On 30 October, the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) held its fourth Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) event with guest speakers Kohei Tamura from Rio Tinto and Kanna Mihara from Macquarie, both Co-Chairs of the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee (AJBCC) Future Leaders Program. We had over 25 YEPs attend, almost all of whom were under the age of 25 years old and keen on the Australia, New Zealand and Japan link.
The Future Leaders group host a panel discussion at the AJBCC-JABCC joint conference each year. This year, for the conference in Sydney on 14-16 Oct the theme was ‘Creating Shared Value’ - the idea that businesses can and should leverage capital to solve societal issues whilst contributing to their bottom line. They shared their expertise as well as their findings from the conference with more than 25 YEP attendees.
Future Leaders Program
The Future Leaders Program is part of the AJBCC and was created to: Develop and facilitate fresh ideas and perspectives and nurture the next generation of leaders within the evolving Australia-Japan relationship. A concept very similar to what we as the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan are aiming to do with the next generation of young professionals in Japan. The Future Leaders’ program started with less than ten members and has since grown to around 40 members, mostly under or around 40 years of age.
The Australia-based side of the program holds regular seminars, discussing topics such as emerging trends and emerging industries in the Japan-Australia relationship, areas of cooperation, and how to promote trade. They also run a mentoring program, which connects Future Leaders to senior management executives.
The Japan-based side of the program is aiming to pilot a similar mentoring program. They hold bi-monthly study sessions about the Australia-Japan relationship and often invite prominent guest speakers to share their knowledge. Past guest speakers have included an Australian TPP negotiator and a security relationships expert.
Both sides of the program participate in and help organise sessions for the annual AJBCC-JABCC joint conference. The conference is the highest-level Australia-Japan business gathering with around 450 CEOs and executives in attendance. It is a significant opportunity for Future Leaders to share the ideas of the next generation with the current generation of leaders. This year, the theme for the Future Leaders panel at the conference was ‘Creating Shared Value’.
Creating Shared Value
A range of social issues exist in the world, and while governments and not for profit organisations are usually looked to for solutions, it is often corporates who, by their nature, have the capital to help achieve these solutions.
National Australia Bank (NAB) was used as an example of what corporates can achieve in this sphere. In working with social welfare organisations, not only did NAB help to improve the circumstances of their mortgage clients, but the business also saved $70 million as their clients were able to stabilise their financial positions and continue re-payments. Thus, shared value is created when corporates work with consumers, governments and other organisations.
Occasionally there may be instances where regulations prevent corporates from becoming involved in certain issues, however it was suggested that private companies need to engage more with governments to facilitate better cooperation on finding shared value solutions.
Concern around social issues has not only changed how corporates partner with governments but also how big institutions choose to invest. More and more, investors are putting their money into businesses that demonstrate their ability to operate responsibly through their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports.
Social responsibility is becoming increasingly important to consumers and investors, which will continue to shape the strategies that corporates use in the future.
Our YEPs really enjoyed the discussion, with a number of them throwing some challenging questions at the speakers. Whilst there may be a career gap between the two groups, there is a bridge we want to build between the future generations of business leaders in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
More information about shared value can be found at www.sharedvalue.org.au
About the Guest Speakers
Kanna is the Vice President of Macquarie Capital in Tokyo. Her role involves managing relationships with Japanese clients for Macquarie Group’s investment banking division and introducing investment opportunities to clients. Her experience includes the successful privatisation of Sendai Airport and eight toll roads in Aichi prefecture.
Kohei is the manager of Special Projects & External Affairs at Rio Tinto in Tokyo. His role involves working with Rio Tinto's Corporate Relations team and Growth & Innovation team, as well as external stakeholders such as the Australian Embassy in Japan, and the Foundation of Australia Japan Studies for enhancement of the bilateral relationship.
View the LinkedIn Article for this event here.