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Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

With the implosion of the global economy and the death of banking as we knew it in the 20th century, what’s next?

Hironori Hamanaka, Chairman of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), believes we have a rare opportunity to create new, innovative frameworks for business and the global economy based on principals of interconnectedness and sustainability.

We met with Professor Hamanaka yesterday to talk about the successor to the Kyoto Protocol.  2009 is a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change, culminating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, 7-18 December.

Professor Hamanaka, formerly Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Environment, was sanguine about prospects for the Obama Administration being greener than that of its recent predecessor. Road blocks to U.S. participation in any new international climate change treaty are more likely to come from the U.S. Congress, he said.

Be that as it may, Professor Hamanaka thinks we may be on the verge of a new green frontier.

If so, Mitsubishi Corporation is certainly on the frontline of that frontier. We visited MC Senior Corporate Advisor and former Chairman Minoru (Ben) Makihara yesterday as well.

This year the global trading house is strengthening its CSR and environmental initiatives through INNOVATION 2009.

The plan calls Mitsubishi Corporation to develop businesses that “help society to achieve sustainable development and growth, particularly through environmental enterprises.”

MC’s key concerns encompass global warming, water resources, biodiversity and food resources.

(Daniel Rosenblum)

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Yugo Nakamura – A Wizard, a True Star

It’s the first day of our exploration of design and sustainability in Tokyo with Max Schorr and Casey Caplowe of GOOD Magazine and Valerie Casey of IDEO.

Wending our way through Shibuya, we arrive at tha ltd, the studio of maverick web designer Yugo Nakamura. You enter through the ground floor of a non-descript apartment building to an open foyer that doubles as a meeting space.

Nakamura, dressed casually in jeans and blue sweater, is a tall man with a shock of black hair peppered with gray. Using a laptop and projector he shares some of his latest work involving interactive Internet animation, including a series of ads for Uniqlo.

Another of Nakamura’s projects is an image bookmarking website, designed as a frame. “I love making images and looking at images I love,” Nakamura says. .

“It’s interesting because it’s the first generation of digital interactive art design on the web,” says Schorr.

Asked about his approach to work, Nakamura says, “I’m interested in methodology. “We work like craftsmen. Our clients have their ideas. We want to make our products as original and fun as possible.”

Asked about collaborating with his American visitors somewhere down the road, Nakamura’s enthusiastic.

He notes that getting people to do good often starts on a small scale, from mundane social networking like dating and friend finding.

“Maybe we can come up with a mechanism for mobilizing a small part of people who that will enable the collections of goodness among people through communication,” he says.

(Daniel Rosenblum)

Yugo Nakamura at his office

Yugo Nakamura at his office

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Newark Airport, morning, Feb.3, 2009

I’m waiting for my flight to Tokyo, thinking about the three days of intensive meetings Japan Society‘s Innovators Network will be hosting on the theme of sustainability and cutting edge design.

GOOD Magazine Co-Founders Casey Caplowe and Max Schorr, and Valerie Casey, Leader, Digital Design Experience of IDEO arrive in Tokyo on Thursday.

Among those they’ll meet with are Yugo Nakamura, a web designer, who is considered one of the most interesting talents in today’s digital design field; Satoshi Yasui, Head of Design Planning at Muji; and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, architect and founder of Atelier Bow-Wow, a leader of a new generation of Tokyo architects that promote a site- and use-specific approaches to design.

On February 8, Max, Casey and Valery will have a chance to share their thoughts on design and sustainability with a wider group at a public symposium, cohosted by JIDPO (Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization), called “Design + Community + Social Impact“.

I’ll be blogging live about the symposium, which starts at 2 p.m. Tokyo time.

The symposium also includes a dialogue between the Americans and Katsufumi Nagai, art director at Hakuhodo Design, Soichi Ueda, producer at Spaceport, on “The Designer’s Mission Today.’

Should be a lot of fun!

(Daniel Rosenblum)

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