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Report on 10th SDGs Seminar: SDGs and ESG in the Age of Wind – Perspectives from an International Cooperation Consultant


For the 10th SDGs Seminar held on January 18, 2021, titled “SDGs and ESG in the Age of Wind – Perspectives from an International Cooperation Consultant,” Junko Kikuchi, a development consultant at Nippon Koei Co., Ltd., was invited to talk about how private-sector companies can contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ms. Kikuchi (right)

Although globalization is advancing, a tendency for countries to place their own interests first can also be seen around the world. Meanwhile, economic disparities continue to widen, and environmental problems and natural disasters are having an impact on our day-to-day lives. Amid these trends, more people are setting their sights on a sustainable world, and private companies and civil society are contributing to solutions to domestic and international problems that until now have only been addressed by governments and international organizations. Moreover, these private-sector efforts are becoming essential.

In Southeast Asia, where Ms. Kikuchi is currently engaged in a number of projects, it seems that even if plans are made for achieving the SDGs, often they cannot be implemented because sources of revenue are lacking. Since the 17 goals set out in the SDGs are interrelated, rather than companies, organizations, or countries addressing them alone, there is also a need to form networks for cooperation. Thus I felt that there is huge worldwide demand to achieve the SDGs, but rather than “supporting” developing countries, developed countries need to regard them as equal players living on the same Earth and facing the same problems, and make efforts based on an attitude of working together towards shared goals.

Scene from the seminar (Q&A session)

In addition, I was able to learn more about specific methods used for private companies’ SDG initiatives, which have become crucial. In recent years consumers have started keeping a sharper eye on companies, which can improve their customer ratings and customer satisfaction and avert risks by publicizing their SDG initiatives. This leads to such companies being chosen by ESG investors and civil society. Being able to contribute to achievement of the SDGs in profitable ways is very important, since it makes corporate initiatives sustainable and creates win-win relationships. I also felt that as a consumer, I will now pay closer attention to corporate SDG initiatives.

The lecture also touched upon future issues and the need for government-industry- academia-finance collaboration, and I gained a sense that I need to continue thinking about the SDGs as a stakeholder.

(Rio Tomiyama, second-year student, Global Studies for Inter-Cultural Cooperation,
Department of Languages and Culture, Faculty of Letters and Education)

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