Press Release

Mr. Atsufumi Yokoi (Vice President of Okayama University) was appointed as Hayashibara’s Special Advisor to the President


Hayashibara Co., Ltd.

Hayashibara Co., Ltd., a member of Nagase Group, (Headquarters: Shimoishii, Kita-ku, Okayama City, President: Naoki Yasuba) has appointed Mr. Atsufumi Yokoi as Special Advisor to the President for a three-year term effective September 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023. Drawing on his strengths and experience as a thoughtful and collaborative leader, Mr. Yokoi will provide valuable advice to promote corporate business strategy and management in contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr. Yokoi has been named Okayama University's first Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy since 2018. He specializes in crafting and implementing a global engagement strategy for a just and sustainable society and well-being for all, helping to enhance the university’s international profile, presence, and reputation. Through his work with the university & his community, he contributes to the progress of the SDGs, and it was this work that awarded the special prize of the first “Japan SDGs Award” to Okayama University, presented at the Prime Minister’s Office in December 2017.

With Mr. Yokoi’s expertise, we have established our sustainability policy, defined four material issues this year, and enhanced our corporate management plans to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. On August 19, it was agreed to conclude an industry-academia collaboration agreement with Okayama University focusing on the achievement of the SDGs in order to start the creation of business strategies and new technologies. We will accelerate both the practice of the SDGs in business management and the creation of new value under the advice of Mr. Yokoi, a truly influential, widely respected leader in both knowledge and experience leading to bringing our innovations from a local level to the entire world.

Mr. Yokoi (left) shaking hands with President Yasuba
(They only took off the masks for the photo)

Biography of Atsufumi Yokoi:
Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy, Okayama University
Mr. Yokoi trained and practiced as an architect, urban designer and sustainability strategist in Japan, USA, Netherlands and South Africa, and went on to establish a Tokyo-based foundation in 2009 specializing in promoting social innovation and supporting internationalization at higher education institutions. Joining Okayama University, a comprehensive national university in Japan with the nearly 150-year history, in 2015 as a senior international officer, he had been in charge of promoting the whole institution’s approach to the SDGs through meaningful relationship and interaction around the world. Since 2018, he has been named Okayama University's first Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy.
Mr. Yokoi has also been appointed by UNESCO as Chairholder of UNESCO Chair in Research and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at Okayama University since May 2019. This UNESCO Chair is the first UNESCO Chair in ESD ever awarded among Asian universities and institutes in 2007, where he is responsible for promoting research and education for sustainable development in concert with Okayama region and affiliated institutions in Japan and abroad.
While at the university, Mr. Yokoi has also worked as Earth Charter International Council Member since June 2020, located at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE), and Board Director of the One Young World (OYW) Japan Committee since June 2019 to hold the OYW Summit 2022 in Tokyo, bringing together more than 2,000 next-gen leaders from over 190 countries to inspire youth to drive changes, take actions and tackle today’s most pressing issues under the SDGs.

“In reimagining the future of the world after COVID-19, not only are we focusing on digital transformation, but a lot of attention has been gained in focusing on the discovery of new value in local communities and altruism for well-being for all. This way of thinking is familiar to Japanese merchant philosophy, ‘Shonindo,’ established in the Edo period in the 17th century. The ‘Shonindo’ embraces the principle of balancing profit with ethics by always ‘doing the right thing as a human being, and that by thinking of others first, you will also benefit.’ In the post-pandemic world, I firmly believe that we find ourselves exposed to the altruistic mind at the core, which is being widely accepted as a universal thought in fields of management philosophy and corporate ethics. With this in mind, we place significant value on ‘Fueki Ryuko’ (roughly translated as “permanence and change”, the adage of Matsuo Basho, internationally renowned Japanese haiku poet of the Edo period in the 17th century), a concept in which we incorporate new changes, while maintaining our fundamental essence and element, which continues to deepen and develop the values and philosophies like ‘Shonindo’ that Japan has long fostered. As these Japanese words indicate, in a circular economy and society, we can contribute to the well-being for all in our communities and to a just, sustainable future for Japan and a global society.
Hayashibara Co., Ltd. is celebrating its 137th anniversary as a long-lived company and has been working to create new value for the attainment of the SDGs by disseminating the activities for the SDGs from the local community to the world. As such, through their commitment to sustainability and well-being for all, Hayashibara’s efforts pave the way for becoming a model for SMEs to implement the SDGs in communities, region and around the world. I am pleased to be able to work with many stakeholders, including Hayashibara’s staff, to move forward toward a desirable future.”

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