Tokyo 2020 Games have already gained applaud for their environmental actions. Initiatives like medals manufactured of recycled metal and a solar-powered Olympic stadium, which will also be equipped with a rainwater retention system, are proof of the Japanese capital’s ambition to become the ‘world’s most eco-friendly low-carbon city’.

Athletes visit areas affected by natural disasters

Much as the environmental side of the Games is a striking example of Tokyo’s commitment to sustainability, other initiatives place the 2020 Olympics high on the sustainability scale. While bidding for the 2020 Games, the Japanese delegation caught the IOC’s attention when it pledged to demonstrate the power of sport to the world and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

Shortly after winning the bid, a number of natural disasters struck Japan, thus reinforcing the urgency to develop a meaningful project with a positive impact. This is how ‘The Caring Games’, the 2020 Olympics motto, came to life as it aims to involve local communities to assist in the recovery of the areas affected by natural disasters. Under this project, many athletes have visited the Tohoku region after the Japan Earthquake in 201, all committed to the promotion of sports for good.

The festivities will include the Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival, which will hold special cultural programmes in Tokyo, as well as the Tohoku region.

Inclusion and Diversity

The Sustainability strategy of the Olympics includes the celebration of diversity and inclusion. The Games are committed to accessibility, fair business practices free of corruption, decent labor and prevention of discrimination.

Resonating with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Tokyo has identified 3 key areas with risk potential to human rights: day-to-day work and workplaces; sourcing and supply chain; the Games and inside venues. The organizing committee is planning on introducing a system to respond to these challenges, which will include a reporting and consultation desk with a grievance mechanism.

Interested in Sports for Good? Register for SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, which will be held in Tokyo on 18-19 September. Worldwide experts, as well as officials and entrepreneurs,  will review new trends in sustainability, disruptive technologies and the future of cities.

Por Pedro Meduna*

Night traffic lights in Tokyo

(English version below)

A mobilidade urbana tem se transformado de forma acelerada e significativa em todo o mundo. As atuais demandas, tendências e exigências dos usuários têm impulsionado o surgimento de novas soluções tecnológicas em um mercado cada vez mais dinâmico e competitivo. Somado à velocidade desse ecossistema, temos o desafio da mobilidade urbana sustentável, que exige a adoção de novos modelos, capazes de trazer soluções para urbanização contemporânea e para o aumento da frota de veículos nas cidades, aliando isso à ações sustentáveis.

Em grandes centros como São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro ou qualquer outra metrópole mundial, o trânsito gerado pelo alto número de veículos individuais dificulta a locomoção das pessoas, afeta o meio ambiente e compromete a qualidade de vida pelas condições estressantes dos engarrafamentos, concentrados, principalmente, nas regiões de maior densidade populacional. A grande missão das empresas de mobilidade é a de buscar alternativas reais e inovadoras, o que não significa apenas inventar novas tecnologias, mas também criar soluções inteligentes de deslocamento para um público que disputa espaço com outros passageiros nos transportes coletivos ou com outros carros nas ruas.

Hoje podemos perceber que a tecnologia vem mudando a maneira com que as pessoas consomem e que essa tendência irá transformar a cultura da mobilidade urbana. Influenciadas pela economia colaborativa – conceito de rede na qual as pessoas acessam a bens e serviços através do compartilhamento, ao invés da aquisição – já podemos notar um movimento no comportamento das pessoas que passaram a basear seus hábitos de consumo em escolhas inteligentes e sustentáveis, focados no coletivo. “Compartilhar a possuir”, essa é a megatendência global e secular.

Muitas pessoas, por exemplo, estão deixando de comprar carros particulares ou até mesmo vendendo os seus próprios para optarem por novas formas de deslocamento. No entanto, trocar o veículo individual pelo transporte compartilhado ou optar por formas de locomoção mais sustentáveis é ainda uma atitude que exige mais do que boa vontade e trazer o diferencial em uma sociedade que há décadas valoriza o carro como principal meio de transporte se torna a chave para esse processo de transformação.

A mobilidade como serviço ou Mobility as a Service (Maas), caracterizada pela oferta de transporte personalizado, integrando os mais diversos modais em uma mesma plataforma com o objetivo de ampliar as alternativas de deslocamento das pessoas é, sem dúvida, o caminho para a construção da mobilidade urbana mais sustentável e harmoniosa nas grandes cidades. O centro crucial dessa solução está em buscar a “viagem mais eficiente”, considerando toda jornada do passageiro, desde da saída de casa até o seu destino final, com segurança, pontualidade, rapidez e economia.

Transformar as cidades em um melhor lugar para viver deve ser o principal propósito de uma empresa do setor de mobilidade. Para atingir este objetivo, é extremamente importante uma estreita colaboração entre os mais diversos operadores do setor e o poder público, buscando, não somente as novas tecnologias, mas também inovação, criação de valor e a transformação desse serviço, com a disponibilização de um sistema inteligente e conectado, capaz de interligar as cidades.

Assim, mais do que dar opções – desde táxi aéreos, passando por carros compartilhados “peer to peer” e táxis e chegando até a opções de micromobilidade, como os patinetes ou as bicicletas, chamados de “última milha”, aquela última pernada em áreas com alta densidade de trânsito – será possível sugerir qual o meio de transporte mais eficiente para o usuário, de acordo com a sua necessidade naquele momento específico. Ser capaz de processar diferentes dados e informações para lhe oferecer essa informação na interface de um aplicativo é, realmente, entregar o que chamamos hoje de mobilidade como serviço. Esse é o futuro que precisamos construir hoje.

*Pedro Meduna é Country Manager da Cabify Brasil

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Make cities better places to live in
By Pedro Meduna *

Urban mobility has been rapidly and significantly changing around the world. Current user demands have driven the emergence of new technology solutions in an increasingly dynamic and competitive market. In addition to the speed of this ecosystem, we have the challenge of sustainable urban mobility, which requires the adoption of new models, capable of bringing solutions for contemporary urbanization and the increase of the vehicle fleet in cities, combined with sustainable actions.

In large cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or any other global metropolis, the traffic generated by the high number of individual vehicles makes it difficult for people to move around, affects the environment and compromises the quality of life due to the stressful conditions of traffic jams, mainly concentrated in the most densely populated regions. Mobility companies’ great mission is to look for real and innovative alternatives, which not only means inventing new technologies but also creating intelligent travel solutions for a public that fights for space with other commuters or other cars on the street.

Today we can see that technology is changing the way people consume and that this trend will transform the culture of urban mobility. Influenced by the collaborative economy – the concept of networking in which people access goods and services through sharing rather than acquisition – we can already see a movement in the behavior of people who have come to base their spending habits on smart, sustainable, focused choices.

Many people are no longer buying private cars or even selling their own to opt for new forms of travel. However, exchanging the individual vehicle for shared transport or opting for more sustainable forms of transportation is still an attitude that requires more than goodwill and is disruptive in a society that for decades has valued ​​the car as the main means of transport becomes the key.

Mobility as a Service (Maas) is characterized by personalized transport, integrating the most diverse modes in one platform with the objective of expanding the alternatives of people displacement. It is undoubtedly the path to sustainable and harmonious urban mobility in large cities. This solution lies in pursuing the “most efficient journey,” taking into account every passenger journey from home to their final destination, safely, on time, quickly and economically.

Making cities better places to live must be the primary purpose of a mobility business. To achieve this goal, close collaboration between diverse operators in the sector and the government is extremely important, seeking not only new technologies but also innovation, value creation and the transformation of this service, with the provision of a system smart and connected, able to connect cities.

So more than giving options – from air charter to peer to peer shared cars and taxis, to micro-mobility options like scooters or bikes – it will be possible to suggest the most efficient means of transportation for the user, according to their needs at that specific time. Being able to process different data and information to offer it in an application interface is really delivering what we now call mobility as a service. This is the future we need to build today.

* Pedro Meduna is Country Manager of Cabify Brasil

The minimalistic Japanese philosophy resonates with sustainable consumption

Sustainable fashion brands are booming in Japan

In Japan, there’s an ancient term repeated by grandma’s for generations: “Mottainai”, which means “too good to waste”. While its origins lie on Buddhist traditions, the Mottainai philosophy relates to many aspects of Japanese culture: it carries the message that every object has an inherent value and that should be taken care of until the end of its lifespam. It resonates with the culture of respect and care that is cherished by Japanese tradition, but it also answers to the demands of our modern society for a more sustainable economy.

While there’s a global outcry for more ethical and environmental-friendly practices in fashion, beauty and leisure, the concept of fast and disposable goods has become obsolete. In this context, many sustainable start-up brands have come to light to show there’s a way to be socially and environmentally responsible while making profits – a trend that has inspired even giant chains.

This trend is represented by pioneer brands like People Tree, which has started to work with sustainable fashion more than 25 years ago, sourcing from local producers, garment workers and artisans in developing countries to produce ethical and eco-conscious clothing, and also by modern businesses likemStudio Membrane, which uses biodegradable fabrics to create clothing that resemble art.

MUJI store in Canada

Even cosmetics and beauty brands that are known for using ancient and natural ingredients have become valued and demanded, and not only by Asian consumers. European and American clients are increasingly interested in their sustainable packaging and organic formulas. 

It all helped Japanese brands to conquer Western markets, eager for products that are both innovative and eco-friendly. As of 2017, Japanese fashion chain Muji created its first sustainable collections, which use organic cotton and other sustainable materials. Since then, Muji has grown exponentially in Europe and has now more than 57 stores in the continent. Another Japanese fashion brand, Uniqlo has expanded in Europe by promoting its minimalistic, sustainable style, which includes recycling initiatives, reducing plastics and promoting ethical work.

Although these brands are seen as “trendy” and modern, many of them have worked under the traditional Mottainai philosophy. For generations, children are taught to not being wasteful and to respect the environment. One of the latest Netflix phenomena, the Japanese personal organizer Marie Kondo, is known for her minimalistic approach of things, which goes in the opposite direction of mindless consumerism.

As fast-fashion becomes an obsolete concept, the 3R motto (reduce, reuse, recycle) is starting to make sense for more consumers – or, as Mottainai grandma used to say in Japanese children’s books: “don’t waste!”.

Want to know more about Japan, the host country of SIGEF 2019? Follow our posts on Horyou blog.

SIGEF 2019 will take place in Tokyo on 18-19 September

There’s no doubt of the importance of high-speed internet connectivity to economic and social development. As consumers, workers, entrepreneurs or merely citizens, we all benefit from its applications, products and the systems it enables.

ITU Forum

Indeed, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ’s core mandate is connecting the unconnected – which means bringing the digitally disenfranchised of the world online, often those in remote and rural regions, in developing countries and from underrepresented groups such as women, older people, or the disabled.

Given that some 90% of the world’s population is already able to access at least 2G or 3G mobile data services, why is internet access stuck at just above 51%? What are the stumbling blocks to seeing the benefits of the digital age reaching more and more people across the globe?

The simple answer is that connectivity alone is not enough.

This is not to disregard the enormous difficulties in terms of investment costs and infrastructure deployment in what are often challenging topographies, with scattered populations, little or no access to reliable energy sources and markets that render current business models economically inviable.

These are real barriers to access, which require enormous creativity and innovation to overcome. But to really make a difference, connectivity needs to be supported by access to affordable devices, government awareness initiatives, digital literacy programmes, solutions and applications which are relevant to the local context and daily lives of new users.

Making connectivity meaningful is a whole new set of challenges – one that ITU Telecom World 2019 is happy to face head on. The leading tech event for governments, big industry players and SMEs, ITU Telecom World is organized each year by ITU, the UN’s principal agency for information and communication technologies. Taking place this year from 9 – 12 September in Budapest, Hungary, on the theme of “Innovating together: connectivity that matters”, the event will host a forum of expert-led critical debates addressing how we can collaborate across sectors and international boundaries to ensure the digital economy is not just accessible, but relevant, equitable and safe for all.

What new partnerships, regulatory approaches, government initiatives or industry models can impact on increasing meaningful connectivity? Can we create a culture of responsible innovation aimed at improving lives everywhere? How can the public sector, international organizations and industry bodies work together to mitigate digital exclusion?

These are questions which go to the very heart of the digital society in which many of us already live – and which is expanding exponentially, risking a further deepening of the divide between the connected and the unconnected.

Technological developments are crucial to increasing meaningful connectivity and bridging the divide. These include the range of new players, applications, and use cases in the world of satellites, such as small satellites, LEOs, HAPS and non-GSO constellations, with the potential to open up global, affordable access and new services.

Then there’s the growth of 5G as the key enabler of tomorrow’s digital economy, linking smartphones and wireless sensors, powering smart sustainable cities and the fourth industrial revolution. Its unprecedented potential is so great that many 5G services and applications are yet to be discovered, created or understood. But where do we really stand on 5G deployment, what policies and frameworks do we need to accelerate its implementation, and what should the role of government and private sectors be? Is 5G a springboard to the digital society in developing markets, can it be used to meet basic human needs as well as commercial and industrial ends, or will it increase that divide?

The same questions apply to the future of broadband and the rapid expansion of machine learning and AI. How can we capitalize on the potential of AI to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity – and not leave anyone behind?

Ensuring connectivity is equitable means establishing the digital principles and values of our increasingly digital future. As machine learning and AI develop, so too does the risk of replicating the biases of the limited few inputting the data behind those powerful algorithms – with potential dramatic ramifications for individuals across, for example, the justice system, employment and financial sectors.

Dismantling the barriers of disability with technology, creating better accessibility and access to services is critical to inclusion.

Consumers need to be educated and informed on the importance of data management, from those in developed markets all too happy to trade their privacy for the convenience of connected devices in the home, to the new consumers coming on line in developing markets potentially unaware of the dangers of cyberspace.

Digital skills, from basic computer literacy to data scientists, must be a government imperative in the digital age. Connectivity without digital literacy is, after all, like a bicycle without wheels – a great idea in principle, but going nowhere.

Sharing ideas, experiences, case studies and good practice is essential – as are public private partnerships, cross sector partnerships, international partnerships. Making connectivity meaningful is too big a task for any single player. ITU Telecom World 2019 will bring answers to some of these questions, lay the groundwork for potential partnerships – and provide inspiration for shaping a digital future that is accessible, relevant and beneficial for us all.

ITU Telecom World 2019 takes place in Budapest, Hungary, from 9 – 12 September 2019.

Photo: Darline Giraud (WIO Network)

What are the pathways and strategies that lead to a position in International Organisations (IOs)? How to make recruitment for a post in IOs change? How can IOs ensure that gender parity goes forward? Those were some critical questions raised at the conference organized by WIO Network – Women for Careers in International Organisations, at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. WIO Network is a community of professionals with the mission to attract more qualified women to professional level and leadership positions at the United Nations and IOs.

In a presentation of the WIO Network case study report and recommendations “Working at the UN: What does it take?,” Judith Kohlenberger, holder of a PhD from the Institute for Social Policy at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) provided a few answers.

For the UN, the recommended strategies were to invest in a shorter, more concise, and transparent recruiting process to prevent the re-orientation and de-motivation of the candidates, as well as to provide guidance, counseling and targeted mentoring to female applicants. In addition, the UN should address the candidates’ gender-specific challenges, such as relocation, dependents, family and career development.

For the candidates interested in applying for the UN, a set of actions could bring better results, including to be proactive in their job search, to network with peers and potential employers and to find a mentor within the UN. Women should be confident in their professional qualifications and personal character traits, as well as be flexible regarding postings, relocation, and UN agencies. Voluntary work is also recommended, as well as to become very familiar with all aspects of the UN system.

This conference facilitated the coming together of over 100 participants, mostly women, recruiters, employees of different IOs, and other supportive professional women networks based in Vienna, to learn more about the application process, find out how to be a successful applicant and listen and exchange professional and personal experiences. These exchanges happened through a series of presentations, webinars and workshops, which covered topics like design thinking, job hunting in IOs, Personal Marketing and Agile International Development Career in the Gig Economy. Personal stories of women in male-dominated positions in IT, Sciences and PeaceKeeping were shared, including the journey of Vera Strobachova-Budway, Senior Coordination Adviser on Gender Issues at the OSCE.

Gustavo Araujo, Chief of Recruitment at OSCE Talent Management and Human Resources and Marta Mazarambroz, Recruitment Officer at OSCE, illustrated how workplace environment has changed the dynamics of the recruitment process in IOs. Civil Servants, who still have to compete with each other, now have also to compete with talents from the private sector. Araujo stressed that “successful candidates are expected to be flexible in terms of relocation, attaining new skills and demonstrating their uniqueness.”

The conference ended with a debate over the case study recommendations and future strategies for female applicants. The panelist Theresa Tomasitzch, former Gender Strategy Consultant at UNIDO, stressed how essential it is not only to have more women in IOs but also “to have them at the middle and senior positions.” A recommendation for longer maternity leave, as opposed to the current family friendly policy, and for flexible working arrangements in leadership roles, as an incentive to attract women in the IOs was also proposed.

Given the recent pushbacks in striving for a system of wide gender parity, collaboration between the different actors in IO environments should continue so that women who are interested in a career in international organisations continue to get assistance in packaging their skills and experience within the IOs networks. Darline Giraud, Founder of the WIO Network, emphasized the importance of having a network to land a job in an IO. This network must be based on “giving and receiving” information, strengths, support, and sharing of experience. This will not only help women to accomplish their personal goals but also to have a successful career in International Organisations.

By: Kristina Malbasic kristina@malbasic.at

Wind and solar power generation in rural Japan

Eight years ago, the Fukushima nuclear disaster left an unimaginable trail of destruction in Japan and with a raging controversy over its nuclear energy on which it is highly dependent. Owing to the closure of many plants, the country significantly increased its energy imports and started to face the uncomfortable situation of being too dependent on fossil fuels coming from overseas. As the prices of energy soared and investments in renewable energy took a slow pace, the government started to set up a strategy for sustainable energy.

If there is ever a positive outcome from disasters, the Fukushima case which has resulted in the development of a plan to attract new, clean and secure alternative sources to Japan, stands as a good example. A year ago, still suffering from the consequences of the nuclear accident, the Japanese government announced a Strategic Energy Plan which set the goal to increase self-sufficient energy rate from 8% in 2016 to 24% in 2030.

With this plan, renewable energy will be pivotal. Knowing that the Paris Agreement commitments made by Japan limit the consumption of fossil fuels, the government will support other renewable sources, along with energy-saving programs, including solar and wind power. Large scale solar is still costly and unstable and the government is pushing for more technological innovation to turn it into a feasible alternative. Wind power is less expensive, but is not ideal in some regions of Japan, as the windiest regions are far away from the most energy-consuming territories, which would require the building of transmission lines and storage batteries.

While Japan invests in more sustainable options, fossil fuels and nuclear plants will still be part of the country’s energy mix. However, the plan stated that the government will promote efficiency and new generation power plants to minimize the environmental load in the long-run. The energy market was liberalized in 2016, when the government wanted to implement reforms that would not only enable better integration of renewable power generation but also an effective supply and demand ratio.

The next phase of the plan will take place in 2020 – power sector reforms and regulation will be implemented to make the energy market more open, competitive and supportive of renewable energy companies.

Want to know more about Japan, the host country of SIGEF 2019? Follow our posts on Horyou blog.

SIGEF 2019 will take place in Tokyo on 18-19 September.

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Tokyo 2020 Games have already gained applaud for their environmental actions. Initiatives like medals manufactured of recycled metal and a solar-powered Olympic stadium, which...