Photo/IllutrationAn official of Nabtesco Corp., one of 38 Japanese companies awarded “A List” ranking for climate change measures, addresses children in an “Earth lesson” at Higashi Elementary School in Tarui, Gifu Prefecture, in 2018. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Japan took the top spot for the first time in a global survey on how companies address the risks posed by climate change to their business strategies.

A record 38 Japanese companies were awarded "A List" ranking, toppling the United States from the No. 1 position it held last year.

The finding was announced Jan. 20 by CDP, a British nonprofit charity that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to assess the long-term prospects for economic growth based on the environmental impact on their policies.

It said Japanese companies scored well in the latest survey because of the way they counter management challenges caused by global warming. CDP has issued the survey annually since 2003.

It contacted 13,000 or so companies across the world, and about 8,400 responded.

CDP used an eight-level grading system in 15 categories to evaluate how companies were reducing their carbon footprint. The survey focused on detailed reduction goals and estimates of how climate change will affect each company's operations.

A List status was granted to 179 companies overall.

The figure was almost double the 20 awarded to Japanese companies in last year’s survey.

Thirteen Japanese companies were selected for the first time. They included Aeon Co., Kao Corp., Nikon Corp. and Tokio Marine Holdings Inc.

They made the cut because of their commitment to the “Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures” (TCFD), which quantifies management risks due to climate change. Climate change measures are discussed at all of its board meetings.

A key issue for investors in recent years is how climate change affects corporate management. The CDP rankings are scrutinized by investors seeking to capitalize on sound judgments being made in the business world.

This year's survey made clear that more Japanese companies are taking action against global warming.

At the end of last year, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the nation's largest business group, unveiled its “Challenge Zero” policy to eliminate CO2 levels among its members.

But some industries, like the steel and energy sectors, generate vast quantities of carbon dioxide. For this reason, Keidanren did not announce a deadline for achieving its goal.

It plans to assess each member company’s approach to the issue and announce the result this summer.

Whether the lesser emissions can be achieved with the business group's leadership remains to be seen if left solely to private companies to figure out.

(This article was written by Taiki Koide and Hironori Kato.)