Seminar Trends of ESG Management & Challenges for Japanese Businesses: Views of North American Social Studies Teachers

June 27, 2023


As part of the 2023 Japan Study Tour for North American Social Studies Teachers, KKC held a seminar titled “Trends of ESG Management & Challenges for Japanese Businesses: Views of North American Social Studies Teachers.”

Dr. Sayuri Shirai, professor at Keio University and Visiting Fellow and Advisor for Sustainable Policies at the Asian Development Bank Institute, started the seminar with a keynote presentation. She emphasized that companies should concentrate on three objectives in their fight against climate change: disclosure (e.g., of emission data and transition plans), sustainable products, and sustainable supply chains.

The presentation was followed by comments from the social studies teachers on environmental awareness and education in the United States. The stark differences between states became apparent during their speeches, with some states requiring environmental education and other states prohibiting teachers from even mentioning climate change.

Lastly, Professor Shirai moderated a lively discussion with the audience, which consisted of representatives from KKC member companies. Topics included educational outreach programs of U.S. and Japanese companies as well as the teacher’s reactions to the sustainability efforts of the companies they had visited during the 9-day program. They also discussed differences in environmental awareness between Japan and the U.S., where the teachers emphasized the comparative lack of public transportation and recycling initiatives in the U.S..

Professor Shirai concluded that it is important for Japanese companies to follow the global trends in ESG investment in order to win the trust of investors. She also stated that although the anti-ESG campaigns in the U.S. are source of concern, ESG related investment in the U.S. is top class in the world and highly exceeds anti-ESG funds. She also stated that competitive American companies are actively promoting ESG investment on their own, despite the policies of the government and this leads to the dynamism of the U.S..