Sustainable Brands 2021 Yokohama will take place on Feb. 24 and 25 at Pacifico Yokohama North in the city’s vibrant Minato Mirai area. As one of the largest domestic sustainability community events and the fifth of its kind to be held in Japan, the conference is a chance for stakeholders from every sector of society to learn about the latest sustainability initiatives and trends.
The theme of this year’s conference is “We are Regeneration,” and more than 200 speakers will be sharing their insights throughout the two-day event, offering a multitude of perspectives on sustainable management practices. When the coronavirus pandemic ends, the world will be able to refocus its efforts on finding a model for sustainability that can exist in harmony with the environment, regenerating the planet on which we are all living.
In view of the current situation with COVID-19, both in-person and online options will be offered in a hybrid approach at Sustainable Brands 2021 Yokohama. Most of the sessions will be livestreamed, making the event accessible by anyone, irrespective of their location. Enhanced measures will be introduced at the venue to safeguard the well-being of all on-site attendees.
Sustainable Brands was inspired by the sustainable development goals (SDGs), which were adopted by all United Nations members in 2015. Guided by the principle of “leaving no one behind,” the SDGs collectively promote a holistic approach to sustainability, with aims that include ending poverty, protecting the Earth and ensuring that all people can live in prosperity by 2030. The 17 SDGs are integrated, recognizing that development must be a balance of social, economic and environmental sustainability.
The concept for the Sustainable Brands conference was developed by U.S firm Sustainable Life Media Inc., and 14 cities around the world have hosted them so far. Japanese event and marketing firm Hakuten partnered with SLM to hold Japan’s inaugural Sustainable Brands conference in March 2017, and the event has grown steadily ever since, with year-on-year increases in attendees, speakers and programs. Over 3,300 people from 725 organizations participated in Sustainable Brands Yokohama 2020.
An impressive range of leaders and innovators are slated to speak at this year’s conference. Among the featured speakers at the plenary sessions on the first day is Yumi Otsuka of Toyota Motor Corp. As deputy chief sustainability officer since 2020, Otuska has been responsible for handling this issue at Toyota. She will share this global automotive leader’s vision and strategies for contributing to the achievement of the SDGs through its businesses.
Another plenary speaker will be Tatsuaki Seki, managing executive officer and chief sustainability officer of Seiko Epson Corp. In his session titled “Toward the Realization of a Sustainable Society,” he will talk about Epson’s ideas on sustainability and its collaborative approach to solving societal issues in the future.
Also featured on the 24th is Dave Muenz, executive officer at Kao Corp., who will be participating in the panel discussion “Compass for Sustainable Brands.” Muenz brings to the table his 34 years of working with consumer brands and retail businesses in the beauty care and food industries, and is now responsible for developing and executing global environmental social and governance strategies across the Kao Group.
Recognition of sustainability issues is not limited to the corporate world. Since the introduction of its Future Cities Initiative in 2010, Japan has been promoting innovative urban planning that embraces environmental, social and economic values, enhancing the quality of life of all residents. In line with this, Sustainable Brands 2021 Yokohama is pleased to offer the “Sustainable Cities & Communities Forum” for representatives of regional governments, with the theme of “local development and regional revitalization.” Officials from Japan’s designated SDGs Future Cities, one of which is Yokohama, as well as other municipalities from around the country will gather to share ideas on creating sustainable cities.
As millennials and Generation Z will make up the overwhelming majority of the workforce and the buying public by 2030, education for sustainable development (ESD) is expected to become of major importance in the future. Although the concepts of respect and care for the environment are part and parcel of Japan’s educational system, the topic of sustainability is new territory for teachers and students alike.
Recognizing the importance of giving young people a chance to add their voices to the conversation, Sustainable Brands 2021 Yokohama will feature sessions for university and high school students from around Japan. Forty high school students selected from all over Japan will participate as “SB Student Ambassadors,” while interested university students are invited to apply under a special invitation program. Moreover, a “teachers’ camp” on ESD will be offered to support educators fostering this next generation of leaders in sustainability.
A sustainable business is one that improves societal and environmental conditions while still generating a profit. Although a growing number of organizations are now integrating sustainability into their business strategies, it can be challenging to identify the best way to implement change and innovation. The Sustainable Brands conference supports businesses in incorporating sustainable management practices, which can lead to increased competitiveness and brand value for the company.
Sustainable Brands 2021 Yokohama welcomes participants from a wide range of corporate sectors, including not only corporate social responsibility and sustainability divisions, but also as marketing, brand strategy, business development, supply chain and procurement, and human resource management. In addition to the various speeches, other important features of the conference include the networking area and workshops, where participants can discuss common themes that transcend corporate and global boundaries. This important event is sure to inform and inspire all who attend.