For most Japanese companies, despite recent changes to corporate governance and the occasional scandal, the main motivation is the long term survival of the firm, not shareholder value maximisation.
Obviously you have to make some money to invest back into the company to survive, but above all longevity means being a good citizen in the environment and communities you operate in. There are some exceptions to this of course, but by and large, Japanese companies are pretty sincere about corporate social responsibility, to the point where I used to joke when I worked in corporate communications in a Japanese IT company, that if we didn’t watch out, our mission statement would be identical to every other Japanese technology company’s mission statement as it could be summarised as “contributing to society through innovation”.
So if you are looking to work for a company that will be supportive of your wish to make a positive contribution to society, then you may find Japanese companies congenial places to work.
Some are more active in CSR than others, so when Toyo Keizai has published its latest rankings by industry, we matched these to our Top 30 Europe, UK and Germany largest Japanese employers rankings and put them in rank order as below.
As Toyo Keizai points out, it is easier for manufacturers to score highly in their CSR rankings, which is why they dominate the top 50 overall, and also why Toyo Keizai publishes rankings by industry, to ensure like for like comparisons are made. Banking and financial services are not included in their analysis. Toyo Keizai explains its scoring system (in Japanese) here. It has around 150 criteria, across the categories of diversity (gender, age, disability), environment, corporate governance and social contribution.
- Fujifilm – #1 overall and #1 in pulp/paper/chemicals
- Canon #4 overall and #1 in electronics and fine engineering
- Denso #8 overall and #1 in automotive
- Ricoh #9 overall and #3 in electronics and fine engineering
- Konica Minolta #12 overall and #4 in electronics and fine engineering
- Honda #14 overall and #2 in automotive
- Nissan #17 overall and #3 in automotive
- Daiichi Sankyo #25 overall and #1 in pharmaceuticals
- Toyota #28 overall and #4 in automotive
- Fujitsu #30 overall and #9 in electronics and fine engineering
- Astellas #34 overall and #2 in pharmaceuticals
- Sumitomo Rubber 36th overall and #2 in oil/rubber/glass/ceramics
- Mitsubishi Corporation #42 overall and #1 among trading companies
- Lixil 44th overall and #1 in metal products
- Sony #45 overall and #12 in electronics and fine engineering
- Nidec #49 overall and #13 in electronics and fine engineering
- Takeda #50 overall and #4 in pharmaceuticals
- Sumitomo Electric Industries #52 overall and #2 in metal products
- Itochu #55 overall and #2 among trading companies
- Panasonic #57 overall and #15 in electronics and fine engineering
- NYK #58 overall and #1 in logistics
- Japan Tobacco 60th overall, 3rd amongst food companies
- Brother Industries #71 overall and #16 in electronics and fine engineering
- Sumitomo Corporation – #73 overall and #3 amongst trading companies
- NTT Data #75 overall and #4 in telecommunications
- Olympus #84 overall and #17 in electronics and fine engineering
- Dentsu #95 overall and #2 out of service sector companies
- Sumitomo Heavy Industries #138 overall and #11 amongst machinery companies
- Calsonic Kansei #138 overall and #18 in automotive
- Fast Retailing (Uniqlo) #531 overall and #19 out of 20 amongst retailers
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