Name: Jean-Pierre Bernardino
Title: President & Representative Director, Area General Manager for North-East Asia
Years in Japan: Over 30
What was your first connection to Japan, and what led to the opportunity to come here?
I was born and raised in Portugal, and as a child I already watched Japanese anime, which were quite often shown on TV in Japanese with Portuguese subtitles. I think that created a subconscious interest (in Japan) very early. Then later I studied Japanese at my business school in France, and I jumped at the chance to come here to study at Hitotsubashi University for a one-year exchange. When I graduated from business school, I decided it would be a pity not to use the experience, and so I applied for a job at a company here.
You’ve been with Puratos for 14 years now. What is the best thing about this company for you?
I think it is the field we work in, with these products and with food, which is the essence of human life. So being able to work in this environment every day brings me great pleasure.
Puratos is committed to sustainability, including your signature Cacao-Trace initiative. What exactly is this?
The principle is that we buy the cacao directly from the farmers, with post-harvest centers close to the production site where we can master the fermentation ourselves. This results in the best-quality cacao and the best-tasting chocolate. Moreover, we also pay a fair price to the farmers — usually above market price — and offer them the security of knowing we will buy a certain volume each year. Every kilo of Cacao-Trace chocolate that is sold generates 10 cents of chocolate bonus which used by the Next Generation Cacao Foundation to fund community projects like schools and potable water stations that improve the livelihoods of the local communities.
What are your favorite aspects about living and working in Japan?
I love the food, and also that people here are so dedicated and committed to everything they do, and are very reliable. Also, the overall level of security that we enjoy here in Japan is astounding and unique for a country of this size.
What is your personal motto in life?
Basically, “Never give up.” We all have challenges of many kinds coming at us, and my personal approach is to never give up. Eventually you will find a way to overcome these things, if you have a determined mindset. That’s what I’ve done until up now, and it has served me well.
For the full article, please visit: https://sustainable.japantimes.com/lr
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