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The Japan Times Satoyama and ESG consortiums have selected Obata Sake Brewery in the satoyama category and Fuji Oil Holdings Inc. in the ESG category as the Grand Prize winners of The Japan Times Satoyama & ESG Awards 2020.

In its second year, the awards are given to companies, organizations and individuals who have made notable achievements in satoyama and ESG-related activities. The awards aim to showcase the successful undertakings of those recipients in and outside Japan.

ESG stands for “environmental, social and governance.” These factors are increasingly considered essential for corporate management and activities as investors place more importance on this nonfinancial information.

“Satoyama” refers to rural mountains and forests tended by residents for the sustainable use of existing natural resources.

“Through these awards, we hope to introduce Japanese organizations that are not necessarily well known in the world and are trying to create a sustainable society,” said Minako Suematsu, president of The Japan Times, who heads the two consortiums.

In the satoyama category, Fisherman Japan and the city of Toyooka in Hyogo Prefecture received the Excellence Award. Mie Prefecture was presented with the Special Award.

Obata Sake Brewery, based on Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture and headed by Rumiko Obata, has contributed to community development by producing special sake rice and sake in its brewery for some 130 years. It also turned a closed elementary school into a sake brewery in 2014, where it now offers sake production lessons and workshops.

Fisherman Japan is actively making connections between the fishery industry and consumers, helping to brand new fishery products. They also offer training programs for future fishermen. Their work is based on three principles: “Be cool, successful and innovative.”

Toyooka, led by Mayor Muneharu Nakagai, worked hard to successfully revive the natural stork population while also promoting art-related events and education by setting up an art university and center. Mie Prefecture won the accolade for utilizing its rich ocean produce and preserving traditional fishing methods by ama female divers.

In this category, judges were Kosuke Motani, chief senior economist at the Japan Research Institute Ltd. and Takashi Mitachi, senior adviser of Boston Consulting Group K.K.

In the ESG field, Fuji Oil won the top prize for its efforts in ESG management and working to eliminate child labor at cacao farms by 2030. It also uses satellite images to prevent child labor and to protect the environment.

The Excellence Award winners were Suntory Holdings Ltd. and Shizen Energy Group. Suntory promotes energy saving and the recycling of pet bottles. Their two plants in Japan had also received certification from the Alliance for Water Stewardship, which confirms that it has met the global benchmark for sustainable water management.

Shizen Energy Group has helped local communities build renewable energy power plants and engaged in many overseas projects to generate power by natural energy.

Nonprofit organization ACE was presented with the Special Award. The organization supports low-income families and education for their children in India and Ghana, and researches human rights violations, as well as corporate social responsibility.

Mitsuyo Morisawa, Japan head of Principles for Responsible Investment; Takatoshi Kato, adviser of the Japan Center for International Finance; Naonori Kimura, partner and managing director at Industrial Growth Platform Inc.; and Ken Shibusawa, chairman of Commons Asset Management Inc., selected the ESG awards winners.

For the past articles from both consortiums, see https://www.japantimes.co.jp/satoyama-consortium/ and https://www.japantimes.co.jp/esg-consortium/.

Satoyama: Grand Prize winner

NAME: OBATA SAKE BREWERY


Satoyama: Excellence Award winner

NAME: FISHERMAN JAPAN


Satoyama: Excellence Award winner

NAME: TOYOOKA CITY


Satoyama: Special Award winner

NAME: MIE PREFECTURE


ESG: Grand Prize winner

NAME: FUJI OIL HOLDINGS INC.


ESG: Excellence Award winner

NAME: SUNTORY HOLDINGS LTD.


ESG: Excellence Award winner

NAME: SHIZEN ENERGY GROUP


ESG: Special Award winner

NAME: ACE

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