Today’s emerging companies are on the hunt for the most environmental cities, which is requiring eco-minded and carbon-friendly policies. When it comes to attracting to the world’s most advanced finance and technology companies, Japan is therefore relying on environmental activism.
Tokyo hosted a conference to highlight its mission — to attract so-called FinTech companies using environmental, social and governance principles. In other words, today’s financial firms that rely on digital technologies want to associate with other eco-conscious companies and environmentally-friendly cities. And Tokyo thinks it is the right city at the right time.
“If we can allocate Japanese savings in a sustainable society that will be a major driver,” says the Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike, in a response to this reporter’s question. “We can recruit more foreign companies to Japan. If we have more green initiatives, it will contribute to Japan’s overall economy.”
At the same time, Japan is demonstrating leadership. While the United States has bowed out, Japan is active in the Paris Climate Agreement and it has adopted a policy to become carbon neutral by 2050. Other financial capitals such as London and Hong Kong, meanwhile, are undergoing internal strife whereas Japan is politically and economically rock solid. “Japan is not difficult,” says David Shirt, chief executive of Astris Advisory. “If you can navigate it, you can build a business here. But you have to understand the regulators.”
Consider also that The US SIF Foundation’s 2018 biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends found that sustainable, responsible and impact investing assets now account for $12 trillion —or one in four dollars— of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under professional management in the United States. This represents a 38% increase over 2016.
For its part, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has established public funds to support environmental, social and governance investment in renewable energy. It is also issuing green bonds worth 20 billion yen in which the revenues are earmarked for environmentally-friendly projects like energy conservation and energy-efficient buildings. The city plans to highlight those themes during its 2020 Hydrogen Olympics in which clean electricity will provide power where the games will be played.
Specifically, Governor Koike, who has previously been a member of parliament and the minister of the environment, say that since 2000 Tokyo has employed a cap-and-trade scheme for its office buildings, which has reduced CO2 emissions by 26%. Going forward, the country’s goal is to focus on advancing the production of green hydrogen that is CO2-free while relying on renewable energy to provide 22-24% of the energy mix by 2030.
Prospering in the 21st Century economy means going green.