Only around 10% of Japanese companies in the UK mention any charitable donations in their annual reports, and yet according to Toyo Keizai, many of the largest Japanese companies in the UK top the rankings for contributions to corporate social responsibility, measured in Yen.*
Top of the ranking is Honda, which spent Y9.57bn ($87m) on contributing to society in 2019/20. Activities included a national robot contest and the Honda Eco Mileage Challenge – a competition to see how far a car can be driven on a liter of gasoline, as well as beach cleanups. CSR outside Japan is also included, such as Honda’s professional training course in South America, a Dream Riding Program for women in India and tree planting in Inner Mongolia.
Pharmaceutical companies have always been big corporate givers, unsurprisingly. Takeda is the second largest CSR donor in Japan, spending Y8.55bn (a significant increase on previous years) on the Takeda Science Foundation awards, research grants etc as well as volunteer activities. Third is NTT DoCoMo who have created a DoCoMo forest in 49 locations in Japan and provide scholarships for Asian students.
Other companies in the top 50 who also have substantial presence in the UK include Suntory, SECOM, MUFG, Canon, Panasonic, SoftBank, Sony, Aisin, Eisai, Komatsu, Nomura, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nissan, MS&AD, Daikin, SMFG, Mitsubishi Chemical, Fujitsu, Marubeni, Asahi Chemical, Asahi Breweries, Mitsubishi Heavy and Denso.
By contrast, the largest declared donations in money and “in kind” by Japanese companies in the UK are Toyota who donated £1.3m, Dentsu who donated £900,000 (but this might be across the global network) and Ricoh who donated £500m. None of these appear in Toyota Keizai’s rankings.
Honda of the UK donated £24,000 to charities in the UK last year as well as investing in various sustainability initiatives in education and community, safety, environment and diversity and inclusion.
Fujitsu was also a top 50 donor in the UK, along with MS Amlin (part of MS&AD), Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment, Mitsubishi Corp via its subsidiary Princes and Eisai.
As for the other big donors in Japan who don’t seem to be giving much in the UK, it’s either because they are but not reporting it, or it’s an opportunity for their employees to encourage them to contribute to UK CSR activities as well as in Japan.
*Toyo Keizai counts both direct contribution to CSR and business activities which have a social purpose.
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