The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda comprises 17 goals with 169 individual targets. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held in September, 2015, and is an action project of all 193 UN member states toward achieving the goals in 15 years, from 2016 to 2030.
Congrès Inc., as part of our business portfolio, is engaged in MICE* events that are fora for communication. We manage international conferences that debate and identify solutions to issues in society today, and medical and academic association meetings that publish cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs and research outcomes, which in turn lead to development of related industries. Through our activities, we endeavor to promote interaction between people, which is indispensable to this process.
In this way, we are contributing to solving society’s issues and to realizing a society in line with the UN SDGs that “Leaves No One Behind.”
Congrès Inc.’s core business involves management of conventions of every kind, including inter-governmental conferences, scientific & academic meetings and corporate meetings.
MICE meetings & events involve the movement of great numbers of people and goods, involving consumption of resources and thus our impact on the environment is substantial. On the other hand, MICE events serve to drive forward advancements in science/medicine, in business and in international exchange, that further connect to new developments in related industries, leading to innovation and creation of partnerships, etc.
In the fora where people interact, which Congrès is actively involved in creating, we are tackling initiatives to ensure sustainable MICE, including ecologically-friendly procurement and utilization of IT to save natural resources.
Through creation of sustainable fora for communication, we can contribute to promoting the destination where the meeting/event is held, revitalizing the region, enhancing Japan’s as well as the destination city’s brand, and to solving issues of concern in society today.
At this 2019 ministerial meeting held in Karuizawa, in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, we tackled various measures to preserve the environment. Water was served in glass bottles in all the meeting rooms to avoid use of plastic bottles, wooden straws were introduced, and ID badge cases were created using biodegradable materials. Nameplates were crafted from timber left over after forest thinning in Nagano Prefecture and hydrogen-fueled vehicles were utilized.
In addition, we were committed to locally-produced locally-consumed, and succeeded in providing CO2-free electric power produced in Nagano Prefecture to the entire venue as well as the exhibition area. Thanks to the cooperation of various corporations that had a high degree of interest in the energy and environment domains, Japan’s advanced technology was on display, including automatic loop digital signage, demonstration of re-use of previously-used copier paper and exhibits showcasing cutting-edge technology. As a result, it proved to be an opportunity for not only the delegates, but also for a broader audience including visiting tourists and the local community, to think about energy and preservation of the environment.
The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting is a forum for key countries in the international financial system to discuss major international economic issues, and to coordinate to achieve the stable and sustainable growth of the global economy. The meeting has been convened annually since 1999.
During Japan’s Presidency in 2019, this meeting was held in Fukuoka City. Congrès tackled arrangements for the meeting with our passion for protecting the environment, starting with measures to avoid use of plastics through to procurement of food ingredients, flowers and local traditional products in line with the concept of locally-produced, locally-consumed.
Various programs geared for the citizens of Fukuoka City were also organized at the same time, including a special experience inviting local elementary school students to inspect the venue and a workshop for high school students, who then presented their own proposal for “realizing a society that ‘Leaves No One Behind’” to the Chair of the meeting.
Members of the local community played an integral part in the meeting from the preparatory stages, and the meeting became a valuable opportunity to drive forward regional development and foster human assets with a global mindset, through MICE.
Sports Business Japan, conceived and organized by Congrès is an exhibition and conference dedicated to the sports business. In 2019, the event was held November 19 – 20 under the theme, “Drive forward SDGs through the power of sports,” and we paid particular attention to environmentally-friendly measures in the event operations as well as procurement. In addition, we implemented various types of “Sports x SDGs” conference sessions.
At the special conference on “Sports x SDGs,” the debates generated ideas and suggestions for how to utilize the power of sports toward solving issues in society and in realizing a sustainable society. In the exhibition, each exhibitor’s booth displayed icons for each of the 17 SDGs they are tackling.
In addition, we called upon attendees to bring their own reusable bottles to the venue, and set up free filtered water dispensers. These served as catalysts for exhibitors and attendees to personally get involved in tackling SDGs through the event, aiming to reduce plastic waste in the effort toward alleviating the micro-plastic problem.
Another business domain for Congrès is management of conference/event and cultural/tourism facilities, under a tender program for out-sourcing facility management to the private sector. We operate some 90 facilities throughout Japan.
Management of facilities naturally involves tackling environment-related issues, but in addition, through proactively planning, self-producing and running concerts, symposia, exhibitions and events geared for the community there, we are tackling revitalization and development of regions.
Through active involvement in management of these facilities that serve as the core of urban development, Congrès is able to contribute to realization of sustainable urban centers with appeal, enhancement of the regional/local brand as well as development of human assets.
Knowledge Capital – Congrès Convention Center is located in Grand Front Osaka, an urban core created through a re-development project in the Umekita area north of Osaka’s central JR railway station. This facility is proactively planning and collaborating on events related to regional revitalization, innovation creation and promotion of success for women.
“Hack Osaka,” held at this venue, is an annual global innovation conference that draws more than 700 participants from some 30 countries with the objective of supporting startups by young people, under the concept of a continuous stream of “bearing, fostering and ensuring the success of entrepreneurs who will then inspire the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.” Congrès was a platinum sponsor, supporting this event that also serves to promote regional collaboration, revitalize the community and provide a space for startup stakeholders to gather.
“Woman Grand Festa” also took place at this venue, aiming to introduce hints for women in today’s society to “achieve their dreams and live an active and successful life.” Congrès was a member of the organizing committee, and we implemented various measures to facilitate women’s attendance, including setting up a kid’s room for attendees with small children, and installing a special workshop room in collaboration with a science center offering programs for parents and children to participate in together.
Nagoya Congress Center (NCC), for which Congrès is the designated facility manager, has acquired Nagoya City’s Distinguished Ecological Enterprise Certification, and has received high acclaim for its environmental preservation activities.
NCC has also hosted international conferences on environmental themes, including COP10, presenting symposia related to the environment geared for government-related bodies, community organizations and students. In addition, NCC is putting forth efforts in the areas of industry-academia collaboration and human asset development, such as conducting MICE human asset development seminars for university students and research on measuring the economic ripple effects of holding MICE events (joint project with the Faculty of Economics, Nagoya Gakuin University).
Refurbishment of the facility signage was carried out in cooperation with the Nagoya Institute of Technology. Universally recognizable pictogram signs were adopted that are appealing from a design perspective and simultaneously ensure that the facility is safe and easy to navigate.
Through our endeavors to create and maintain sustainable facilities at NCC that serves as a hub where people from the region interact, we are also able to contribute to the local community.
Congrès is operating 5 science centers across Japan (Chiba, Kobe, Niigata, Yamanashi and Yokohama) as the designated facility management company.
At these science centers and science museums, Congrès is undertaking initiatives with the objective of stimulating children’s interest in science through offering places where they can learn through play and hands-on experiences as well as interaction. We also plan workshops and other events to provide opportunities for people to become more familiar with the SDGs, including goals related to protecting our earth’s environment, human rights and equality.
For example, the “Buoy Art Project,” launched at the Hamagin Space Science Center in Yokohama, gave children opportunities to learn about the current global problems of ocean waste and marine pollution while encouraging artistic creativity, focusing on plastic buoys that drifted ashore. Through the kids’ imaginative use of paint, the buoys were transformed into works of art.
Bando Kobe Science Museum in Kobe convened an educational event “Experience Riding in the Ultimate Environmentally-friendly FCV vehicle and Hydrogen Workshop” as part of the “Hydrogen Smart City Kobe Initiative,” aiming to encourage the public to think about sustainable energy. Also, the Biotope Restoration Project offers opportunities to learn about biodiversity.
Through our engagement in science centers that stimulate learning, we are supporting activities that offer collaborative ways to debate issues and lead to future action, toward realizing a sustainable society.
One of Congrès’ 3 basic principles is “Capable staff gathered together as part of the Congrès Inc. team.”
Congrès has always maintained an open hiring policy and a corporate culture where anyone can actively make best use of their talents, regardless of gender, age, work experience, origin, etc., to ensure that each and every employee can shine at the peak of their capability.
We have also established several schemes that enable employees to take advantage of diverse and flexible ways of working, e.g. at caregiving stages of life.
Thus, we aim to create a sustainable workplace, in which both the company and employees can continue to grow.
Congrès has acquired the “Kurumin” certification from the Japanese government as a company that supports child-raising, based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children. We are committed to a workplace environment in which parents, regardless of gender, can work with assurance while carrying out their dual roles of working professional and child caregiver. By offering employees flexible working styles, remote work, etc., we aim to provide a workplace environment in which anyone can take an active role.
Congrès is proactively promoting employment of people with disabilities who may have challenges in coming to work in an office through offering remote work. We have achieved our statutory target for employment of people with disabilities, and are tackling enhancement of work efficiency and generation of work opportunities through reviewing and implementing relevant job assignments.
Tackling improvement in productivity through various measures is another of our endeavors at Congrès, and we are proactively striving to reduce overtime. We have set forth numerical overtime reduction targets in our general enterprise action plan, in accordance with the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace, and are driving forward implementation, so that all our employees can maintain good health and utilize their talents to their fullest potential.
As is demanded of any corporate entity, Congrès complies with the letter and spirit of laws and social norms, and we execute our business highly conscious of ethics and moral values. We have obtained various qualifications in this regard, including the ISO14001 & ISO27001 certifications and Japan’s “privacy mark” certification. E-learning and other methods are utilized to ensure permeation to all our employees.
We are conscious that conducting business in a just and fair manner is the basic minimum social responsibility for a corporation, and through ensuring compliance and active communication, we can construct better partnerships with stakeholders and contribute to solving issues facing society today.
The SDGs are common global goals that each and every one of us can tackle at various levels.
Congrès’ three guiding principles are:
1) Commitment to putting quality first,
2) Contribution to society through regional development and internationalization and
3) Capable staff gathered together as part of the Congrès team.
Up to now, we have been engaging in our business activities with the objective of solving issues of concern in society. Going forward, we intend to integrate our corporate philosophy with the SDGs philosophy, and continue to contribute toward realizing a sustainable society.
*MICE is an acronym for Meeting (corporate conferences), Incentive (corporate training and incentive travel), Convention (of international organizations and academic groups) and Event/Exhibition (including exhibitions and trade shows). It refers to business events that entail a large convergence of people.
(Source: Japan Tourism Agency official website)