OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainability is not simply something that is a sign of the times, but something the LbE network eats, sleeps, and breathes.
-Koichiro Kita, CEO
At the LbE (Learn by Experience) network, our mission is “to achieve a brighter future through collaboration with people around the world”. Education is the heart of our business and we develop and operate educational programs in several countries. While we focus mainly on secondary education students, we continuously strive to bring an increasing number of educational opportunities to learners of all kinds and origins. With partner organizations in Japan, USA, and Taiwan, and impacting on average 23,000 students annually, LbE network is having a tremendous impact in catering educational experiences to students from around the globe and building a foundation capable of facilitating the society of tomorrow.
Naturally, the society of tomorrow has one crucial driver: Sustainability. While the transition towards sustainability is only starting to gain traction in global markets, we have looked at all of our business practices, products, and services through the lens of sustainability and made it a requirement at the core of all of the network’s companies and their processes. To make the biggest positive impact on our world, the LbE network aims to become a global leader in education for sustainable development and thus, we have added another internal definition to our name: Leading by Example.
While there are several challenges faced in a successful transition towards sustainability, the LbE network has not only set its sights on the future, but analyzed and evaluated the current situation of the individual companies and implemented several guidelines at all ends. These guidelines are business practices and commitments created at the oversight level of the network itself, which is composed of leaders and team members of the individual member organizations LbE Hawaii, and LbE Japan and its affiliates: Global Education Project and Vista Travel Taiwan, and are furthermore disbursed into each individual company and amended to be as relevant to each of their home communities as possible.
The general sustainability direction and guidelines for LbE network’s member companies is mainly categorized as internal and external processes. For the internal processes, the key focus areas are as follows:
Leadership & Management Approach
Impact Assessment & Management
Production and Procurement
Leadership & Management Approach
We are further strengthening our strategy of creating what we like to call “Team of Teams”. This means that both vertical and horizontal communication and collaboration is key among all members of the LbE network, which helps to strengthen the overall internal social sustainability and cohesiveness.
Impact Assessment & Management
In order to fully grasp the impact we have on economic, social, and environmental sustainability within our companies, we are working closely with the United Nations and the Global Reporting Initiative, by having each company become a UN Global Compact member and creating a GRI Sustainability Report on an annual basis.
To ensure the best possible accessibility to educational programs, we have created an online platform capable of providing informational and learning materials, online classes, and networking opportunities for learners of all backgrounds and ages. While this helps to bring sustainability education easily into households all over the globe, it also helps us to make educational frameworks and the provision of educational information more resilient to catastrophes. This is especially relevant due to having witnessed the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Production & Procurement
Within our program production we are aiming to further implement sustainability while also creating new educational programs focused solely on sustainability and which are specific to each individual company’s region. In our physical programs for example, we are even more conscious of walkability by selecting our program and activity locations in a way that precludes the need for vehicular transportation.
In addition, we have taken several steps to utilizing solely digital forms of communication and presentation in all office related processes while also creating digital workbooks and services for all LbE programs. Lastly, we are aiming to utilize renewable resources wherever possible and monitor all energy uses for the purposes of reducing their usage in our offices and programs. This also includes limiting and monitoring the use of water in office sanitation.
In regard to our external industry relations and partnerships, we have also determined several foci that help to strengthen our positive impacts in our economies, communities, and environments:
To have a positive impact on the tourism industry at large we are working closely with our affiliated travel agencies in creating pledges to reduce the use of non-digital marketing materials. In addition we are highly motivated to create more homestay opportunities for students to foster communal development and interregional and intercultural exchanges.
In order to strengthen the local economy, reduce waste creation, and support fresh and regional food production, we are developing partnerships with meal providers that source all food locally and utilize easily compostable, reusable, and/or recyclable packaging.
Although in some of our activities we have to rely on vehicular transportation, we are redesigning our programs to utilize public transportation wherever possible and aim to develop partnerships with city administrations for more cost-effective transportation for our students.
We have reimagined all LbE network members in many aspects and are working tirelessly to become the one-stop shop in sustainable learning and leadership for all students and life-long learners. While the above guidelines are generalized in order to portray our overall direction and efforts in transitioning towards sustainability, more detailed information of how specific goals and their approaches look at each of our companies is described in the individual Sustainability Commitments on the websites of LbE Japan and its Global Education Project, LbE Hawaii, and Vista Travel Taiwan.
So in the words of our Founder and President, Koichiro Kita, “Let’s Make It Happen!”
Founder, President & CEO
LbE Japan & LbE Hawaii