Message from the Chair of the Sustainability Management Committee

Tetsuro Tsutano
Director, Senior Executive Officer

Establishment of Kanematsu Group’s Human Rights Policy

In 19th century Japan, there were numerous ambitious business people that fought their way out of poverty to success. Few of them, however, chose a path that deliberately steered away from building a plutocratic empire and amassing capital for themselves, electing instead to contribute to the advance of society through business and to leave their mark on social development, even in fields peripheral to their businesses. Kanematsu’s founder, Fusajiro Kanematsu, was one such man of business.

The Japanese Wikipedia page for “Japanese ESOP” presents the employee stock option plan (ESOP) devised by Fusajiro Kanematsu Shoten as an early example of a Japanese ESOP. During his lifetime, Fusajiro liked to say that he belonged first to Kanematsu Shoten, not the Kanematsu family, and after his death, the shares of Kanematsu Shoten were distributed among the employees, rather than his relatives, passing on the aspiration to contribute to society through business to the members of the Company.

Our founding purpose, “Let us sow and nurture the seeds of global prosperity,” expresses a way of thinking aligned with contributing to the public interest, society, the international community, and humanity. Based on these principles, in February 2023, we established the Kanematsu Group’s Human Rights Policy, clarifying our approach to initiatives related to ensuring respect for human rights to all stakeholders. Furthermore, in March, we endorsed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which calls on its members to uphold and practice its 10 principles in the four fields of “human rights,” “labour,” “environment,” and “anti-corruption.”

By fulfilling our responsibility to respect human rights, we will carry on the aspiration of our founder and ensure the sustainability and resilience of our businesses.

Targets for 2050 and Improving our ESG Scores

One of the targets that the Kanematsu Group has set under the metrics and targets disclosed in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) guidance is to be carbon negative, with net negative emissions of 1 million t-CO2 (Scopes 1 and 2) in 2050. Japan’s total emissions in 2022 were 1,066 million t-CO2,* meaning that we are aiming to contribute to society through a net negative amount equivalent to around 0.1% of current national emissions. This target is aligned with Principle 8 of the UN Global Compact, “Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.”

In recognition of such initiatives, our ESG scores have been steadily increasing year after year (see table below).

Furthermore, in 2023, we were selected for the first time for inclusion in the FTSE Blossom Japan Sector Relative Index, an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) index of domestic stocks used as a benchmark for passive management since March 2022 by Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF). Japanese companies may be selected for inclusion in this index if they have excellent ESG rating from FTSE Russell and meet certain criteria with regard to greenhouse gas emissions per unit of net sales. In addition, Kanematsu has been selected for inclusion in the following three other ESG indices used by the GPIF.

  • ・MSCI Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN)
  • ・S&P/JPX Carbon Efficient Index
  • ・Morningstar Japan ex-REIT Gender Diversity Tilt Index

The Kanematsu Group’s ESG scores still have room to rise higher, and we are confident that we can improve them further. By continuing to advance ESG activities in line with our management philosophy, we will work toward corporate sustainability in this, the human rights century.

Source: Global Note “Global CO2 Emissions Ranking by Country (Based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy)”