“A project created by all citizens of Osaka Prefecture”A retail business from Osaka “repaying the favor” to the post-expo future: Vol. 2
Scene of a meeting

In parallel with preparations for GREEN AGE, there is a challenge employees themselves took on. The outcome is 16 handmade tables lined up in the “Collaboration Area,” a space for employees to interact, which is located at a corner of H2O’s new office which opened at the end of August 2022. When the 2D code printed on the table is scanned with a smartphone, the photos and voices of the employees who visited the thinning site and assembled the cut trees are reproduced vividly.

Is it possible to extend this experience to residents and make it a project for all Osaka residents? The Sustainability Promotion Department’s proposal became the concept for the Co-Design Challenge. When Nishida assumed the position of general manager, he looked back on the history of the company and its founding philosophy and was struck by something.

“We are a local company rather than a global company. What has created our corporate value is our customers living in Osaka, who have come into contact with us with great affection, such as Hankyu, Hanshin, and Izumiya, and who have nurtured us as members of the local community. Of course, we need to repay their favor, but also need to ‘repay the favor’ to the post-expo future.” Nishida says that the idea behind the Co-Design Challenge is “to go back to the basics.”

The time has come for a major project involving the citizens of the prefecture. The three keywords are “visible,” “accessible,” and “community-led.” They invite residents of the prefecture who share their vision on the special website, encouraging residents to visit the forest together and experience it with all five senses. They also intend to have the residents participate in interviews on and writing articles to be uploaded to the site.

“During the production process, we rediscovered the charm of the region, and the bonds between the region deepened and the sense of unity increased. We want to share these exciting experiences with the local people,” emphasizes Nishida, as he views benches just as a symbol. “What happens after the Expo is even more important.” Thirty benches will be prepared at the venue. In addition to working with residents to find a place to return them after the event, they also envision that the 31st bench will be created and passed on to future generations in various locations by disclosing the process of making the bench. They hope that this initiative will provide an opportunity for people of all ages to interact with each other and think about the forest.

“The main subject is the people of the community. This is something we can do because we are a retail business that has direct contact with the local community. We want them to not just go to the Expo, but to be involved in it and make it a memory that will never fade,” says Nishida. The true value of H2O’s sustainability goals will be demonstrated.

Table made of wood produced in Osaka
A view of the lumber auction market during a visit to the site

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