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Mainstreaming the SDGs in Business: Actions by Companies and Organisations in Japan

Author: 
Tsuneo
OBA
Kunihiko
YOKOISHI
Hiroshi
SATO
Asami
KOKUFUDA
2019-07

This latest report, “Mainstreaming the SDGs in Business: Actions by Companies and Organisations in Japan”, includes the results of the 2018 survey as well as a survey specifically focused on diversity management, which is closely linked to SDG5 (gender equality and women's empowerment), SDG8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG10 (reduced inequalities)*. The survey on diversity management was conducted with the cooperation of the WE EMPOWER programme, which is supported by the European Union, UN Women and the ILO. Main findings of this report are seen as follows.

- The results of the 2018 survey showed that GCNJ members have been making progress in integrating the SDGs into their core business. For example, the level of recognition of the SDGs among top management rose 23 percentage points (from 36% to 59%) in just one year. The level of progress on the five steps of the SDG Compass showed that Step 1, “Understanding the SDGs”, decreased from 54% in 2016 to 31% in 2018, which can be interpreted as an indication that many GCNJ members have entered the implementation phase.
- With regard to hot topics related to the SDGs, diversity management and women’s advancement** were addressed by most GCNJ members. This was followed by CSR procurement and SDGs reporting.
- A key challenge in promoting diversity management in Japan is the promotion of gender equality. Efforts to promote gender equality by surveyed companies were mainly conducted in the workplace, and were mostly supported by the country's legal system and corporate compliance. On the other hand, challenges were still evident in the operation of internal systems (parental leave taken by fathers, etc.), awareness of unconscious bias, and efforts beyond the workplace such as in markets and communities where companies operate.
- Front runner companies have positioned "women’s advancement" as "part of the promotion of diversity for innovation", and promoted diversity management through work-style reforms not only for women, but also for men. In addition, such companies have been making efforts to take the strengths of diverse human resources, such as foreign nationals and people with disabilities, and link them to innovation.

The appendices of the report contain a number of interviews with CEOs and executives talking about SDGs.

* This is the English translated version of the Japanese Report published in February 2019.
https://pub.iges.or.jp/pub/Mainstreaming_the_SDGs_in_Business
http://www.ungcjn.org/sdgs/pdf/elements_file_3606.pdf
** In Japan, the term "women’s advancement" is used in a broad sense, such as "women’s empowerment " and "efforts to promote gender equality in companies".

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