- On 2021/7/30
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are an ambitious set of objectives established in 2015 to improve life on earth. The SDGs include both environmental goals such as clean energy and social goals such as eliminating poverty.
Of course, no one person or group can achieve these targets without assisting and cooperating with each other. The SDGs include partnerships themselves as a goal to achieve. SDG partnerships can happen on national and international levels. However, local municipalities are doing their part and introducing their own initiatives.
Recognition of Y-SDGs spreading throughout the city
In Japan, government and private organizations in Yokohama City have been particularly active. Yokohama City itself has introduced its own Y-SDGs certification system for organizations that meet certain requirements. Businesses can use the certification to work towards the SDGs and shift towards more sustainable management. The Y-SDGs are also planned to be used as a way of judging loans and investments.
Other benefits for businesses include displaying the certification on their homepage as well as preferential treatment at seminars and events from the Yokohama SDGs Design Center. The Design Center is another Yokohama-based initiative. It is a semi-public and semi-private organization for promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to preferential treatment for Y-SDGs certified companies, the Center offers various services for members. These include SDG courses and study sessions, coworking spaces and promotional support.
Yokohama SDGs Design Center’s innovative projects
The SDGs Design Center is also involved in collaborations with other organizations and innovative projects that help promote the SDGs. In 2020, the Center paired up with wood home builder Aqura Home to make the world’s first wooden straws. Based on an idea from an environmental journalist, the straws are made from thinly shaved logged wood and avoid the sogginess of paper straws. Businesses such as The Capitol Hotel Tokyo have started using them to help eliminate plastic waste.
This is not the only project that Aqura Home and the Design Center have teamed up on. Working with IKEA Japan, the two organizations started the SDGs Life Design Project in 2019. In August and September of that year, Aqura Homes opened the SDGs House in their Kohoku Display Village. The house contained materials and furniture built from sustainable and eco-friendly materials. The goal was to show individual consumers that they can make more sustainable choices in their own lives.
Yokohama accelerating to achieve SDGs with strong partnerships
There are also private businesses founded in Yokohama, which try to achieve the SDGs and make life better and more sustainable. The Yokohama-based company People Port was founded in part to help give employment opportunities to refugees and to make more sustainable personal computers. A portion of their revenue also goes to educational support for children.
Other Yokohama organizations, such as educational institutions, are also establishing SDG initiatives and partnerships. Yokohama National University has made its own declaration and webpage on the Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this, the university has also worked with groups locally and internationally to make an impact. Professors from YNU have held seminars at Vietnamese Universities. The university has also collaborated with the Japan International Cooperation Center to hold SDG card game workshops for its students.
Achieving the SDGs requires cooperation between individuals and groups. This cooperation may be thought of as larger or more international in scale. However, as seen in Yokohama, local partnerships can do their part to spread awareness and reach the Sustainable Development Goals to make a healthier and more sustainable living environment for everyone.
[Reference] How do we make circular innovations happen in Yokohama? (Event report of Circular Economy Plus School Vol.9) | Circular Yokohama(Japanese)
[Reference]World’s first wooden straws join fight against plastic pollution
This article was originally posted on Zenbird.