The Future of Washing Initiative

Interaction during the panel discussion at the forum on the Future of Washing Initiative at EcoPro 2018, December 7th, 2018, Tokyo, Japan

The “Future of Washing Initiative” was launched alongside a public forum in the presence of more than 140 participants on December 7 at Ecopro 2018. The Initiative is creating a platform for various stakeholders to explore innovative and sustainable ways of washing, with private sectors playing a key role in the search for new sustainable solutions to global challenges. 

Fumiko Kasuga, Global Hub Director from the Future Earth Japan Hub, opened the session introducing Future Earth and the need for an initiative like this because of the numerous global challenges and the urgency to solve them. She also emphasized the importance and relevance of co-design processes by stakeholders in the Initiative.

Mr. Toshihiko Goto, Chief Executive Officer from NPO Sustainability Forum Japan, emphasized the need for a paradigm shift and innovation in his keynote speech. This innovation, however, should be decoupled from the use of resources. He explained that decoupling might be possible by focusing investment and financing in line with Environmental, Social and corporate Governance (ESG) Index. In addition, through behavioral changes, Mr. Goto continued, there is a chance of achieving the SDGs.

The second keynote, by Prof. Masahiko Hirao from The University of Tokyo, introduced the Life Cycle Assessment for washing with a step-wise structure of connected events, to introduce the topic to stakeholders. While giving many examples, he also emphasized the importance of a systems approach that can form a holistic understanding, allowing for innovative solutions to emerge.

The keynote speeches were followed by a panel discussion, facilitated by Associate Prof. Yasunori Kikuchi from The University of Tokyo. The panelists, Prof. Hirao; Prof. Yoko Yamaguchi from Kyoritsu Women's University & Junior College; Dr. Michiyo Morisawa, Japan Director of CDP Japan; and Dr. Youhei Kaneko, Director of ESG Promotion from Kao Corporation, introduced their ideas and discussed the relevance of the initiative for society. One example that was discussed, was the recent need for private companies to disclose information, which allows for sustainability assessments. Another example was the importance of education at school and the role that mass media can play to create a dialog with users.

The panel invited the audience to participate in the discussion. Questions related to the situation in other countries and planned shape and scope of the Initiative, the expectation of human behavioral changes and even the development of a Code of Conduct were raised. Next steps of the Initiative are being planned early 2019 with reference to the survey results of the participants.


Date and Time: Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, 13:30 - 16:00
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) Conference Tower 6F 605 + 606
Organizers: Kao Corporation, Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), The University of Tokyo Institutes for Advanced Study (UTIAS), Future Earth
MC:  Ms. Noriko Inoue (Kao Corp.)

Ecopro 2018 was held December 6 through 8, 2018 at Tokyo Big Sight on the topic of Environment and Society of the SDGs Era, and to the Future.