We are pleased to announce that Mr Steve Leonard and Mr Wataru Baba have joined SDG Impact Japan as Managing Partners.
Mr Leonard is a global leader in building and scaling companies, and has built an impressive track record working with entrepreneurs to build exponential solutions that enable a more circular economy.
Steve will lead SDG Impact Japan’s work on identifying and investing in the most promising circular economy focused companies, as part of a growth stage investment initiative that links Japan to the rest of Asia Pacific, and is in partnership also with Unison Capital. Steve will also play a key role in helping grow SDG Impact Japan’s business globally.
In turn, Mr Baba is a leader in corporate innovation who, as an executive officer of the Panasonic Group, was responsible for corporate innovation integrated with the overall management strategy of the Panasonic Group and was responsible for the Green Transformation. He is set to expand his advisory role at SDG Impact Japan, leading a wide range of businesses including climate finance and the circular economy, in collaboration with the management team.
Expanding SDG Impact Japan’s leadership and global footprint
The addition of these two global leaders to our management team not just expands our global footprint, it greatly strengthens the firm’s ability to invest and scale circular economy technologies, as well as helping companies in their sustainable transition.
“Improving the well-being of humanity and ensuring the health of the planet on which we all live should be priorities we all share. Identifying and investing in entrepreneurs who are using a range of technologies to build a circular-economy future is my passion. I am excited to work with the SDG Impact Japan team and their global network of partners. Together, our mission is to help accelerate a transition from the historical practice of extracting and consuming of resources to a future of reusing and renewing of resources.”
“The world is rapidly seeing innovations and new financing schemes to address the climate crisis and regenerate nature. Together with SDG Impact Japan’s diverse and global team of professionals and extensive networks, we are committed to building a platform for driving the world’s transformation towards sustainability.”
About Steve Leonard
After several decades of building information technology companies in a variety of countries across Asia and Europe, Steve now dedicates his energy to working with entrepreneurs focused on creating a more circular economy.
Prior to joining SDG Impact Japan, he served as CEO of Singularity University, a global learning and innovation community committed to improving the lives of one billion people through the power of exponential technologies. Before that he was Founding CEO of SGInnovate, a private company wholly-owned by Singapore Governmenta. He created SGInnovate to enable young scientists to launch deeptech startups based on their PhD research. Under his leadership, SGInnovate was the launchpad for 100+ deeptech startups that have now attracted more than $200M in venture funding and forged a community of more than 70,000 scientists, investors, corporates, and government leaders in Singapore and beyond. Leonard also served as the senior leader of the Singapore Government technology and telecommunications agency and played a key role in shaping many of the innovation-ecosystem programs and policies still in use by Singapore and that have been studied by government leaders in other countries.
Steve currently serves as an independent non-executive director (INED) of Maxeon Solar Technologies, Singapore Post, Trust Bank, and AsiaSat and sits on the Advisory Panel of Cambridge Innovation Capital.
About Wataru Baba
Wataru has specialized in innovation and sustainability in various sectors for more than 20 years. Prior to joining SDG Impact Japan, he was in charge of sustainability at Panasonic Holdings, Inc. and in 2019 he was appointed Executive Officer, Corporate Innovation of the Panasonic Group. He was then responsible for the Panasonic Group’s environment and energy business, and led the formulation of the Panasonic GREEN IMPACT, which is integrated with the Group’s management strategy, and the establishment of the Sustainability Committee and the Environment and Energy Technology Strategy Council. Previously, he held management positions in business, R&D, and design divisions at SAP Japan K.K., SAP America Inc, and SAP Labs LLC. He currently serves as an advisor to Panasonic Group, Ajinomoto Corporation, and others, and is a board member and director of the Japan Professional Football League (J-League),