May 29, 2021

No time to waste: financier Kato

Takatoshi Kato
Japan Center for International Finance, Senior Adviser to the President

The closing remarks to the symposium on ESG management and investment were delivered by Takatoshi Kato, an adviser to the Japan Times ESG Consortium and senior adviser to the president of the Japan Center for International Finance.

Kato recalled that when the consortium was launched four years ago, ESG was a topic that only a small group of enthusiastic experts discussed. “Nowadays, articles on ESG are published in economic media every day, and asking ESG-related questions at general shareholders meetings is not an unusual thing to do anymore,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, companies in general do not yet seem to have concrete strategies for, in particular, achieving carbon neutrality — which is only natural, because they need to have a clearer idea about topics such as “what will become of the absolute and relative prices of energy, what exactly is the carbon border tax adjustment that is being discussed by the U.S. and the European Union, and how developing countries will be dealt with at the COP26 (U.N. climate talks) to be held in November.”

However, Kato warned that there is no time to waste in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. “Japan is not a superpower like the U.S. or China. We don’t have partners like the 27 EU member countries, which work together to create a common policy that they announce as a global standard,” Kato said, stressing that the only way for Japanese companies to keep pace with the rest of the world would be to put up multiple antennas to gather information and build their own strategy.

“The symposium served as an important opportunity to review the achievements of the last four years and explore the directions for the future,” he said in his closing remarks, and expressed hope that the consortium will continue to evolve as a forum for companies to share their experiences and information on their efforts and outcomes with each other.

Click the link below to watch the interview

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