On a cold and rainy day in January, Business for a Better World, the AY2020 NUCB Virtual Winter Program, kicked off with 20 participants representing 14 different countries across the globe! This week is fully built on the theme of sustainability to raise awareness and to challenge the participants on how to shape business for the greater good of the society and the world.
Hosted by John Kang and Kishore Kumar François, the Assistant Directors for International Affairs of both institutions, the Orientation & Welcome Party provided the participants a detailed explanation of the program, how the learning objectives will be achieved by the end, and about the Participant-Centered Learning pedagogy. Serving as a platform to network, fun games were also organized for everyone to break the ice and to get to know each other better prior to the group work that they will be doing for the final project.
Prof. Seiichiro Iwasawa and Prof. Louie Wong delivered lectures on Sustainable Financial Management and Challenging the Supply Chain respectively. The former introduced the concept of socially responsible investing (SR), showing its growing importance and practice, while the latter focused on the global supply chains, bringing up ideas of solutions for all the challenges that are present. Both sessions brought in the ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) standards and were preceded by presentations by industry experts, which provided useful insights and thought-provoking questions for the professors to tackle.
Presenters during the first two days comprising the ‘Inspiration’ stage of the program included Robin Lewis with his Day 1 talk entitled, ‘Sustainability & Social Impact in Japan: How We Can Do Good, Better’, and Peter Faulkner with a Day 2 presentation on ‘Driving Sustainability in Information Technology through Governance, Risk & Compliance’.
Through his self-introduction, Robin explained how his journey through university, early career and various experiences around the world led him to become a social entrepreneur, based in Japan and involved in bringing awareness and actions for a better world. After highlighting some of the pressing issues in terms of plastic waste and consumption, as the co-founder of mymizu and co-founder and director of Social Innovation Japan, he used them as case studies (among other examples) to introduce the concepts of social enterprises, B. Corps and Benefit Corps, and Linear vs Circular Economy. An interactive discussion was opened up where many students expressed their entrepreneurial spirit and the importance of sustainability was made very clear through their inquiries.
Peter discussed how his length experience in the world of ICT has raised important questions about the role of ICT companies and governmental regulatory bodies in guiding industry towards sustainability. Covering topics such as the environmental cost of consumer electronics' waste and global energy usage, he shared his concerns about problematic thinking in the industry and the inefficient processes that are produced as a result. The Q&A session delved into the need for consumers to take responsibility, for team leaders to encourage a culture of sharing ideas, and, most important of all, for crucial data to be gathered and publicized in order to shift public opinion.
Moving onto Day 3, the start of the ‘Synthesis: Discussion leadership, critical thinking’ stage with joint lecture sessions, we are welcoming Katsura Sunshine as a special guest for an English Rakugo session as the cultural experience portion of our program!