Focusing on sustainable practices is an important part of the culture at YKK AP America Inc. As a USGlass magazine Green Award winner, the company reported it was the first facade manufacturer to voluntarily provide third-party-certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its portfolio five years ago, and its commercial manufacturing plant is ISO 14001 certified. Now, in a green initiative that ties back to the philosophy of YKK founder Tadao Yoshida, the company had created the first-ever chief sustainability officer. Tomohisa Kato will fill this position.
“We take great pride in YKK’s philosophy the ‘Cycle of Goodness’ which states, ‘No one prospers without rendering benefit to others,’” says president Oliver Stepe. “As a company, we continuously seek to grow upon this foundation by building a better society through architectural products. By appointing Tomohisa as our first chief sustainability officer, we are taking another step toward fulfilling this vision.”
Kato has served as vice president of corporate development since 2019. He now will oversee the company’s sustainability strategy, focusing on advancing efforts in North America to promote sustainability in business and corporate practice. He will also lead YKK AP’s materiality-based strategic planning processes to enhance the company’s growth and society.
“I am honored to step into this position where I will address the critical challenges of protecting our environment through our architectural products and conserving natural resources through our business practices,” Kato says. “The environmental issues we face are common to all of us, and I am proud to contribute my time and energy toward securing a more sustainable future.”
Mike Turner, senior vice president of sales and marketing at YKK AP America, tells USGNN™ that this move is part of a mission that extends beyond products.
“One of our purposes is to continue to create architectural products through an artistic and inquisitive mindset, and doing it in a way that’s sustainable and doesn’t impact our environment,” Turner says. “It’s that additional element of the cycle that we continue to try to address. We have to provide value to our clients so that they can generate revenue. We need to generate revenue to do that, but it’s not just about profit—it’s about giving back.”