March 24, 2009


New Ideas for Sustainable Future: Kids' "Create Your Future" Website

Keywords: Newsletter 

JFS Newsletter No.78 (February 2009)

JFS launched their Kids' "Create Your Future" Website in August 2005 with an aim to encourage children worldwide to take interest in and gain an understanding of environmental issues, and to think and act independently in response.

Through this site, we emphasize the concept of taking a creative approach toward the realization of a more ecological future on our planet unrestrained by conventional ideas, and we aim to introduce innovative ways of thinking to support concrete methods for sustainable living.

While there are several Websites oriented toward children worldwide that provide current information about the environment in existence, our Kids' "Create Your Future" Website not only explains the current state and causes of environmental destruction, but also features proposals for revolutionizing our approach to creating a sustainable future.

The source for the material for this site is from the book, Ima no Chikyu, Bokura no Mirai - Zutto Sumitai Hoshi Dakara ("Our Earth, Our Future - Let's Take Care of Our Only Home") written by JFS Co-Chief Executive Junko Edahiro, and was made available through the cooperation of the publisher PHP Institute, the illustrator Sachiko Tenmyo, and website designers at Service Grant team.

This time, we introduce one of the most popular articles of the Kids' "Create Your Future" Website.


Buying the Function, Not the Product Itself -- We can live with less without giving up our comforts

Do you turn on your heaters at home when you're cold in winter? Most of you probably have heaters in your house, but you don't really want all that equipment cluttering your home, do you? All we really want is the heat that they provide. Wouldn't it be great if we could buy only the heat and not the heaters?

In fact, this has actually become possible. In Japan there is a company called Nihonkai Gas in Toyama Prefecture. While they mainly sell gas, this company also sells gas appliances such as oven range units and heaters.

Nihonkai Gas started a new service of renting gas heating units during wintertime. This began from the idea that their customers have no use for heaters that are useless in summer. They only want the heat generated by these heaters in the wintertime. So the company decided, "Let's not sell them heaters, let's sell them heat."

So, at the beginning of winter, they rent gas-heating units to customers, and when it gets warm in the spring, the company comes to pick them back up. Since they have professionals to care for the heaters and store them properly until the following winter, the units will last longer those that sit around the rest of the year cluttering people's homes.

When Nihonkai Gas first announced in the fall that they would rent the heater for 3,000 yen (U.S.$28) per unit that winter, they were a big hit. Reservations for all 150 units were made immediately, and the demand was so great that they also rented out additional 100 units.

Anyone can rent these heaters during the cold season, and since they're collected in the spring, they won't take up precious storage space. The company also profits because all of the units will be kept well-maintained to rent out for several years, and their customers are satisfied with such a convenient service.

This way, the heaters themselves are given a long life span, which means that resources and energy for otherwise manufacturing new heaters are saved, and likewise, the waste of broken-down heaters is reduced. What an earth-friendly service!

Here, the key to great success was achieved not by focusing on selling a product--in this case, heating units--but on selling their function of providing warmth. By concentrating on the role or purpose of the product instead of on the product itself, we can reduce unnecessary damage to the earth without even sacrificing our comfort or happiness.

See also:
"Essence of Our Service Is Heat, Not the Heater" (Nihonkai Gas)


We would be glad if our message for the children of the world to stay determined and challenge the deteriorating conditions of our planet reaches as many youth as possible. Please help us by introducing our site to children and educators worldwide.

Written by Noriko Sakamoto