umbrellas are disposable umbrellas, such as vinyl umbrellas, which are purchased when it rains unexpectedly and there are umbrellas at home.

1 Japan Umbrella Promotion Association (http://www.jupa.gr.jp/pages/faq ) according to a survey of
2 Environmental issue of Umbrella(Salesian National College of Technology, Department of Design, Value Creation Laboratory)

The 2030 Zero Disposable Umbrellas Project is a project led by Aicasa and launched in FY2022 with the goal of eliminating disposable umbrellas by 2030, the deadline for achieving the SDGs. In conjunction with major companies, the project will realize a larger development of a system that allows people to borrow Aicasa anytime, anywhere.

Since the start of last year, new partners who are actively involved in SDGs and ESG management, such as Sekidenko Co.

Since the creation of more umbrellas will help reduce the number of disposable umbrellas, participating companies will jointly create and install umbrellas with their own original designs. In addition, all employees of participating companies will be issued a free one-year Aicasa coupon, and other efforts will be made to achieve the goal of zero disposable umbrellas through actions together with Aicasa.

Comments from companies newly participating in the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project

Seki Electric Works, Ltd.
Our goal is to become a "Green Innovation Company" that provides high value to society and our customers by contributing to the creation of safe and comfortable communities through the construction of electric power and telecommunications infrastructure.

Tokyo Gas Co.
We are working together with our customers to solve social issues through "Let's All Get Involved! Decarbonization Action" to solve social issues together with our customers. We decided to participate in this project in order to familiarize our customers with the actions needed to realize a decarbonized society.

MIRARTH Holdings, Inc.
Our group aims to achieve sustainable development by promoting sustainability activities through our business, such as the supply of new condominiums and other housing and the development of power plants that utilize renewable energy, and by contributing to the resolution of social issues. We participated in this project because we sympathize with the Group's goal of "making people and the Earth happy in the future. Through the use of "aikasa," the entire group will work toward the goal of zero disposable umbrellas.

Launched the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project for Buildings" to reduce the number of disposable umbrellas in office buildings and other workplaces, in collaboration with five major real estate and J-REIT asset management companies.

In June 2022, Aicasa launched the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030" project, and as a result of this project in fiscal year 2022, Aicasa has completed cooperation with all major railroad companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. In order to promote the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030" initiative, we have launched the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project for Buildings" for office buildings and other buildings.

Stations, office buildings, condominiums, convenience stores, commercial facilities, and universities. In order to create a social infrastructure in which people can live anywhere with an aikasa nearby and have no worries on rainy days, we will expand our service to office buildings, which are in great demand by our customers, as the next location to expand our service after stations. By connecting the stations and office buildings, where people spend most of their time, with AICASA, workers will be able to move around and conduct their daily activities without worrying about rain. At the same time, we hope to reduce the amount of abandoned umbrellas in office buildings and contribute to the realization of a recycling-oriented economy as well as CO2 emissions as environmental measures are promoted in the future.

With the transition of the new coronavirus infection to a Class 5 infectious disease, companies that have adopted remote work are increasingly returning to the office. We will work with each partner to create the infrastructure that is indispensable on rainy days.

Taking the opportunity of this collaboration, we will expand the installation of umbrella stands in properties owned by participating partners and distribute free coupons to tenants of the properties to promote the use of Aicasa, thereby contributing to the reduction of disposable umbrellas.

Comments from companies participating in the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project for Buildings

Japan Real Estate Asset Management Co.
We consider ESG initiatives to be one of our top management priorities, and we participated in this project because we share Aicasa's mission to "reduce the number of disposable umbrellas to zero by 2030. By reducing the large amount of plastic umbrellas that are disposed of, we aim to reduce waste from office buildings and also to make building tenants "happy and comfortable" on rainy days.

Tokyu Land REIT Management Inc.
We share Aicasa's aspiration to create social infrastructure, and we decided to participate in this project because we would like to help by installing umbrellas in office buildings. We would like to work together with Aicasa to help develop a sustainable society where people can spend a comfortable life with environmentally friendly umbrellas even on rainy days.

Tokyo Tatemono Co.
The Ai-Casa Group's long-term vision, "Toward a Next-Generation Developer," aims to achieve both "resolution of social issues" and "growth as a company" at a higher level. In our building business, we are continuing our efforts to address the SDGs from both the development and management perspectives, and we are pleased to participate in this project because we share AICASA's commitment to the realization of a sustainable society.
We would like to reduce environmental impact and improve tenant services through collaboration among multiple companies.

Mitsubishi Estate Co.
As an environment-related KPI in its long-term management plan, the Mitsubishi Estate Group has set a goal of reducing waste emissions by 20% by 2030 compared to fiscal 2019. In order to achieve this goal, reducing the number of plastic umbrellas disposed of in the buildings we operate and manage is one of the key issues, and we believe that the umbrella sharing service by Aicasa is a very effective measure. Since about 3 years ago, our group has been supporting the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project" and has installed a total of 9 Aicasa umbrella stands in common areas of buildings in the Marunouchi area to improve convenience for workers in the area and reduce waste. In addition, 10 of our group companies have also introduced the "Aicasa Office Plan" for their employees.
We will continue to work together with related companies to reduce waste emissions and realize a society without disposable umbrellas.

Mori Trust Co.
As part of our commitment to the sustainable development of the Kamiyacho area, through our relationship with Nature Innovation Group, we have installed "aikasa" spots in several buildings in the area since July 2019, which we feel has led to increased convenience and environmental awareness in the city. Our slogan for our sustainability activities is "From Community Development to Future Creation. Through our participation in this project, we would like to contribute to Nature Innovation Group's goal of "zero disposable umbrellas" in the future.

The "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project," which started with eight companies in FY2022, has expanded to 12 companies as of FY2023.

<Current participating companies in the Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project

Asahi Kasei Home Products Corporation
Seki Electric Works, Ltd.
Suntory Holdings Limited
Japan Real Estate Asset Management Co.
Tokyu Land REIT Management Inc.
Tokyo Gas Co.
Tokyo Tatemono Co.
100BANCH (sponsored by Panasonic Group)
Mitsubishi Estate Co.
MIRARTH Holdings, Inc.
Mori Trust Co.
Rethink PROJECT (sponsored by JT)

Completion of collaboration with all major rail companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area as part of the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project" results report

As a result of this project announced in FY2022, we announced collaboration with all 10 major railroad companies in the metropolitan area. A major foundation has been laid for the immediate goal of installing all stations in the Aicasa metropolitan area, and a major milestone has been achieved toward the mid-term goal of the 2030 disposable umbrella project of installing 1,000 stations by 2024.

In April 2019, Aicasa was selected by Keihin Electric Express Railway and Samurai Incubate for the "KEIKYU ACCELERATOR PROGRAM" with the vision of "creating affluent lifestyles centered on mobility" and has started a demonstration experiment in the Shinagawa Station area.

Starting with this collaboration, we have focused on installing MaaS in stations and surrounding areas that serve as transportation focal points to create a town that is friendly on rainy days and where umbrellas are not needed, as a "regional collaboration-type MaaS" that links transportation infrastructure based on railroads with new transportation experiences and lifestyle services and the attractiveness of areas along the rail line. The installation of the system was focused on stations and surrounding areas that serve as transportation focal points.

Over the next four years, the service will be linked with nine major private railway companies and JR East lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including Keisei Electric Railway, JR East, Odakyu Electric Railway, Seibu Electric Railway, Keio Electric Railway and Tokyu Electric Railway in 2021, and Tokyo Metro, Tobu Railway and Sagami Railway in 2022, with spots installed at over 350 stations. We have achieved high recognition as Japan's first IoT umbrella sharing service that allows users to rent umbrellas unattended via a smartphone app, and have established a system that contributes to a comfortable travel experience on rainy days and a reduction in the number of disposable umbrellas in Japan.

Raised funds from existing shareholders including JR East

Aicasa raised funds from JR East Startup Co. and SG Incubate Co. in a Series A Extension Round in March 2023. aicasa is the first time that JR East Startup Co. has made an additional investment in a single company. Through this funding, we will further strengthen our partnership with railroad companies.

Comments from Tomoki Akutsu, Senior Manager, JR East Startup Co.

I believe that the spread of Aicasa, which is a good match with railroads, to each rail line is a sign of customer instructions. We would like to continue to accompany you in expanding service recognition and area.

Shuichi Takizawa of Machine Guns, as a special supporter, introduces how to dispose of time-consuming plastic umbrella trash.

At the "Zero Disposable Umbrellas by 2030 Project" presentation, Shuichi Takizawa, a comedian who serves as a sustainability ambassador for the Ministry of the Environment and also works as a waste cleaner, demonstrated how to dispose of plastic umbrellas. The method of disposing of plastic umbrellas varies from municipality to municipality, and he shared his ideas for reducing umbrella waste by introducing examples of how they must be carefully sorted.

Shuichi Takizawa

Born in Tokyo in 1976. Belongs to Ota Productions. In 1998, while a student at Tokyo Seitoku University, he formed the comedy duo "Machine Guns" with Ryo Nishibori. 2012, when his wife became pregnant, he started working for a garbage collection company. He has published 13 books to date, including the essay "Kono Gomi wa Kaitai Konnnai" (This Garbage Cannot Be Collected) published by Hakuya Shobo in 2018. In May 2023, the duo won second place in Fuji Television's "The Second.

What is Aicasa, Japan's first umbrella sharing service?

Aikasa is Japan's first full-fledged umbrella sharing service, launched in December 2018 with the mission of "making rainy days comfortable and happy" and "reducing disposable umbrellas to zero. Currently, the app has approximately 440,000 registered users. The service is available in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Kansai, Aichi, Okayama, Fukuoka, Saga, Sapporo, and other regions, and there are more than 1,250 spots, mainly along train lines.

Instead of buying a plastic umbrella each time it suddenly rains, you can rent a sturdy aikasa at a train station or in town, and when the rain stops, return the umbrella to the nearest umbrella spot for convenient, hand-free travel.

By establishing a sharing service system in which people use umbrellas only when necessary, we can live affluently with limited resources and reduce CO2 emissions by curbing wasteful consumption of umbrellas (approximately 692g CO2 reduction* per use of an aikasa).

CO2 reduction equivalent in FY2022: approx. 192,126 kg
Amount equivalent to plastic waste reduction in FY2022: 23,543 kg

In 2020, the company won the "World Communications Competition" sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in the service category, the "Good Life Award" sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment in the youth category in 2021, and the "Green Purchasing Award" Minister's Prize in 2022, We are building an infrastructure as a "rainy day platform" so that each and every one of us can spend the time we want to spend now, sharing umbrellas and creating a society that is loving to both people and the earth.
*From the Ministry of the Environment's method for calculating 3R basic unit https://www.env.go.jp/press/files/jp/19747.pdf

name of companyNature Innovation Group Inc.
EstablishmentJun 2018
Location402 Yoyogi Chuo Building, 3-1-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
representativeShoji Marukawa
uniform resouce locatorhttps://www.i-kasa.com
Download the aikasa application:https://ikasa.onelink.me/IdAp/390be792

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