Professor, Graduate School of Leadership and Innovation, Shizenkan University
President, Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy and Society
Founder and President, e's Inc.
This Report covers a wide range of topics including the MS&AD Insurance Group’s policies and initiatives, and, despite the vast volume of information covered, both its layout and text are reader-friendly. The process of identifying material issues and developing them into concrete measures as well as how the progress of those measures is managed is clear. In fact, the Group has reduced its carbon footprint (Scope 1 and 2) by 13.3% compared to 2009 and it has incorporated various measures to address global warming, a point I suggested last year, which attests to the Group’s commitment to steadily promote and expand sustainability initiatives. The Group is also stepping up its efforts to develop a system that facilitates effective engagement with sustainability through means such as by incorporating efforts to tackle global warming into directors’ performance-based compensation.
The Report is already a reliable one in its own right, but I would like to point out a few issues for further improvement.
In this Report, the MS&AD Insurance Group reiterates “a resilient and sustainable society” as the image of the society the Group aspires to achieve. I would suggest that the Group’s own definition and image of such a society be shared with readers. “Resilient” is still an unfamiliar term and its meaning varies depending on the person. I believe that drawing a concrete image of such a society would give the readers a clearer picture of the goals of each initiative.
Furthermore, I recommend that descriptions on the kind of world the MS&AD Insurance Group foresees and how the Group intends to respond to it be presented, for example, in the CEO Message, from a broader, long-term perspective. I understand that the Group is already working on matters “deemed as an issue in and outside Japan” and matters that “constitute social problems,” but what about risks that are yet to become a social issue? Moreover, besides global warming, I believe we need to anticipate new emerging risks in the era of AI and autonomous driving. Turning our eyes to Japan, what kind of risks would be brought about by a shrinking population and rural flight from local communities? I think it is essential for an organization committed to “identify and inform on risks” to explore potential risks, including existing but yet unrecognized risks, and the danger of such unawareness, and to report on the possible solutions to the potential risks that are under consideration.
Another point, which overlaps with my comments from last year, is that although the Report covers a wide range of initiatives taken, most of what is offered consists largely of explanations of those programs. I would suggest that data on the Group’s performance and particularly changes over the past one year and future plans based on a review of that performance be included in the main text. Particularly, rather than merely re-presenting the figures, data such as employee satisfaction, for which figures remain unchanged over the past few years, the figures should be accompanied by deeper analyses and descriptions of the subsequent actions the Group intends to take.
Lastly, it is natural that global warming accounts for the majority of the initiatives, given the nature of the Group’s business and the social requirement. However, I expect the Group to promote other global issues including water problems, biodiversity, regional revitalization, which is a pressing issue in Japan, and social impacts. As to sustainability of natural capital, the MS&AD Insurance Group has provided consultation services to customers, I would like to see the Group apply the same awareness to its own sustainability efforts too.
Furthermore, with regard to the CO2 emissions reduction target, a “70 percent reduction in 2050 from the 2009 level” was a drastic one at the time when it was devised. However, I believe that the target should become more aggressive considering developments such as the Paris Agreement, the publication of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C last autumn, and the long-term targets announced by the Japanese government last spring. On the other hand, I expect the Group to also work on energy problems, such as by joining RE100.
By evolving the exemplary disclosure that the Group already has in place, and articulating a broader perspective, the direction it will take, and each further step taken, I am sure the MS&AD Insurance Group will be able to produce an even more communicative report.
Our Response to the Third-Party Opinion on Our Sustainability Report
We sincerely appreciate your valuable opinions on the MS&AD Insurance Group Sustainable Report 2019.
In fiscal 2018, we focused on Creating Shared Value (CSV) with the SDGs referenced as leading marks in order to realize our image of society in 2030 as "a resilient and sustainable society", envisioned in our Medium-term Management Plan, Vision 2021, launched in 2018. Year after year, we are compelled to be prepared for contingencies arising from factors such as the ever intensifying natural disasters and increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Furthermore, we are faced with a multitude of risks that will emerge during the course of the drastic reforms towards realizing a sustainable society. The MS&AD Insurance Group is addressing social issues that many people hope to resolve, such as diversified/large-scale accidents and disasters, the global environment approaching the limit, mounting burden of nursing/medical care associated with aging population and a decline in social vitality due to widening inequalities, by proposing adequate measures to tackle such problems and risks.
FY 2019 will continue to see us advance our CSV initiatives and provide insurance and financial services that help to resolve these and other social issues. We highly value the opinions we receive, which we find very suggestive and important when communicating to our stakeholders about our CSV efforts to realize a “resilient and sustainable society,” the image of the society we will achieve by 2030.
As to the four themes you have raised in your advice, we will take the following steps:
First, to provide our definition and a concrete image of a “resilient and sustainable society,” the society we aspire to achieve by 2030 as outlined in our Medium-term Management Plan, Vision 2021, we will reorganize the steps toward the realization of such a society in a readily comprehensible way and provide a description of the society that is linked with our CSV efforts.
Second, to foresee the world from a broad and long-term perspective and address the forecast, we will proceed with research and study into potential risks, mainly around the four social issues, in cooperation with external institutions and will present the findings and solutions from a medium- to long-term perspective.
Third, in order to indicate our future plans based on a review of the previous year’s performance as well as changes, we will reflect on the previous year’s track record and show our vision of the future pertaining to the issues we are working on, to the extent possible.
Fourth, to advance with initiatives on global issues other than global warming, we will return to the MS&AD’s Story of Value Creation and strive to materialize it. Our story of Value Creation is stated as follows: To fulfill our aim to realize a desirable society, we will squarely face the social issues that hamper society‘s advancement and quickly identify various risks stemming from such issues and provide information on these risks. Then through a variety of products and services, we need to prevent risks from occurring or minimize the impact of those risks and to reduce the economic burden when those risks do materialize. By doing so, we help create an environment where customers can live and conduct business in a secure manner.
To support the Group’s efforts towards its Mission, to contribute to the development of a vibrant society and help secure a sound future for the planet by enabling safety and peace of mind, we will clarify what we can do and how we can contribute by proactively incorporating the opinions received and strive for disclosure that is meaningful both to stakeholders and the MS&AD Insurance Group.
Yusuke Shirai, General Manager, Corporate Planning Department
MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc.