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Nikkei BP Eco-brand Survey 2018
Suntory Tops the List for Two Straight Years
Aeon Comes in Third Place

Tokyo-July 6, 2018 - Nikkei Business Publications (President & CEO: Suguru Niinomi; Minato-ku, Tokyo) released the results of its Eco-brand Survey 2018. This 19th annual survey conducted by Nikkei ESG Management Forum covers 560 major corporate brands in Japan. The survey analyzes information gathered through online questionnaires and measures how consumers are viewing and responding to the environment-related activities of the target corporations. This year's questionnaire survey was conducted between March 14 and April 22, 2018; effective responses were received from 21,000 consumers throughout Japan. Major findings of the survey are as below.

Suntory won the first place for two consecutive years in the overall ranking and topped the list for the seventh time in total. Regarding the eco-brand score, Suntory had 99.6 and the runner-up Toyota got 98.7, proving that the top two companies stand out from others in the third place and below. The eco-brand scores of companies in the third to fifth places all stayed in the range of 80, while Aeon leading one step ahead of the other two by displacing the last year’s third-place Panasonic and raising the rank from the last year’s 7th place. Other outstanding performers in top ten include Asahi Soft Drinks leaping from the 25th to the 8th place this year, and Cosmo Oil going up the ladder from the previous 23rd place to the 10th.

Suntory launched the “Forest of Natural Water” initiative in 2003 and since then, a total of some 7,000 employees participated in the workshops to protect forests of water resources to understand the importance of securing water and disseminating the message to the public. Their "Water Education" program, offered for elementary school students for more than 10 years, has been expanded to invite participation from Suntory’s factory tour visitors since last year. The survey results show that Suntory has been successful for communicating the “multi-perspective” message on why they value water while expanding the points of contact with consumers. In terms of top management commitment, the company’s President & CEO Takeshi Niinami has signed the “The CEO Water Mandate”, the international initiative on water resource conservation.

The evaluation of the third-place winner Aeon seems to be influenced by announcing a series of large-scale ESG investment over the last two years. In last October, the company set the goal to reduce the amount of food waste by half by 2025. In this March, the company also unveiled "Aeon Decarbonization Vision 2050" incorporating the goal of achieving zero CO2 emissions from the Group’s stores and offices by 2050. Asahi Soft Drinks announced the introduction of plastic bottle cap weighing approximately 7 to 10% lighter than conventional caps for carbonated drinks in this January. The company also released its first printed brand label-less bottle for mineral water in this April to accelerate environmental consideration for plastic bottles. Cosmo Oil was ranked third in the category of "making efforts to prevent global warming" and came back to the top ten ranking for the first time in three years.

Environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors are used more frequently as indicators to evaluate corporate sustainability. In this survey, we asked the respondents how they view each company’s efforts in the “social and governance” area and calculated the scores to compile the “SG perception ranking” following the last year’s survey. A higher SG score means a company is perceived as making greater efforts in social issues and governance.

According to the results, Toyota Motor came in first, Panasonic second and Suntory third. These three companies are regular names on the Eco-brand survey and listed on the top ranking for this year as well. The scores were 112.6, 92.2 and 91.0 for Toyota, Panasonic and Suntory, respectively. The top-ranked Toyota showed its outstanding strength by getting more than 20 points than the second-place Panasonic. Panasonic led over Suntory by a fraction of points and went up the ladder from the last year’s third place to the second this year.

The eye catcher in the SG ranking was McDonald's Japan which came in 10th place by making a leap from the 27th last year. The company’s efforts in creating a workplace that is friendly for everyone including women and the elderly is considered to be a driving force behind this performance. The hamburger shops operated by the company allow part-time workers to freely choose their working hours and days. Workers will submit a work schedule according to their convenience every week so that they can even work for two hours a week. McDonald's plans to increase recruitment of store staff as the foundation for business continuing to grow in the future and emphasizes on attracting the potential labor force including housewives.

The ranking of desirable companies to work was newly introduced for this year’s survey, which asked the respondents "Do you want to work for this company?” and “Do you want to recommend your family members to work for this company?” Suntory came in first, followed by Panasonic in second and Lion in third. Lion gathered media attention in this spring for allowing their fixed-term factory workers to switch contracts to permanent status if they wish, and raising the initial salary for new university graduate employees by some 6% for the first time in nine years. Many people also sympathize with the company’s TV commercial that has been aired since 2014.

Details of the Eco-brand ranking and SG perception ranking are featured in the special article "Eco-brand Survey 2018" (pages 38-53) in the August 2018 issue of Nikkei ESG (published on July 8).

Eco-brand Survey 2018: Overall ranking (Top 20 companies)

Rank Corporate Brand Score
1 Suntory 99.6
2 Toyota Motor 98.7
3 Aeon 85.8
4 Panasonic 83.7
5 Nissan Motor 82.7
6 Kirin 76.6
7 Asahi Breweries 75
8 Asahi Soft Drinks 74.2
8 Honda 742.
10 Cosmo Oil 73.7
11 Mazda 73.4
12 Coca-Cola (Japan) 72.9
13 Kao 72.2
14 Hitachi 71.7
15 McDonald’s Japan 70.5
16 Lion 70.3
17 Sapporo Breweries 69.6
18 Nisshin Foods 69.5
19 Kagome 69.3
20 Seven-Eleven Japan 69
20 TOTO 69

The Eco-brand scores above are determined by aggregating four metrics, which strongly influence corporate brand perceptions: Consumer exposure to the company's environmental information; environment-related communication, such as environmental reports and media coverage; respondent descriptions of the company's image in relation to the environment; and respondent evaluations of the company's environment-related activities. The scores are expressed by deviation value (average 50) to show the position among all company brands.

Corporations that ranked high on positive descriptors (Eco-brand)

Making efforts to reduce energy consumption
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Toyota Motor 27.6
2 Nissan Motor 21.6
3 Panasonic 19
4 Daikin Industries 16.5
5 Honda 16.1
6 Mazda 15.5
7 East Japan Railway (JR East) 14.4
8 Hitachi 14
9 Mitsubishi Motors 13.1
10 Sharp 13
Making efforts to recycle resources
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Fast Retailing 19.7
2 Aeon 18.9
3 Suntory 18
4 Coca-Cola Japan 16.1
5 Seiko Epson(EPSON) 14.8
6 Kirin 14.2
7 Asahi Breweries 12.4
8 Ito En 11.6
9 Canon 11.4
10 Asahi Beer 10.8
10 Panasonic 10.8
Making efforts to prevent global warming
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Toyota Motor 22.1
2 Nissan Motor 18.7
3 Cosmo Oil 14.9
4 Suntory 13.4
5 Mazda 13.2
6 Panasonic 12.7
7 JXTG Energy (ENEOS) 12.2
7 Tokyo Gas 12.2
9 Sumitomo Forestry 11.2
9 Honda 11.2
Making efforts to reduce industrial waste
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Suntory 8.5
2 Seiko Epson (EPSON) 7.7
2 Seven-Eleven Japan 7.7
4 Aeon 7.3
4 Family Mart 7.3
6 McDonald’s Japan 6.7
7 Asahi Breweries 6.3
7 Kirin 6.3
7 Lion 6.3
10 Nisshin Foods 6.2
Making efforts to preserve biodiversity and animal/plant resources
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Suntory 13.5
2 Kagome 7.1
3 Maruha Nichiro 5.8
4 Asahi Soft Drinks 5.6
5 Sumitomo Forestry 4.9
6 Kirin 4.7
7 Kyowa Hakko Kirin 4.3
8 Asahi Breweries 4.2
8 Oji Paper 4.2
10 Aeon 4
10 Sapporo Breweries 4
Making efforts to educate employees about environmental issues
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Oriental Land 7.8
2 Suntory 6.2
3 Starbucks Coffee Japan 5.5
4 Toyota Motor 5.1
4 McDonald’s Japan 5.1
6 Hitachi 4.5
7 Aeon 4.4
8 Yamato Transport 4.3
9 Fast Retailing 4
10 Benesse 3.9
10 Ryohin Keikaku 3.9

Toyota Motor came in first among companies viewed as “making efforts to reduce energy consumption.” Fast Retailing, which has a program to collect and recycle used clothes, was ranked top for the category of “making efforts to recycle resources”, and Toyota Motor was ranked first for “making efforts to prevent global warming.” Among companies viewed as “making efforts to reduce industrial waste”, Suntory topped the list. Suntory, promoting the conservation of forests to secure water, also came in first for “making efforts to preserve biodiversity and plant/animal resources.” For the category of “making efforts to educate employees about environmental issues”, Oriental Land came in first for keeping clean environments of their amusement parks.

SG perception ranking (Top 20)

Rank Corporate Brand Score
1 Toyota Motor 112.6
2 Panasonic 92.2
3 Suntory 91
4 Shiseido 83.6
5 Google 82.7
6 Honda 82.3
7 Kao 81.8
8 Sony 80
9 Aeon 79.9
10 McDonald’s Japan 79.6
11 Apple 78
12 All Nippon Airways (ANA) 77.7
13 Hitachi 77.1
14 Ajinomoto 75.7
15 Starbucks Coffee Japan 75.4
16 Yakult Honsha 74.7
17 Oriental Land 72.8
17 Nisshin Foods 72.8
17 Japan Airlines (JAL) 72.8
20 Kirin 72.5

SG perception was included in the survey for the second time from last year. Respondents were asked regarding their views of 560 brands' efforts in “social issues” and “governance”, with responses to 12 positive categories and seven negative categories collected to determine a company's score in SG perception.

SG perception top-ranked companies

Promoting “Workstyle Reform”
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Yamato Transport 11.9
2 Toyota Motor 9.1
3 Sagawa Express 8.4
4 Google 7.7
5 Panasonic 7.6
6 ITOCHU 6.5
7 Shiseido 5.8
8 Yahoo 5.7
9 Aeon 5.6
10 Nissan Motor 5.4
Promoting employee health friendly management
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Yamato Transport 7.3
2 Toyota Motor 6.2
3 Sagawa Express 5.2
4 Yakult Honsha 4.9
5 Google 4.3
6 Sony 4.1
7 Shiseido 4
7 Mazda 4
9 Oriental Land 3.9
10 Kirin 3.7
10 Panasonic 3.7
Promoting female employment /assigning female employees to managerial positions
Rank Corporate Brand %
1 Shiseido 16.5
2 Wacoal 13.2
3 POLA 11
4 Yakult Honsha 10.1
5 All Nippon Airways (ANA) 8.3
6 Benesse 7.9
7 McDonald’s Japan 7.8
8 Nippon Life 7.7
9 Takashimaya 7.4
10 Unicharm 7.3

Yamato Transport was ranked first for both categories of "promoting Workstyle Reform" and “promoting employee health-friendly management", followed by Toyota coming in second and Sagawa Express in third. Shiseido topped the list of "promoting female employment / assigning female employees to managerial positions."

Desirable Companies to Work (Top 20)

Rank Corporate Brand
“Desirable companies to work”
Score (deviation value)
1 Suntory 80.2
2 Panasonic 78.9
3 Lion 75.0
4 Kao 74.6
4 Google 74.6
6 SONY 74.4
7 Ajinomoto 73.4
8 Nisshin Foods 73.3
9 All Nippon Airways(ANA) 72.5
9 Toyota Motor 72.5
11 Fuji Film 72.3
12 Shiseido 71.9
13 Japan Airlines (JAL) 70.6
14 Toray 70.4
15 Calpis 70.1
16 Asahi Breweries 69.9
17 Kirin 69.8
18 TOTO 69.6
19 Canon 69.1
20 Otsuka Pharmaceutical 69.0
20 Hitachi 69.0

Desirable companies to work were added as a new category from this year’s survey. Respondents were asked if they want to work for each company or want to recommend their family members to work for each company.

About Nikkei ESG Management Forum

Nikkei BP works as the Secretariat for this forum established in April 2018 to promote understanding on ESG management in society and industries. Together with its approximately 130 member corporations and organizations, ESG Management Forum organizes activities on research, surveys, information collection and dissemination regarding ESG management issues.

Visit the website of Nikkei ESG Management Forum (in Japanese) at:
http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/ESG/

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