Study Group on Approaches to Making More Substantial the Dialogues for Creation of Sustainable Corporate Value to be Newly Inaugurated
November 22, 2019
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided to inaugurate a new body called the “Study Group for Discussing Approaches to Making More Substantial the Dialogues for Creation of Sustainable Corporate Value.” In light of the changes in environments surrounding companies, investors and capital markets since its release of the Ito Review (1*), the study group aims to hold discussions on challenges in further encouraging companies to improve sustainable corporate value through “dialogues” between companies and investors and on measures for overcoming the challenges.
Through such discussions, METI will strive to make such “dialogues” more “substantial” and take another step toward creation of a virtuous cycle to “collaboratively create” new value between companies and investors.
1. Purpose for and background to the inauguration
Since its release of the Ito Review, METI has been encouraging companies to have dialogues with investors and advance corporate governance reforms. Through these efforts, METI has contributed to helping companies to make a certain level of achievement, including improvement of their returns on equity (ROE). However, as some have pointed out, there is still a challenge in encouraging companies to have more substantial dialogues with investors and to lead the results of such dialogues to sustainable corporate value.
In the process of achieving this goal, i.e., making dialogues more substantial, METI should take into consideration a variety of environmental changes which have become clearly apparent, including those as below, surrounding company-investor dialogues, since the release of the Ito Review:
- Concerning proactive actions that companies should take based on in-depth understanding of elements of successful dialogues, such as the significance of and purpose for having dialogues with investors, the specifics of truly constructive dialogues and specific approaches to achieving such dialogues, some gaps are seen between companies doing so and those not;
- The significance of stock markets has been transforming in terms of quality due to the changes in financial environments, such as further expansion of companies’ retained earnings and easily-accessible debt finance due to decrease in interest rates; and
- A growing number of investors are remarkably tending to minimize costs, as seen in their expansion of passive investments, and amid this trend, rating companies have been playing a more important function.
The study group will take into consideration the outcomes of efforts involving and discussions derived from the Ito Review, the Ito Review 2.0 (*2) and the Guidance for Collaborative Value Creation (*3), and based on this, it will hold discussions on challenges in encouraging companies to collaboratively create new value with investors through their dialogues even in the current situations where companies and investors are facing a variety of environmental changes as well as discussions on measures for overcoming such challenges.
2. Examples of issues and points of contention on which the study group will hold discussions and study
(1) Raising the quality of dialogues based on the current situations of dialogues
- Sharing recognition of the current situations of dialogues and challenges therein;
- Sharing good practices concerning purpose-based dialogues; and
- Ideal approaches to providing “opportunities” for having continuous dialogues among companies, among investors and between companies and investors.
(2) Future relationships between companies and investors based on environmental changes surrounding investors and capital markets
- Investors with the tendency to minimize costs involving capital markets, and roles played by individual players and ideal approaches that such players should take; and
- Companies’ potential for value creation through ESG investment (*4).
(3) Briefing and discussions on the results of sector-based discussions
- Business management and SDGs (*5): Approaches to specifying the Guide for SDG Business Management; and
- Further encouraging investments in intangible assets (innovations and research and development / digital transformation / human resources).
3. Members of the study group
See the Appendix.
4. Future schedule
The study group will hold its first meeting on November 26 (Tue.), 2019. Following this, it will hold a meeting about once a month and compile discussion results into a report by around the spring of 2020.
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, in principle.
Final Report of the Ito Review “Competitiveness and Incentives for Sustainable Growth: Building Favorable Relationships between Companies and Investors” Project (formulated by METI in August 2014)
The Ito Review 2.0: A report compiled by the Study Group on Long-term Investment (Investment evaluating ESG Factors and Intangible Assets) toward Sustainable Growth (formulated by METI in October 2017)
The Guidance for Collaborative Value Creation or the Guidance for Integrated Corporate Disclosure and Company-Investor Dialogues for Collaborative Value Creation: ESG integration, Non-financial Information Disclosure and Intangible Assets into Investment (formulated by METI in May 2017)
ESG investment takes into consideration not only financial information of target companies but also information on target companies’ efforts for the environment, society and governance.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are international goals to achieve a sustainable world.
Division in Charge
Industrial Finance Division, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau