ACE won the Special Award category for our holistic approach to the long-term elimination of child labour, including supporting the quality education of children in India and Ghana, providing income generation support to low-income families, investigating human rights violations in supply chains, and promoting corporate social responsibility.
The Japan Times’s Satoyama & ESG Awards are given to corporations, organisations and individuals who have made significant contributions to, or displayed innovation in, 'satoyama' efforts and ESG-related activities.
'Satoyama' is originally a Japanese term referring to rural mountainous areas and forests that are tended to by local residents. It has become correlated with the idea of Satoyama capitalism, which is based on adding new value to traditional Japanese customs or naturally derived resources. In other words, it is a form of capitalism that promotes the sustainable use of local resources to establish a circular economy in the region that is in line with its history and actual conditions. Satoyama values assets that cannot be bought with money, such as mountains and rivers, as well as human relationships within the local area. New value can be added to old via the use of technology, greater participation of women, and launching new businesses that promote U-turn and I-turn human resources (U-turn: those returning to their hometown for local jobs, I-turn: promoting migration from the city to the countryside).
Moving to a more familiar term, ESG stands for “environmental, social and governance" and these criteria set standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investment. These have become increasingly important in recent years, although it still far from being a mainstream measure of an organisation's track record. The environmental criteria consider the company's efforts to reduce and prevent environmental damage, social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates, and governance covers a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights. The ESG Award category considered the creation or implementation of innovative initiatives and technologies in ESG- and SDG-related fields as well as significant achievements made regardless of organisational size.
ACE won the ESG Special Award category for our holistic approach to the long-term elimination of child labour. Our programs to eliminate child labour in the cacao sector in Ghana and the cotton industry in India are based on a sustainable solution model that addresses every level of the global supply chain from the source of the raw materials to the final consumers of the product. ACE's SMILE-Ghana Project and PEACE-India Project withdraws children from hazardous labour and supports their quality education, provides income generation support to low-income families, investigates human rights violations in these supply chains, and promotes corporate social responsibility and consumer awareness in Japan.
The judges panel was made of various industry and knowledge experts including the Head of PRI Japan, Mitsuyo Morisawa, International Financial Information Center Advisor, Takatoshi Kato, Managing Director of the Industrial Growth Platform, Inc., Naoki Kimura, Chairman of the Board of Commons Investment Trust, Ken Shibusawa, Senior Researcher from the Japan Research Institute, Kosuke Motani, and Senior Advisor from the Boston Consulting Group, Naosuke Mitate.
Other winners included Mie prefecture, for optimising its ocean produce and preserving traditional fishing methods by ama female divers, and Fuji Oil Holdings, for its efforts in ESG management and working to eliminate child labour and protect the environment in its cacao supply chain through the use of satellite images. You can take a look at the other winners here: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/column/satoyama-esg-awards/