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Report on the 13th SDGs Seminar: Softbank Group’s Initiatives in the Natural Energy Business and Climate Change Response


Guest speakers Mr. Shinsuke Moriya (left)
and Ms. Asako Oku

For the 13th SDGs Seminar held on July 13, 2021, titled “Softbank Group’s Initiatives in the Natural Energy Business and Climate Change Response,” Mr. Shinsuke Moriya and Ms. Asako Oku of SB Energy Corp. (“SB Energy”) were invited to talk about energy business initiatives being undertaken by Softbank Group, a private enterprise.

The Softbank Group was prompted to establish SB Energy by the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck in 2011, taking the perspective that telecommunications and IT cannot function without energy. SB Energy’s generation business has expanded not only in Japan, but also overseas, enabling power generation in more suitable places. Even today, some regions are still without electricity, and I came to understand that under these circumstances the company contributes to achievement of the seventh UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), “affordable and clean energy.” The seminar also showed how business expansion triggers job creation and economic growth, contributing to achievement of other SDGs.

SB Energy Business Strategy on screen

SB Energy has built a new three-segment business model, under which it implements a business strategy based on Bits (information), Mobility (vehicle power systems), and Watts (renewable energy), which it calls the “BMW strategy.” The speakers used several examples to explain this approach, including solar cells for indoor lighting that boast world-leading generation efficiency and highly accurate real-time weather forecasting systems powered by artificial intelligence. Widespread use of renewable energy is said to be challenging because of fluctuating generation and difficulty in predicting output, but I learned that SB Energy’s multi-faceted energy-related businesses, especially electricity storage technologies and accurate weather forecasting, will enable greater use of renewable energy.

This seminar gave me a real sense of the large role that the private sector plays in addressing not only climate change, but also other issues facing society, such as urban planning and the frequent occurrence of natural disasters in recent years. At the same time, amid predictions of rapid renewable energy development, I feel there is a need to continue bearing in mind ways of averting environmental problems and poverty issues to newly arise. The seminar reaffirmed the importance of adopting broad perspectives in not neglecting to consider all aspects of the SDGs while doing business activity.

(Kyoko Yamamoto, fourth-year student,
Department of Human and Social Sciences, Faculty of Letters and Education)

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