New Report (and webinar) from SPF and TIIP Helps Advance Sustainable Investing in Japan

“Sustainable Investing in Japan: An Agenda for Action” provides recommendations for growing the practice in Japan

TOKYO, JAPAN, September 6, 2019– The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) released a new report that identifies the challenges and opportunities for sustainable investing in Japan at today’s “Impact Investing Forum 2019: Post G20 Forum on SDG and Innovative Finance” hosted by Japan Social Impact Investment Foundation and the Japan National Advisory Board of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment.

The report, entitled “Sustainable Investing in Japan: An Agenda for Action,” examines why few Japanese investors incorporate sustainable investing into their practices and recommends breakthroughs needed to grow the practice in Japan.

The Agenda for Action is available to download in both English and Japanese. Read a write-up in Forbes by Dr. Bob Eccles.

Please also see the recording of a related webinar held on September 30th. During this session William Burckart, President of TIIP and co-author of the report, reviewed key findings. He was joined my leading investors that are helping to advance sustainable and impact investing in Japan and elsewhere, including: Shin Furuya (Impact Investment Strategist, Domini Impact Investments), Atsuka Toda (Chief Portfolio Manager, Nissay Asset Management), and Lisa Davis (Executive Director and Portfolio Manager, Impact Investing, PGIM Real Estate).

“Sustainable investment is increasingly popular,” said Mr. Shuichi Ohno, President of the SPF. “The Agenda for Actionshows how Japan, with the third-largest economy in the world, has an exciting opportunity to seize increasing enthusiasm for the practice and to become a world leader in sustainable investing.”

Co-authored by William Burckart and Jessica Ziegler of TIIP, the report is informed by an extensive literature review on sustainable investing in Japan. It is also informed by consultations with more than 50 industry experts, including from the CFA Institute, Financial Services Agency (FSA), Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), Nissay Asset Management Corporation and Sumitomo Life to name a few. These experts are supporting investors’ embrace of sustainable investing and working to bring it into the mainstream.

The report summarizes findings from the project’s research and recommends a series of breakthroughs needed to grow the approach, including:

> Increasing the visibility of sustainable investing in Japan;

> Dispelling common myths about the practice;

> Providing investors with practical guidance and tools; and

> Coordinating related policy efforts.

The Agenda for Action also discusses next steps for sustainable investment elsewhere in Asia.

“Despite growing interest, sustainable investment appears to appeal solely to niche, boutique, and explicitly long-term investors (e.g. pension funds) in Japan and has not otherwise gained traction with Japan’s mainstream financial community,” said William Burckart, President of TIIP. “The Agenda for Action provides a series of steps that, once taken, will clear the path to fulfilling the potential for sustainable investment in the region.”

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF): SPF is a Japanese private foundation established in 1986 to enhance international cooperation. SPF has set its focus on five key areas: addressing a variety of societal challenges that fast-emerging Asian countries currently face, stimulating greater socioeconomic progress through women’s empowerment, promoting understanding and strengthening relationships with Muslim-majority countries, further strengthening Japan–U.S. relations, and developing programs to promote the long-term sustainability of the world’s oceans. In 2017, SPF carved out about 100 million USD from its endowment to establish the Asia Women Impact Fund. The Asia Women Impact Fund envisions a future where all women in Asia are empowered to reach their full potential. The fund aims to realize this vision by making investments to achieve favourable outcomes for women across Asia and to support women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. For more information, visit https://www.spf.org/en/

The Investment Integration Project (TIIP).TIIP’s mission is to help investors understand how healthy environmental, social, and financial systems can benefit their portfolios. TIIP provides thought leadership, research, and consulting services that support investors’ pursuit of system-level investing, an advanced sustainable investing approach that focuses on managing systemic risks and investing in solutions to systemic problems. For more information, visit https://www.tiiproject.com

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