UK and Japan experts collaborate to tackle business sustainability challenges

Dr Rebecca Liu stand at the front of a seminar room speaking to an audience sat behind desks.

Business and academic leaders from the UK and Japan joined together to investigate the opportunities and challenges firms face when they develop sustainable practices.

‘Sustainability, Design-Thinking, and Digitalization – The Trinity’ was a hybrid seminar held in Yokohama, Japan. It brought global perspectives to the issues of balancing sustainability with profit, and explored how the application of design-thinking and innovative approaches such as digitalisation play an important role.

Members of Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communication and Lancaster University Management School’s Leaders in Residence (LiR) network were among those to share their expertise with an international audience.

Dr Rebecca Liu, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), event co-organiser, said: “This was a valuable opportunity to bring together representatives from international organisations and renowned scholars to discuss really important issues.

“We had experts in sustainability, design-thinking and digitalisation from both the UK and Japan, allowing us to highlight the importance knowledge sharing for sustainability and the circular economy.

“As a School, we have expertise in both sustainability and innovation, and we always strive to promote cross-disciplinary cooperation within and beyond the University. Such collaborations fit in with the Sustainable Development Goals – particularly SDG 17, partnerships for the goals – and we look forward to carrying on this work in future.”

The event was organised between Hitotsubashi University and Kanagawa University in Japan, and Lancaster University, and funded by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

Lancaster LiRs Justin Ablett, Global Lead for Adobe, IBM iX – Customer Transformation, at IBM Corporation, and Keith Williams, founder and CEO of leading value identification and executive engagement company Periphas, both gave presentations to those in Japan and others joining the event online.

Justin discussed industry practice within a multi-national organisation, while Keith provided a thought-provoking look at the “Trinity” from a practitioner viewpoint, showing how Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) measures, executive pay and even procurement can be influenced by these concepts.

Other speakers were Professor Gordon Blair, of the School of Computing and Communication at Lancaster; Dr Mitsuteru Mutsuda, General Manager, Innovation and Business Development Headquarters and Assistant Head of Biomass Innovation Centre, at Daicel Corporation; and Yoshitaka Shibata, Chief Designer, Centre of Global Social Innovation, at Hitachi Limited.

Salma Atcha, who oversees the LiR network as Business Networks Officer, said: “The event was a great example of the knowledge exchange possibilities the LIR network presents, and how our leaders can collaborate with researchers both here in Lancaster and at other higher education institutions. We hope we can build on this event for future collaborations.”Leaders in Residence Keith Williams (left) and Justin Ablett (right) look towards the camera.

Keith Williams (left) and Justin Ablett

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