Yuri Mito’s interest in environmentally responsible production began while she was pursuing her Masters in Local Economic Development and has continued since her graduation in 2003.
In 2004, she led efforts to organize the first international conference on green purchasing in Japan. As a result, the International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) was established, and today continues to promote green purchasing on a global scale.
In 2007, Mito moved from Japan to Rwanda where she works to support sustainable development. Together with a Japanese business partner, she launched a fair trade company that exports traditional hand-made Rwandan baskets to the high-end Japanese consumer market. The company provides employment to vulnerable women in the capital city of Kigali and so far has helped approximately 300 weavers find stable employment.
Mito is currently running a private study on bio-fuels and researching a method for developing textile products from residual banana fibers, an effort that was recently recognized by official endorsement from the Rwandan Head of State.
Yuri is a 2012 Faculty of Environment Alumni Achievement Award nominee.