YKK AP Hires Chief Sustainability Officer

YKK AP America (YKK AP) has taken an important step toward framing the future with the appointment of Tomohisa Kato as its first-ever chief sustainability officer.

The appointment reflects the company’s commitment toward building a better society through architectural products of true value which connect people, planet and the future. It is also a further step toward reinforcing efforts in North America to support YKK AP Inc.’s recently announced global statement of purpose which sets forth a calling to all YKK AP operating companies around the world, “We Build a Better Society through Architectural Products.” The new global purpose forms a framework of forward-thinking initiatives toward making positive, material impacts to society in the areas of human capital development, product innovation, as well as corporate social responsibility and carbon reduction.

In this new role, Kato will oversee the company’s sustainability strategy. He will focus on advancing and accelerating efforts in North America to promote sustainability in business and corporate practice. Kato will lead YKK AP’s materiality-based strategic planning processes to enhance the company’s continuous growth and society’s sustainable growth through corporate development, technology innovation and process improvement.

“We take great pride in YKK’s philosophy the ‘Cycle of Goodness’ which states ‘No one prospers without rendering benefit to others.’ As a company, we continuously seek to grow upon this foundation by building a better society through architectural products,” says Oliver Stepe, president of YKK AP America Inc. “By appointing Tomohisa as our first Chief Sustainability Officer, we are taking another step toward fulfilling this vision. His deep experience and understanding of our business and the sustainability challenges we face today will be a tremendous asset as we continue to frame the future as an industry-leading, purpose-driven organization.”

Kato has served YKK AP America as vice president of corporate development since 2019, where he worked on important strategic initiatives for the company such as digital transformation. Kato was also part of the team that helped realize the successful acquisition of Erie Architectural Products. Prior to joining YKK AP America, he led Corporate Planning for YKK AP Global.

“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 notes. “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.”

YKK AP continues to lead the industry in its sustainability practices. Its commercial manufacturing plant is ISO 14001 certified, a standard which reduces the environmental footprint of a business as well as decreases the pollution and waste a business produces. In 2009, the company was the first manufacturer to bring products to market designed specifically to address energy needs, and in 2015, YKK AP elevated its commitment to sustainability by becoming the first facades manufacturer to voluntarily provide third party-certified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for all products in its portfolio. YKK AP is regularly recognized for its environmental practices, most recently by the Georgia Water Coalition with the Clean 13 Award, which recognizes organizations whose initiatives have led to a more sustainable future for Georgians.

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