On January 10, Shizenkan held its traditional joint forum with the IESE Business School, this time with the support of the UN Global Compact Network Japan. The event, titled “Redefining Value Creation by Companies in the Age of Sustainability and Wellbeing”, was held at the Toranomon Hills Forum with about 200 participants.
In his opening remarks, the Dean of IESE, Professor Franz Heukamp, talked about sustainable business practices, the dangers of oversimplifying the complex processes (which one can argue made the shareholder supremacy theory so popular), and the concept of “common good” that can help to develop new models to assess actions by individuals and corporates.
Mr. Toshio Arima, Chairman of the UN Global Compact Network Japan, delivered his keynote speech in which he introduced the four initiatives of the late Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN, including the establishment of the Global Compact and the introduction of the mechanisms to move companies (ESG, SDGs, etc.). Mr. Arima also shared his ideas and practical experience in corporate governance on how to achieve well-being.
Mr. Arima’s speech was followed by Ms. Yumi Otsuka, Chief Sustainability Officer at Toyota Motor Corporation. Ms. Otsuka, who has always been at the forefront of Toyota’s transformation, spoke about the sustainability transformation Toyota is currently undergoing and the challenges it is facing along the way.
Professor Tomo Noda, President and Chair of Shizenkan University, shared his ideas on how companies can redefine value creation and set the agenda for the panel discussion that followed between him, Prof. Heukamp, Ms. Otsuka, and Prof. Fabrizzio Ferraro, Academic Director of the Institute for Sustainability Leadership, IESE, who joined remotely from Barcelona.
The era of shareholder supremacy which lasted 30 years is over, but we have yet to find an alternative framework. There is a need to redefine value creation by companies and the roles and responsibilities that managers play; there is no clear answer yet and the conversation is ongoing. We hope that this forum helps advance the pursuit of finding those answers.