Tokyo-July 8, 2019 - Nikkei Business Publications (President & CEO: Naoto Yoshida; Minato-ku, Tokyo) released the results of its Eco-brand Survey 2019. This 20th annual survey conducted by Nikkei ESG Management Forum covers 560 major corporate brands in Japan. The survey analyzes information gathered through online questionnaires and measures how consumers are viewing and responding to the environment-related activities of the target corporations. This year's questionnaire survey was conducted between March 14 and April 21, 2019; effective responses were received from 21,000 consumers throughout Japan. Major findings of the survey are as below.
Suntory won the first place for three consecutive years in the overall ranking and topped the list for the eighth time in total. The second-ranked Toyota Motor and the third-ranked Aeon were unchanged from last year. Suntory came in first with the positive perception in five categories including "reducing energy consumption", "recycling", and "preserving biodiversity". The company was highly evaluated by its 3R initiatives such as reducing weighing of container materials and introducing plant-based plastic bottles as well as its activities focusing "water" to protect forests of water resources.
The eye-catcher in this year's survey was Starbucks Coffee Japan which jumped up to the 7th from the 27th last year, driven by its positive perception in the category of "reduction in use of hazardous substances" leaping from last year's 166th to 2nd. Amid global calls for marine plastic waste issues, its brand image has been largely enhanced thanks to the announcement, "Starbucks to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020 ". The company said it now initiates the environmental and social activities based on the word of social impact, shifting from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It undertook the positive reform of mindset to utilize the influence of its shops receiving 0.8 mil customers every day for creation of better future and conducted the campaign to reduce disposable plastics called "Reuse & Respect" Sustainability Project in April this year.
Following last year's survey, "SG perception ranking" were calculated as indicators to evaluate corporate sustainability. A higher SG score means a company is perceived as making greater efforts in social issues and governance. This year marking the third survey, added new categories regarding governance such as "internal system for compliance" and "information security system".
This year's remarkable name is the 4th ranked All Nippon Airways (ANA). ANA ran second behind Toyota in "maintaining internal system for compliance", a new category added this year to ask positive perception. Key driver of the higher ranking is "Human Rights Report", released by ANA last year as the first report by Japanese company. Selected in 2015 as one of official partners of Tokyo Olympic, ANA said it aggressively addressed the human rights issues, finding significance in creating Olympic legacy as an airline company serving many visitors to Japan in 2020. Among human rights themes in the report, "prevention of human trafficking using aircraft" brought a strong impact. According to International Labor Organization (ILO), the number of people who suffered from enforced labor by human trafficking in the world is approx. 25 million in 2017. Japan is one of the countries having such problems and fifty people were protected as victims of human trafficking in 2016. Allying with NPO in US, ANA has introduced since April this year the program to obviate human trafficking.
Ranking for desirable companies to work is newly added last year and questioned "if they want to work for each company or want to recommend their family members to work for each company". Suntory came in first for two straight years, followed by All Nippon Airways (ANA). Toyota Motor, Canon, and Bridgestone climbed the ranking while Google was ranked lower due to its announcement on the potential leak of substantial personal information last year.
Details of the Eco-brand ranking and SG perception ranking are featured in the special article "Eco-brand Survey 2019" (pages 36-49) in the August 2019 issue of Nikkei ESG (published on July 8).
|7||Starbucks Coffee Japan||76.7|
|12||Seven & i Holdings||72.6|
|15||JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy (ENEOS)||70.1|
|16||Asahi Soft Drinks||69.9|
The Eco-brand scores above are determined by aggregating four metrics, which strongly influence corporate brand perceptions: Consumer exposure to the company's environmental information; environment-related communication, such as environmental reports and media coverage; respondent descriptions of the company's image in relation to the environment; and respondent evaluations of the company's environment-related activities. The scores are expressed by deviation value (average 50) to show the position among all company brands.
Corporations that ranked high on positive descriptors (Eco-brand)
|6||East Japan Railway (JR East)||12.1|
|7||JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy (ENEOS)||11.9|
|10||Central Japan Railway (JR Central)||10.7|
|7||Asahi Soft Drinks||11.6|
|8||Starbucks Coffee Japan||11.3|
|10||Seiko Epson (EPSON)||10.7|
|2||JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy (ENEOS)||14.4|
|2||Starbucks Coffee Japan||6.3|
|7||Japan Tobacco (JT)||4.9|
|6||Japan Tobacco (JT)||4.6|
|8||Asahi Soft Drinks||4.0|
|5||Starbucks Coffee Japan||5.6|
|6||Universal Studios Japan||5.2|
Suntory was ranked top in five categories, followed by Toyota Motor ranked top in four categories. Starbucks Coffee Japan made a leap from 166th last year to 2nd in the category of "making efforts to reduce use of hazardous substance". Amid calls for marine plastic waste issues, it seems to be affected by expanded recognition among consumers that plastics are hazardous substance.
|4||All Nippon Airways (ANA)||82.2|
|10||Starbucks Coffee Japan||74.5|
|15||East Japan Railway (JR East)||71.0|
SG perception were ranked by calculating evaluations on efforts in social issues of company (S) and governance (G). While last year's survey asked 12 positive categories and seven negative categories combining S and G, this year's survey asked categories separately for S and G to collect positive / negative perceptions respectively. Consequently, being not possible to simply compare with the ranking last year, this year generally saw the same top 10-ranked names as last year. All Nippon Airways (ANA) which released the first Human Rights Report by Japanese company performed solidly this year, ranked 4th place.
|6||Seven & i Holdings||4.4|
|1||Sumitomo Mitsui Banking||4.6|
|6||Nippon Life Insurance||3.4|
|2||All Nippon Airways (ANA)||5.8|
|4||Sumitomo Mitsui Banking||5.6|
|6||Japan Post Bank||5.3|
|4||Sumitomo Mitsui Banking||6.9|
Toyota Motor was evaluated higher in governance (G) and ranked top in six categories out of eight. Yamato Transport came in first in the category of "making efforts to reduce long working hours and overtime". All Nippon Airways ranked in 4th in SG perception ranking received higher evaluation in the categories of "maintaining internal system for compliance" and "disclosure of corporate activities". Due to the increased questions regarding information security and privacy protection this year, financial institutions and IT companies outstandingly moved up in ranking. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking came in top in the category of "promoting protection of customer information and privacy".
|2||All Nippon Airways (ANA)||79.0|
Desirable Companies to Work is a newly added category from last year. Respondents were asked if they want to work for each company or want to recommend their family members to work for each company. Suntory won the first place for two consecutive years followed by All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Nikkei BP works as the Secretariat for this forum established in April 2018 to promote understanding on ESG management in society and industries. Together with its approximately 152 member corporations (as of July 1, 2019) and organizations, ESG Management Forum organizes activities on research, surveys, information collection and dissemination regarding ESG management issues.
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