Carbon intensity in Japan

We have written about renewable energy and the energy transition in Europe, the US and China.  Today we look at Japan, where multiple factors collude to result in government policies that support a slower transition towards green energy, a source of frustration for many and garnering criticism.

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The flexible future of working

The working day as we know it, in general lasting eight hours between 7am and 7pm and covering five days of the week, dates back 100 years. It has its origins in the industrial revolution, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life. At first the working day would range from 10-16 hours; the work week was six days and the use of child labour was common. A shorter working day as well as improved working conditions was raised by the International Workingmen’s Association at the Congress in Geneva in 1866, but the working week as we know it was not adopted in most countries until shortly after the first world war. There remain exceptions in developing countries and it depends on the type of work, but this structure has held for the majority of the global workforce since.

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The social risks of fast fashion

The fast fashion industry has been a significant economic success story of the last two decades, nearly doubling in size, employing 70m people worldwide and contributing 2% to global GDP. This has been driven by huge advances in supply chain management, shrinking lead times from six months to two weeks and enabling retailers to stock more choice, reduce prices and respond rapidly to consumer demand.

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Family ownership and sustainability

An inherent aspect of sustainability is about encouraging the players of a market economy to consider the long term. This is explicit in the European Commission’s Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth; one of the plan’s three aims is to ‘foster transparency and long-termism’. If all CEOs and investors were only concerned about the next few quarters, or even years, then it’s easy to understand how sustainable factors such as finite resources, climate change and diversity wouldn’t feature high on the agenda.

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The legal framework for sustainability

There is a consensus emerging that society and investors are best served by companies that focus on sustainable value creation rather than short-term profit. Many companies communicate increasingly loudly about how sustainability is core to their purpose, producing shiny brochures full of positive stories and setting targets such as the wave of 2050 carbon neutrality targets seen in recent months. However, one of the great challenges of sustainable investing is identifying the difference between company rhetoric and action.

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The shades of grey in sustainable investment

A documentary film called ‘Planet of the Humans’ was recently released online to much controversy. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it describes itself as a “full-frontal assault on our sacred cows’, arguing that renewable energy and green movements have been hijacked by the traditional form of capitalism, and that these technologies are not as good for the environment or society as we’re led to believe.

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Remote Working

For four weeks now, the majority of our firm has worked from home. Thanks to a fantastic head of IT, and significant investment in video conferencing last year, our work has continued without a blip. Each in our own homes we’re able to use our systems, securely locate files from our drives and speak to each other face to video-face whenever we need to.

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