November 22, 2018
*This press release was revised on December 6, 2018 because the title of the study group has been re-named.
In recent years, Japanese companies have been raising awareness about SDGs* and facing trends in expansion of international ESG investment.** In light of this, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched a SDG Management / ESG Investment Study Group. The study group will focus on approaches for Japanese companies to incorporate SDGs into their management and those to leading such introduction to attract ESG investment.
By encouraging Japanese companies to incorporate SDGs into their management and those to leading such introduction to attract ESG investment, METI aims to bolster circular flow of economic system in which companies are able to sustainably improve corporate value and investors will invest in such companies, thereby bringing about mid- to long-term profits to these companies.
Since the United Nations (UN) stipulated the Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)*** in 2006, global society has been rapidly and dramatically committing to ESG investment which is placing weight on sustainability. Against this backdrop, the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), international goals to overcome global societal challenges and achieve a sustainable world.
Amid the current trend in which companies worldwide are proactively committed to incorporating SDGs into management so as to attract ESG investment, many large companies and venture businesses in Japan appear to be embarking on cutting-edge efforts to enhance corporate value by connecting SDGs to management.
In light of this trend, the government of Japan has set goals for propelling the SDGs Business Promotion Initiative and encouraging companies and other businesses to incorporate SDGs into their management strategies, which are goals set in the Expanded SDGs Action Plan 2018 formulated by the Sustainable Development Goals Promotion Headquarters in June 2018.
The study group will enrich discussions on approaches to encouraging companies to incorporate SDGs into their management, and on viewpoints that investors may take in assessing companies’ efforts, in parallel with focusing on successful case examples of leading domestic and overseas companies in management for SDGs.
By encouraging Japanese companies to incorporate SDGs into their management and those to leading such introduction to attract ESG investment, METI aims to bolster the circular flow of an economic system in which companies are able to sustainably improve corporate value and investors will invest in such companies, thereby bringing about mid- to long-term profits to companies. Moreover, METI will also aim to convey the discussion outcomes of the study group to the rest of the world, placing an eye on G20 meetings in 2019, the year in which Japan will serve as chair.
The study group should discuss approaches for achieving SDGs, goals for overcoming global societal challenges, as an issue not only for specific sectors in companies but also the crucial part of management systems. Accordingly, as its members, the study group will bring together CEOs of companies in a variety of fields, heads of universities that have proactively been incorporating SDGs in university management and other leaders. In addition, it will also bring about chief investment officers (CIOs) of institutional investors to share investors’ perspectives for companies’ efforts for SDGs.
3. Schedule and other information
The first meeting will be held on November 26 (Mon.), 2018. The second and following meetings will be held once a month, and the study group will generate a report based on discussion results around the spring of 2019.
The meetings will not be open to the public in order to ensure an opportunity for members of the study group to exchange their opinions in a frank and free manner. However, the distributed materials and a summary of the minutes of the meetings will be made public before and after finishing the respective meetings.
*1. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are international goals to achieve a sustainable world.
**2. ESG investing takes into consideration not only financial information of target companies but also information on target companies’ efforts for the environment, society and governance.
***3. The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are principles that offer actions for incorporating ESG issues into decision-making processes of institutional investors and aim to improve long-term results brought about by investments for beneficiaries.
- METI Formulates Guidance for Integrated Corporate Disclosure and Company-Investor Dialogues for Collaborative Value Creation
- The Cabinet Office Website for the Sustainable Development Goals Promotion Headquarters (in Japanese)
Division in Charge
Industrial Finance Division, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau