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The xSDG Laboratory seeks to amass SDGs-related best practice by using the SDGs to design solutions to a range of complex social problems. The “x” represents the crossing of various social activities with SDGs to create cutting-edge, superior examples of action for achieving specific targets.
If you are finding it hard to ascertain how best to tackle the myriad targets of
the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs), you are not alone.
The underlying aim of the SDGs is to ensure no one is left behind; and all
individual nations and stakeholders are expected to take action on a variety of
levels to help promote that aim. SDGs awareness and understanding among private
corporations is gradually improving in Japan, but many are still feeling
their way when it comes to deciding how exactly to implement them.
Against that background, the Keio Research Institute at the
Shonan-Fujisawa Campus (SFC) set up the xSDG
Laboratory in October 2017 and the xSDG
Consortium in June 2018, to create superior examples of action designed to
achieve SDGs; and, in so doing, build a solid intellectual foundation for future
The Keio Research Institute at SFC (KRIS) serves as a platform to
promote open innovation through industry-government-academia cooperation. KRIS
works hard to tackle unforeseen problems that could haunt modern society by
organizing an interdisciplinary group research laboratory, and a research
consortium aiming to promote collaboration with industry and local authorities.
KRIS is already standing at the forefront of the nation’s advanced research. The
“x” in the KRIS xSDG Laboratory and xSDG Consortium represents the crossing of
various social activities — such as corporate action, public initiatives,
consumption and investment, and IoT — with SDGs to create cutting-edge, superior
examples of action for achieving specific targets, and convey them across Japan
and other parts of the world.
The xSDG Laboratory seeks to ascertain and amass SDGs-related best practice by
using the SDGs as an entry point for designing solutions to a diverse range of
complex social problems. Laboratory members, primarily from KRIS, get together
to conduct research, while also pursuing joint research with industry and
government to develop tailor-made solutions to individual issues.
The Laboratory’s joint industry research explores and supports the
implementation of SDGs action strategies based on an academic foundation — which
includes medium- to long-term management based on SDGs, the analysis and
formulation of businesses to be included in ESG
and the development of indices to measure social impacts.
The joint government research promotes the creation of new indices for
evaluating public authorities’ performance vis-à-vis SDGs and diagnosing those
authorities to create added value in non-urban areas.
Meanwhile, the xSDG Consortium invites companies and public authorities to join
as research members (for an annual fee) — or “vision-sharing partners” (VSP) —
to share ideas and cooperate for the future.
One of the consortium’s main activities is to hold meetings, which share
specialist knowledge from experts on a certain topic and encourage debate,
opinion exchange and workshops on latest policy trends by relevant ministries.
The consortium also provides and exchanges information on international SDGs
trends, as well as examples of initiatives, indices and policies underway in
In addition, the consortium sets up issue-specific subcommittees to dig deeper
into certain topics; and create cross-industry standards, targets and action
plans together with local government. The consortium currently has active
subcommittees on finance
the global plastic
and several other topics.
Furthermore, the consortium is carving collaborative relationships between
companies, regional authorities, relevant ministries, NPOs and NGOs, and
pressing ahead with programs to achieve the SDG 17: Partnerships for the
Another consortium function is to hold symposiums and advice sessions for VSPs
looking to formulate their own SDGs-focused action plans.
Image credit: SUSCOM
As an illustration of its recent activities, on September 6, 2019, the xSDG
Laboratory submitted a proposal to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
for its revision of the SDGs implementation guiding principles. The document was
compiled by volunteer members of the SDGs Promotion Roundtable Meeting with the
participation of stakeholders aiming to further SDGs implementation in Japan,
and the xSDG Laboratory served as operating secretariat.
Later that same month, the xSDG Laboratory supervised the publication of the
2019 SDGs White Paper. The first such white paper in Japan, the volume seeks to
organize SDGs initiatives and indicators in Japan, and accelerate future
Building on these efforts, on September 23, we held a KRIS xSDG Laboratory and
xSDG Consortium symposium in New
York entitled Essence for Successful Actions Towards Achieving the
which was timed to coincide with the UN General Assembly. Several industry
and government members introduced initiatives at the symposium including xSDG
Laboratory representative director Norichika Kanie, a professor from the
Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance, and representatives
from All Nippon Airways Holdings, Rakuten, Shizuoka City and other
companies and authorities participating in the xSDG Consortium.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals encompass a daunting 169 targets, which
makes it extremely hard for individuals, companies and local authorities to
determinedly tackle and resolve those complex issues alone. xSDG activities are
designed to serve as a central hub that can illustrate many successful examples
of dedicated action to the broader world, and help contribute to the solid
achievement of the SDGs. Expectations are mounting that the xSDG Laboratory and
xSDG Consortium will act as a vehicle to boost the implementation of SDGs in
Published Nov 21, 2019 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET
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