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Nikkei ESG Management Forum Members Top 210
ESG management remains as significant as ever, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, there is increasing support from the capital side, and ESG investment is rising on the stock market. There are more and more ESG bond issues, with new issues by Japanese corporations setting a record of 1.6 trillion yen in FY2020. In the US, Alphabet Inc., the parent firm of search engine leader Google, issued ESG bonds totaling US$5.75 billion (600 billion yen) in August 2020.
The Nikkei ESG Management Forum is a membership organization established by Nikkei Business Publications. Since its inception in April 2018, its belief has been that companies must act not only with the environment (E) but also with social (S) and governance (G) issues in mind if they are to enhance their business foundation. This perspective is rapidly penetrating Japan, particularly among the forward-thinking corporations. As a result, the number of Nikkei ESG Management Forum members topped 210 as of May 1 and will most likely reach 250 by the end of this year.
The activities of the Nikkei ESG Management Forum are centered around three service pillars of "public activity," "information gathering" and "survey/analysis," all aimed at benefitting member companies' ESG initiatives throughout the year. "Public activity" supports members by helping them gain platforms to send out their messages as ESG-minded firms. One is the monthly "Nikkei ESG" magazine that communicates the members' ESG initiatives in the forms of interviews with their top management. To expand reach and convey strong messages as a group, other media are also used. These include the "Nikkei" newspaper and the "Nikkei Business" magazine, both of which are must-read media for any Japanese businessperson, as well as the renowned "Financial Times," which enables messages to cross borders.
While "public activity" covers the output aspect for the members of the Nikkei ESG Management Forum, "information gathering" aims to help them intake information that will be of assistance in their ESG management. Study sessions are held 30 times a year, with content varying from introductory talks for beginners to in-depth studies on specialized topics. Given the current COVID-19 situation, most of the sessions are held as web seminars and archived in the forum's web library for later viewing. Before the pandemic, a group study tour to New York was popular with members. During such trips, they would visit the United Nations as well as corporations, NGOs and universities to obtain first-hand knowledge of the American way of ESG management.
"Survey/analysis" is a newer addition to the activities of the Nikkei ESG Management Forum, with the results of the first ESG Brand Survey announced in October 2020. This survey received responses from 20,000 people to rate 560 companies from the ESG management perspectives of environment, society, governance and integrity. The survey was the first ever of its kind and scale in Japan, and it attracted strong attention throughout the nation and received much media coverage. Below are the top 10 brands unveiled through the survey.
Society is evolving past the current ESG mainstream, in which ESG constitutes a core of corporate management. It is entering an era in which ESG will exercise even greater impact on management via links to digital transformation and human resources. The Nikkei ESG Management Forum will continue to support its member companies' ESG-related public communication efforts.
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Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.
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