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The 10th Annual Meeting of the Green Productivity Advisory Committee (GPAC) of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) was held in Tokyo, 24 February 2012. The GPAC comprises high-level representatives from over 60 leading Japanese corporations that have demonstrated excellence and innovation in environmental products, technologies, and services and supported the APO’s GP activities in the Asia-Pacific region. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Teisuke Kitayama, Chairman of the Board of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
In his opening remarks, Chairperson Kitayama stated that he had witnessed how the APO’s GP activities contributed to international cooperation in the Japanese business sector during the four years he had been involved in the GPAC. He added that GP was imperative in efforts to manage energy resources and improve efficiency.
The annual meeting focused on three agenda items. The first was confirmation of the new Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons. Current Chairperson Kitayama and Vice-Chairpersons Mr. Yukio Yanase, Senior Advisor of ORIX Corporation; Mr. Hajime Bada, President and CEO of JFE Holdings, Inc.; Mr. Takashi Yamagishi, Senior Executive Advisor of Teijin Limited; Professor Ryoichi Yamamoto, Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo; and Mr. Tsuneaki Taniguchi, Special Adviser to the Japan Productivity Center agreed to serve an additional term (2012–2014), and the meeting unanimously confirmed their reappointment.
The second item was the flagship Eco-products Directory series published by the APO in cooperation with the GPAC since 2004 to publicize eco-products and -services available in the Asia-Pacific. APO Secretariat Industry Department Program Officer Yumiko Yamashita explained preparations for the 2012 edition and the future direction of the series. GPAC Vice-Chairperson Yamamoto, who is also the Chairperson of the Preparatory Committee for the Eco-products Database, stressed the importance of efforts like the Eco-products Directory that help businesses and the public respond to climate change. He underlined the importance of being sufficiently prepared for rapid global warming.
The third agenda item was a briefing on another flagship project, the Eco-products International Fairs (EPIFs). A presentation on the 7th EPIF held in India in February 2011 was given by APO Secretariat Industry Department Senior Program Officer K.D. Bhardwaj. Subsequently, Industry Department Director Setsuko Miyakawa detailed the reasons for the one-year postponement of the 8th EPIF and expressed appreciation for the understanding and support extended by the Singapore government, GPAC members, and others involved. An update on preparations for the 8th EPIF in Singapore including the venue (Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre) and timing (14–16 March 2013) was given by Mr. Michael Ho, Honorary Chairman of the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore, and Ms. Jan Tan, Director of Enterprise Promotion Centres Pte. Ltd. After their presentations, GPAC Vice Chairperson Yamagishi, who is also the Chairperson of the Preparatory Committee for the EPIF, commented that he considered the EPIFs an effective platform to create networks for green businesses, not only for the large corporations but also for SMEs. Inspired by the presentations by the delegates from Singapore, he also pointed out that the 8th EPIF would be more inclusive of various stakeholders including participants from developing countries.
The meeting unanimously agreed to support the APO’s GP Program, including the two flagship projects. Chairperson Kitayama stressed that both were necessary to respond to the needs of the Japanese business sector as it faces various challenges due to rapid changes in global economic dynamics.
APO Secretary-General Ryuichiro Yamazaki closed the meeting by emphasizing the important role of the GPAC in the evolution of GP activities in the region and expressed appreciation for its support in efforts to foster green partnerships and green businesses in fast-growing Asian markets.