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Blogs 30 may 2024

Tokyo goes circular – And we’re here to support It!

The buzz around reuse and energy efficiency is sweeping across the globe, from Europe and America to Australia and Asia. Recently, Japan has joined this crucial movement. The Japanese economic association, Keidanren, took a pivotal step by organising a study trip to Europe, which included a visit to Amsterdam – a beacon of circularity. Engaging with the European Commission and the thriving circularity startup community in the Netherlands, Ms. Noda, Vice Chair of Keidanren, has championed this initiative. Her dedication culminated in hosting a Dutch delegation in Tokyo last month.

The drive towards a circular economy is a no-brainer. Businesses globally are recognising that reusing materials and enhancing energy efficiency not only conserve resources but also cut costs and boost profits. However, our current economic framework doesn’t account for the true cost of resource wastage, treating them as if they are infinite, and remains heavily reliant on fossil fuels, despite their environmental impact.

Historical context

What fuels Ms. Noda and her colleagues’ interest in circularity? To understand this, one must engage directly with them. The dialogue is nothing short of inspiring. Japan’s openness and eagerness to learn from our experiences are remarkable. Historically, Japan has been a steadfast trading partner, dating back to the 17th century with the Dutch trading post Dejima in Nagasaki. Beyond history, Japan’s forward-thinking, technologically driven culture makes the circular economy a natural fit. It’s not just an opportunity; it’s a necessity.

The Japanese construction sector

The Japanese construction sector, much like its European counterpart, is deeply intertwined with local society through real estate, infrastructure, and craftsmanship. Despite regional differences, the global nature of modern construction is undeniable. From materials like steel, glass, and cement to international suppliers and real estate services, the similarities are striking. Thus, while geographically distant, the Japanese construction sector mirrors Europe’s in many ways.

Ambition & opportunity

Our mission to Japan was to share our journey and insights on transforming the European economy towards circularity. We have already initiated this exchange with two pioneering clients in Japan: Taisei Corporation and Keio university. Taisei, a leading construction firm, is keen to share their experiences with our Madaster platform. Keio University has integrated Madaster into their national smart city project led by Professor Tanaka, emphasising the importance of learning and exploration.

These pilot projects have sparked a wave of enthusiasm, not just within Taisei and Keio, but also within Madaster. The momentum is building towards scaling up these efforts – expanding the scope, involving more stakeholders, and launching additional projects. The upcoming Osaka World Expo 2025, with the Dutch pavilion ‘A New Dawn’ designed by Thomas Rau, presents an ideal platform for this exchange of ideas and practices.

Madaster Japan? Absolutely!

We believe our platform is pivotal in transitioning the building sector towards a norm where reuse and energy efficiency are standard practices. Our digital tools enable reporting on environmental performance, measuring reuse potential, and calculating the residual financial value of materials, thus creating new business opportunities for asset owners, designers, builders, and manufacturers. Expanding Madaster to Japan is not just an ambition but a natural progression of our collaborative efforts with Japan’s innovative real estate and construction community.

For more information about our platform, our initiatives in Japan, or potential opportunities, please get in touch with us. Together, we can make a significant impact, wherever you are located.

Pablo van den Bosch – Board Member Madaster

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