In October 2022, JPX Market Innovation & Research launched a new website, in collaboration with Datazora, that aims to reduce the information gathering burden for investors by providing links to ESG information disclosed by Tokyo Stock Exchange listed companies in one place. This article explains the contents of the website as well as the strategy behind it and what JPX is considering for the future.
In June 2021, the Japanese Financial Services Agency's Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance published its recommendations for how the financial industry can contribute to the Japanese government's net zero target. One of the main three areas of recommendation was corporate ESG disclosure. The Panel stated that companies should be encouraged to enhance ESG disclosure, noting that investors are only able to incorporate ESG factors in investment decisions when they have sufficient information disclosure from companies. As the main stock exchange operator in the country, Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) has long recognized the importance of encouraging ESG information disclosure from its listed companies to improve medium- to long-term corporate value, and has been acting on this for several years through the provision of guidance documents, seminars, and other information.
One issue that is repeatedly brought up, however, is the lack of a consolidated platform where investors or other stakeholders can access listed companies' ESG information in one place. In the fixed income space, JPX has been working to tackle this same issue through the launch of the ESG Bond Information Platform in June 2022, and discussions are ongoing as to possible future expansion of the platform. Besides this, though, JPX has been looking into possible ways of making listed companies' ESG information more conveniently accessible for those who need it.
As a result of this research, in October 2022, JPX's subsidiary JPX Market Innovation & Research, Inc. (JPXI) launched the beta version of a new website called "JPX Listed Company ESG Information WEB" (only available in Japanese) in collaboration with Datazora Co., Ltd., a company that provides services collecting a wide range of data on listed companies and disseminating these to market users. Using Datazora's technology, the website collects ESG information disclosed by Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) listed companies on their websites and provides a list of links to each page along with the date of disclosure, the headline, and some other details. The collected information includes ESG-related news from the news list on each company's website, as well as reports containing ESG information such as integrated reports, sustainability reports, environmental reports, and CSR reports.
While Datazora usually provides its services for a fee, a certain amount of data (disclosure from the past 90 days, maximum 200 items) on TSE-listed companies is being provided without charge and accessible to anyone through the ESG Information WEB. The data can also be refined by market segment and type of report, and searches can be made for particular companies or topics. Since the links are collected by Datazora, JPXI hopes that this will allow listed companies to communicate their ESG information to a wider range of investors and other stakeholders without increasing their workload. At the same time, it hopes that this will make each company's website more accessible and lessen the burden of information gathering for those using the information.
Screenshot of JPX Listed Company ESG Information WEB
JPXI has launched a beta version of the website first so that it can gather feedback from listed companies, investors, and other market players regarding the website's usefulness. So far issues raised have included enhancing the search and refinement functions and the potential for gathering and providing information in English. JPXI will take all the feedback received into account and is now discussing next steps for the development of the portal along with Datazora.
While JPXI hopes that the information provided for free via the ESG Information Web will go a long way to helping investors gather the information they need for investment decisions, for those that need prompt and automatic provision of this kind of information, Datazora also offers a number of paid services which disseminate ESG-related and other IR information from TSE-listed companies. Please see the link below for more information.
The ESG Information WEB is one big leap towards a consolidated platform for listed company ESG information, but issues still remain. One common point made by investors is that even with links to each company's disclosure in one place, they still require time and resources to trawl through each PDF or webpage to find the relevant data. JPXI would like to look into how this issue could be tackled, along with developing the ESG Information WEB.
From a wider corporate disclosure perspective, JPX is also continuing its work to encourage enhanced disclosure based on TCFD, which was another of the Panel's recommendations. As well as posting updated information about TCFD's more recent guidance and other updates on the JPX ESG Knowledge Hub, JPX plans to update its Survey of TCFD Disclosure in Japan, which was first published in November 2021, in the near future.
JPX and JPXI will continue to work to support disclosure of ESG information by companies and that information's accessibility to investors and other stakeholders.
For more information on JPX Listed Company ESG Information WEB (beta version) and related services, please see the below page: