The Japan Exchange Group (JPX), the owner of the Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges, announced this Wednesday that it would be forming a Sustainability Committee that will start work at the beginning of July. The new committee will report directly to Akira Kiyota, JPX’s CEO.
JPX’s announcement follows a growing trend towards what purports to be a more ethical brand of investment. Especially popular in the Nordic countries and the Netherlands, firms have started to use the ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ (ESG) criteria when making investments.
Firms examine the three criteria to produce a more ethical investment. Adherents of ESG products also maintain that they make for better investments in financial terms, but there isn’t much data to support this.
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The drive towards ESG investing has its roots in a United Nations (UN) initiative – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agreed upon in 2015, there are seventeen SDGs that aim to address a range of socio-economic issues across the globe, including ending poverty and hunger as well as improving education and medical services.
JPX has gone all-in on the ESG investment front. In December of last year, the exchange group joined the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE). A UN organization, the SSE focuses on promoting five of the SDGs, including gender equality and climate action.
In April of this year, the firm released a new management plan that laid particular emphasis on ESG investing. The plan listed promoting ESG investments as the first point in its list of core initiatives for the future.
Today’s announcement indicates that the firm is following through on those plans. The Sustainability Committee will, according to the firm, “contribute to the spread of ESG investment and the establishment of a sustainable society in collaboration with domestic and foreign public institutions, investors, listed companies, market participants, and other stakeholders.”