Climate Action

Toshinori Abe discusses how the housing industry can play a key role in sustainability

Ahead of the Sustainable Innovation Forum taking place in Katowice, Poland on the 9th and 10th December, we caught up with Toshinori Abe, Chairman & Representative Director at Sekisui House, to discuss how the housing industry can play a key role in sustainability.

  • 21 November 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

Ahead of the Sustainable Innovation Forum taking place in Katowice, Poland on the 9th and 10th December, we caught up with Toshinori Abe, Chairman & Representative Director at Sekisui House, to discuss how the housing industry can play a key role in sustainability. 

Let’s start with some background on Sekisui House and your role there?

Sekisui House was founded in 1960, and since then we have grown to become the world’s largest home builder, supplying over 2.4 million dwellings in Japan and around the world. We operate in five countries including Japan, with a group turnover of around US$ 20 billion.

I personally have been in the housing industry for over 40 years, and am currently representative director and chairman of the group. I first became a representative director in 2008, and ESG has been at the core of my management approach right from the start.

How can companies like yours play a role in promoting sustainability at a larger level?

It’s perfectly normal for a company to strive to make a profit, but there is no value in that company even existing if making a profit does not go hand in hand with making a contribution to society.

All of our activities are driven by corporate philosophies that closely align with the aims of the UN’s SDGs, which are to create a diverse, inclusive and sustainable society. Our business is making homes and communities, and through that, we intend to do our part in seeing these global SDGs realized.

What in your opinion are the biggest challenges that the industry is facing currently?

Extreme weather events are already occurring around the world. This year in Japan, we suffered significant damage from large typhoons and torrential rains. Reports also confirm that building construction and operation are responsible for approximately 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

We are confident that large scale and efficient prefabricated buildings and the wide-spread supply of high-performance zero-energy housing - areas Sekisui House specializes in - can make a significant contribution to global decarbonization.

What is your vision for this industry?

In 2008, we announced our 2050 Vision. Corporate focus was shifted to decarbonization, with the aim of eliminating COs emissions from housing. We announced our low energy housing in 2009, and then in 2013, the enhanced zero-energy housing was released. 76% of detached houses we build today are zero-energy houses.

We have rigorous mechanisms in place to achieve our SBT-certified greenhouse gas reduction goals, and are determined to meet our RE100 commitments. Through these and many other activities, I want to see Sekisui House continue to grow and lead the global construction industry as it works towards decarbonization.

You are speaking at the Sustainable Innovation Forum this year, tell us more about your contribution to the event and what your message will be?

Sekisui House participates in COP so we can confirm the global commitment to decarbonization, and then reflect that in our corporate policies. The Sustainable Innovation Forum is an opportunity for government, industry and financial leaders to come together and progress the objective of decarbonization. We are honored to be given the opportunity to introduce some of our initiatives in this setting, and look forward to meeting and discussing these and other issues with such distinguished company.

Sekisui House are a Platinum Sponsor at the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2018 which is taking place in Katowice, Poland on the 9th and 10th of December, find out more here

Visit Sekisui House’s website here.