A business case for sustainability in Asia

24 March 2021

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for Asia. The following two articles highlight the opportunities that sustainability creates in the region, as well as risks that companies have to face if they fall behind on the trend.  

Sustainability in packaging: Consumer views in emerging Asia

Driven by the economic boom in emerging Asia, the global packaging industry has seen steady growth over the past decade. Increased use of packaging, however, has been accompanied by a growing ecological burden. A recent survey studying consumers‘ view on sustainability in packaging suggests that the respondents from emerging Asia: China, India, and Indonesia, demonstrate the most concern globally as well as most willingness to pay for sustainable packaging. The increase in concern is driven by Gen Xers, followed by Gen Zers and millenials, and baby boomers. The survey also indicates that sustainable packaging for food-related products is considered most important, while fully recyclable or compostable plastic films and paper-based packaging are seen as most sustainable solutions.

Overall, packaging firms that consider entering the region, should pay attention to three elements. First, there are multiple differences between the countries, suggesting one-size-fits-all solution is unlikely to succeed. Second, firms are encouraged to act sooner rather than later and take an incremental approach, where priority is given to easy-to-accomplish actions, e.g. removing unnecessary use of packaging. Third, it is vital to communicate the sustainability narratives through packaging to translate innovation into better performance.

Read the full article on the McKinsey website

Charting a path from the shuchu kiyaku to ESG for Japanese companies

Centuries-old Japanese code of ethics state that commercial activity should be carried out for the benefit of both a business and society. Yet it is apparent that, today, Japanese companies are falling behind in the global trend of embedding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in the strategic and operational decisions. Companies that fail to meet ESG expectations not only risk eroding long-term corporate value, but also miss out on global investment opportunities, as investors increasingly apply ESG lines to their investment decisions.

Recent research suggests that Japan has the opportunity to create greater value across all aspects of ESG. While Japanese companies do relatively well on the environmental front, more attention could be given to employees‘ well-being and talent management, as well as corporate governance practices. To reap the full value of ESG, business leaders are recommended to be (1) clear and concise around the goals, (2) practical with progress measurement, and (3) realistic about the risks of ignoring ESG.

Read the full article on the McKinsey website

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