In Focus

The Environment and Finance -- Expanding the Flow of Environmentally Conscious "Money" --

August 18, 2006

photo It is anticipated that being more conscious about how one's money is managed, in addition to participating in daily environmental conservation activities, such as COOL BIZ, can promote environmental conservation initiatives of corporations.
The Ministry of the Environment established the Round Table Conference on the Environment and Finance, and asked experts to consider the roles of corporations, financial institutions, institutional investors, and private investors/depositors. Its outcome was compiled in a report in July 2006. In addition, the Ministry held the Symposium on the Environment and Finance on August 7. With Minister of the Environment Yuriko Koike and Financial Services Minister Kaoru Yosano present, the concept of "Expanding the Flow of Environmentally Conscious 'Money'" was discussed and introduced to the general public.

1. Round Table Conference on the Environment and Finance

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Round Table Conference on the Environment and Finance

The Ministry of the Environment set up the Round Table Conference on the Environment and Finance in April 2006 to broadly examine the role of finance in preserving the environment. The Round Table with participants from the financial sector discussed, studying concrete examples, systems and promotional policies necessary for corporate social involvement (e.g. environment conservation activities by corporations) to become highly recognized, such as in the case of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI).

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Delivering the report

The report "Expanding the Flow of Environmentally Conscious 'Money'" was put together on July 10. It proposes the fusion of Japan's "Environmental Power" which consists of its world-renowned technology and the spirit of Mottainai, and "Financial Power," the personal financial assets in Japan worth more than 1.5 quadrillion yen, for the purpose of creating a money flow which is conscious of social issues, like the environment. It suggests the roles which capital investors, recipients, intermediaries, and government can play to this goal.

(Reference)
http://www.env.go.jp/council/30kinyu/gaiyo30.html (Overview in Japanese)
http://www.env.go.jp/council/30kinyu/yoshi30.html (Meeting Agenda/Materials in Japanese)

2. Symposium on the Environment and Finance

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Opening remarks by Minister of the Environment Yuriko Koike

On August 7 (Monday) at the Keidanren Hall, the Symposium on the Environment and Finance was held with sponsorship from the Project for Dissemination of Securities Knowledge*, cooperation from the Ministry of the Environment and the Japanese Bankers Association, and support from the Financial Services Agency. With Minster of the Environment Yuriko Koike and Financial Services Minister Kaoru Yosano present, private investors, corporate representatives, security industry insiders, and many others stayed throughout the symposium and listened attentively to the discussion.

(Reference)
http://www.env.go.jp/press/7352.html (in Japanese)
*Project for Dissemination of Securities Knowledge: A project that was established through joint cooperation of the Japan Securities Dealers Association, Tokyo Stock Exchange, The Investment Trusts Association, Japan, and JASDAQ Securities Exchange, Inc., to spread knowledge and enlighten the public about securities through various activities.

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Financial Services Minister Kaoru Yosano

After welcoming remarks by the promoters, Minister of the Environment Yuriko Koike touched on the current state of SRI in Japan and made an appeal for this nation to fuse "Environmental Power" and "Financial Power", and to work toward creating a healthy, rich, and beautiful environmentally-advanced country. After Minister Koike, Financial Services Minister Kaoru Yosano made an appeal for the importance of SRI and the necessity of the close collaboration of the financial and environmental administrations. Following these speeches, the "Expanding the Flow of Environmentally Conscious 'Money'" panel discussion was held with members from the financial sector, manufacturers, and experts.

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Panel discussion

During the panel discussion, the panelists had a lively exchange of opinions from the practical and technical viewpoints to connect the intention of offerers of the fund, such as depositors and investors, for protecting the environment and improving society to the actions of takers of the fund, such as businesses, through finance as lifeblood of the economy.

In particular, an energetic discussion was held with questions from the audience (e.g. from what standpoint institutional investors and financial organizations should carry out socially-responsible investments and loans, how they should select the target of the investments and loans, etc.)

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