Sustainable Brands 2019 Tokyo (SB'19 Tokyo) was held on March 6-7, at the Hilton Tokyo. 189 leaders from both domestic and foreign companies and NGOs, and more than 2,240 participants took part.
Along with the main theme of the conference, "Redesigning the Good Life,” participants discussed topics including “How to achieve a good life from the consumers’ point of view?” and “The role of brands in facilitating that good life.”
This year was the third consecutive year the conference has been held in Japan. The event aims to create and provide a platform for cross-border exchanges with companies and organizations to help them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and generate future innovations together, something that has been traditionally difficult to accomplish individually.
At the opening of the conference, Sustainable Brands CEO Koann Vikoren Skrzyniarz, who presides over the SB International Conference, stated:
"It is necessary to change oneself, and change leadership and organizations in the process. A brand is the way one talks to the world; each act as a consumer and a citizen is an important part of building our global community.”
For the plenary session, a large number of companies, agencies, organizations, and top-runners — including Takaaki Nishii, President of Ajinomoto; David Rachelson, VP of Sustainability at Rubicon Global; Asako Hoshino, SVP of Nissan Motor Co.; Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble; and Jan Jones Blackhurst, former mayor of Las Vegas and now VP at Caesars Entertainment — shared insights on the main stage.
Interest in sustainability has pervaded business units
A post-event survey of participant satisfaction with the breakout sessions showed the highest satisfaction for the session titled, “The financial system that will transform the world and the region,” followed by "The challenge for the circular economy: the plastic issue.”
The makeup of the participants also changed from the previous year. Among the participants from companies, the percentage of “CSR/sustainability personnel” (33 percent in the previous two years) decreased to 25 percent. On the other hand, the number of business divisions, such as "Technology/Engineering" and "Sales representatives/Shop clerks,” increased twofold — from 7 percent last year to 15 percent. From these numbers, it appears that interest in sustainability is gradually trickling down to the field level.
The next SB International Conference in Japan will take place in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture — which was also selected as an “SDG Future City” — on February 19-20, 2020.