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【JWF News Vol.173】Symposium: World Water Day in Tokyo 2019, Water Conference for Future


【JWF News Vol. 173】Symposium: World Water Day in Tokyo 2019, Water Conference for Future
20 March 2019


◇ Contents ◇

・Foreword Water Conference for the Future: Towards the SDGs

・Report from the Japan Water Forum
– Symposium: World Water Day in Tokyo 2019, Water Conference for Future


・Foreword Water Conference for the Future: Towards the SDGs
By Kotaro Takemura, Chair of the Japan Water Forum


Transformation of Society
On March 8, 2019, the Japan Water Forum held a symposium entitled Water Conference for the Future, marking UN World Water Day. Mr. Masao Seki of Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. delivered a keynote speech and a panel discussion was held, facilitated by Prof. Kaoru Takara of Kyoto University. The theme was our roles in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Discussions focused on how all stakeholders, including the politicians, private companies, governments, academics and NGOs should address the SDG targets.

What impressed me most at the conference was the transformation of society. In particular, the opinion of Mr. Masahiko Miyashita, who was there from an investment company, gave me a new perspective. He referred to an important factor in investing funds collected from various individuals and organizations. It is natural to seek profit. However, he added that accountability for an investment has also become called for from inside and outside the company, particularly regarding whether the investment is beneficial to the public and society.

In discussions on the global environment, the term ESG (Environment, Society and Governance) has become common. At this conference, both ESG and SDGs were discussed. Our society seems to be steadily changing.

Corporate Evaluation by Institutional Investors (ESG)
Nowadays, we often hear that institutional investors who manage precious funds such as company pensions put more emphasis on ESG evaluation than on profitability and growth potential. E stands for the environment; the company is involved in issues of global and regional environment. S stands for society; the company is capable of adapting to a changing society and contributing to development of the society. G stands for governance; the company is run in a disciplined manner, its employees are properly managed, and it is accountable to its stakeholders, both internal and external.

The reason why institutional investors evaluate a company based on ESG is to make sure the company can sustain itself decades into the future. A company that fails to meet ESG standards won’t gain support from society, and will be endangered due to decreased evaluation. To put it briefly, ESG is a comprehensive evaluation of the company’s sustainability.

ESG for the Sustainability of a Company; SDGs for the Sustainability of the Earth
Today, in the 21st century, a common challenge for humanity is whether our civilization is sustainable or not. Therefore, we must consider seriously how to ensure the survival of future generations over the next 100 or 200 years.
It is essential to achieve the SDGs in order to sustain our civilization, and ESG to sustain individual companies. This is where the two concepts complement with each other.

Thus, the term ESG was used repeatedly during the Water Conference for the Future, where SDGs were the topic of debate. It was a key word of the conference. In our society, private companies are the largest organizations in scale and number, employing the largest number of people. They are responsible for our livelihoods. Therefore, private companies are the most important players in society. Unless these companies become sustainable, the sustainability of human civilization cannot be achieved. This is why the JWF is striving to discuss the difficult subjects of SDGs and ESG by linking them with each other.

When I heard the phrase, “for society and for the people”, I remembered the words of Sontoku Ninomiya: “Economics without morality is a sin and morality without economics is nonsense”.
Even today in the 21st century, I am deeply impressed by this sentiment, which was expressed way back in the Edo period.


・Report from the Japan Water Forum

– Symposium: World Water Day in Tokyo 2019, Water Conference for Future

On March 8th, the JWF hosted a symposium entitled World Water Day in Tokyo 2019, Water Conference for Future
Water Conference for Future is a symposium organized by the JWF. This initiative began in 2016 in the face of a new trends in water-related policy at home and abroad such as SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the Water-Cycle Policy in Japan. It is aimed at presenting a broad long-term vision for future water action policies and contributing to the promotion of various water-related activities and innovation.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼,rep_en

(Reported by Sayoko Kuwahara, Manager)


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JWF News Vol. 173 / 20 March 2019
Japan Water Forum

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