On August 2, 2018, Mr. Kenji Yokoyama, NRI Senior Corporate Managing Director, and NRI managers visited the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a not for profit, international organization located in Geneva, Switzerland. WBCSD brings together companies to co-create business solutions that contribute towards the SDGs.
On August 3, they visited RobecoSAM, an investment specialist focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing, in Zurich, to hold the second overseas CSR dialogue for NRI. Experts from the respective organizations exchanged opinions on ESG investors’ expectations for companies and corporate response to SDGs.
(Affiliation and position as of August 2018)
Managing Director of Member
Relations & Senior
The benefits of joining WBCSD
At WBCSD, we have close to 30 active, target projects. Each member company participates in two or three target projects. There are three benefits to joining WBCSD, as follows:
- Sharing “Mission & Vision”
By joining WBCSD, the company can exchange views with CEO-level executives from 200 companies, share the sustainability vision and values, and build a human network at the annual CEO meetings.
- Gain a foothold as a leading company
By participating in the working group for target projects, the company can establish its position as a leading company exercising initiative in the field.
- Obtain knowledge and wisdom and be part of the shaping and creating of new business solutions
The company can obtain knowledge on world trends through activities in WBCSD and collecting information at meetings. They can also be part of the creation of solution before these are imposed on companies through regulation or emergencies.
- Sharing “Mission & Vision”
Managing Director of People &
Senior Management Team
How does it promote SDGs?
WBCSD supports businesses collaborate and generate added value in how they specifically, through business, address social challenges identified in the SDGs.
At WBCSD, we believe that no single company can solve social issues alone. And to expand impact on society and scalability, we recommend businesses to participate in the activities based on the following three concepts:
Innovation: Provide innovation to solve social issues through sustainable business;
Collaboration: Connect businesses with various stakeholders and other companies for value creation; and
Valuation: Discover true value and not just economic value.
Head of Sustainability Service
What expectations do ESG investors have for companies?
We believe that companies should not just contribute to creating a more sustainable world, but also build a sustainable and profitable business through providing solutions to challenges stemming from ESG issues. We analyze how companies are operating while quantitatively measuring their positive and negative impacts on society and whether they disclose that information.
In future corporate management strategy, the question will be whether the company has established a permanent risk management system in the management decision-making process for minimizing risk in contingencies. This will require accurately identifying signs of social change. Companies are expected to have a functional management system that subsumes a full range of values from the point of view of diversity and inclusion.
Director, Senior Manager,
The fear and expectation in ICT industry
The ICT industry has always played a crucial role in the development of society. Not only by connecting people and corporations, but also by making all kind of processes more reliable and efficient. Nowadays, similar to what was experienced with the introduction of new technologies, there is a big fear that AI and industry 5.0 will erase many jobs, creating a big societal imbalance. It is therefore very important that the development of these new technologies is thoroughly followed, and all stakeholders are involved in order to limit the negative impacts. Only through adhering to this process it will be possible to state that the introduction of a new technology has generated a net positive impact on the economy and the society. It is therefore crucial at this point that all actors and stakeholders collaborate in order to find the best way for the future. We at RobecoSAM are very open to listen and, where possible, contribute to the discussion.
Director, Head of ESG Ratings
In what form do you require companies to disclose their ESG information?
From our perspective it is not relevant which channel a company uses to disclose their data. It can be a data book which focuses on ESG, an integrated report, a website or any other format. What is relevant to us is that the information is audited, easily accessible and found, and that the company explains how this information is financially material. For investors it is relevant that the disclosed information provides enough background for an analysis for potential negative risks and the impact that these risks might have on the business if they becomes real. This information should be presented in ways which are easy to understand for the investors. Companies can build trust and fulfill their accountability by publicly disclosing their processes for resolving selected issues.
Senior Corporate Managing
We are building sustainable future, tomorrow
Thank you very much for your valuable opinions. It struck me that ESG investors expect companies to integrate efforts to build a sustainable society in the business strategy and to disclose the impact of such a business strategy. It also struck me that as for the ICT industry, while there are concerns for the negative impact from advancement in technology, there are even greater expectations for the positive side of such advancement. Our aims will be to develop as an ICT company in ways we can meet the expectations of ESG investors.
We have long considered our response to SDGs. Your input has helped us understand the fundamental aspects of SDGs so that we are beginning to have a better image of our approach to SDGs. To address SDG-related social issues, we hope to work with other companies and enable our company to generate social value through business.
We are building sustainable future, tomorrow.
Other participants from NRI
Yoshiro Shikino, General Manager, Administration Department
Kenji Honda, Manager of Sustainability & Responsibility Group
Shigeru Fujisawa, Manager, Sustainability & Responsibility Group
Hiroshi Ishida, Executive Director, Caux Round Table Japan
Nobuo Taguchi, Senior Manager, CSR Promotion, ANA Holdings Inc.
(Published in 23, JAN. 2019)