Neuberger Berman East Asia Ltd., Robeco Japan Co. Ltd., Sompo Holdings Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management Co. Ltd. were the inaugural winners of an environmental, social and governance award established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The newly created Tokyo Financial Award in ESG Investing recognizes companies that are working to advance ESG investments and accepts applications from institutional investors, financial management companies, rating agencies and other financial service providers, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website.
"The award was looking at our global efforts, but, in particular, the work we do with Japanese institutions," said Jonathan Bailey, managing director and head of ESG investing at Neuberger Berman.
"We've built a number of customized solutions for large Japanese pensions funds," Mr. Bailey said, including helping funds to build low-carbon fixed-income portfolios and assess ESG factors in their private equity transactions.
Neuberger Berman is a signatory to the United Nations-sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment, and more than half of its $304 billion in assets under management use explicit ESG criteria in the investment process, a news release from the firm said.
Sumitomo's efforts have included company engagement activities related to marine pollution and the proliferation of plastic waste, and offering individual investors a solution through its Bio-Diversification Supported Fund, the firm said in a news release.
Shiro Tsubota, president and representative director of Robeco Japan, said in a statement issued on social media that the firm has been at the forefront of sustainability investing since the 1990s, and is "committed to actively introducing ESG investing solutions to the Japanese and to contributing to the achievement of a more sustainable future here in Tokyo."
The winners of the ESG award were chosen by a panel of investment professionals, academics and representatives of multinational organizations, the news release said.