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Kenji Watanabe

Kenji Watanabe

Vice President, MSCI Research

Kenji Watanabe specializes in environmental, social and governance-related research on electrical-equipment and utilities companies. He has published articles on international environmental law in the Georgetown Environmental Law Review and in journals published by the United Nations University and Oxford University. Kenji holds an LL.M. in environmental law from the George Washington University Law School.

Research and Insights

Articles by Kenji Watanabe

    APAC's Climate Transparency Journey — Uneven Progress

    2 mins read Quick Take | May 15, 2024 | Kenji Watanabe, Siyao He

    What’s behind the varying emissions-disclosure rates across the APAC region? We assessed the individual markets to see who’s making progress and also analyzed the numbers by market capitalization.

    Unpacking COP28 Commitments to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

    Research Report | Mar 4, 2024 | Kenji Watanabe, Anthony Chan, Kuldeep Yadav, Siyao He, Sylvain Vanston

    Scaling up renewable-energy and energy-efficiency solutions are key steps in driving the transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems. Our analysis of low-carbon patents, fuel mix and renewable-energy targets may help identify where the opportunities lie. 

    EM Emissions Trading Schemes Await Wider Reporting

    2 mins read Quick Take | Dec 4, 2023 | Siyao He, Kenji Watanabe, Antonios Panagiotopoulos

    As more emerging-market countries consider launching emissions trading schemes, we examine how effective they could be in helping to track corporate emissions reduction progress and analyze the effect on country-level emissions trends. 

    Assessing Science-Based Corporate Climate Target-Setting

    Research Report | Jun 9, 2023 | Kenji Watanabe, Antonios Panagiotopoulos, Siyao He

    Companies are increasingly setting climate targets, but who’s keeping an eye on them? Using key indicators recommended by SBTi and GFANZ, we present a framework to assess whether firms are taking the necessary steps to achieve their targets.

    EU Taxonomy: Is There Sustainable Gas-Fired Power Generation?

    5 mins read Blog | May 31, 2023 | Hanna Trueb, Kenji Watanabe

    Just how much impact will the inclusion of gas in the EU Taxonomy have on the reported-level of EU Taxonomy-aligned revenue in portfolios? Gaps in company disclosures and the stringency of requirements suggests it could be minimal.

    The Road to Science-Based Corporate Net-Zero Target Setting

    Research Report | Sep 23, 2022 | Kenji Watanabe

    What challenges do companies face in setting science-based net-zero targets under the SBTi corporate net-zero standard? This information also could help institutional investors mitigate portfolio exposure to carbon risks.

    SEC Climate Disclosure: Targeting Standardization

    5 mins read Blog | May 17, 2022 | Antonios Panagiotopoulos, Kenji Watanabe

    The SEC has proposed new requirements for U.S.-listed companies to disclose information on climate-related risks. We believe the framework may represent an opportunity to facilitate the transparency and standardization of climate-related goals.

    Which Scope 3 Emissions Will the SEC Deem ‘Material’?

    6 mins read Blog | Apr 28, 2022 | Kenji Watanabe, Umar Ashfaq

    The SEC’s climate-disclosure proposals did not set a “materiality threshold” for Scope 3 emissions, and the commission is considering either quantitative analysis for a uniform approach or letting companies determine materiality. How might each affect transparency?

    Companies May Not Be Ready for SEC Climate-Disclosure Rules

    5 mins read Blog | Mar 29, 2022 | Chris Cote, Kenji Watanabe

    The SEC proposed requirements for U.S. companies to disclose certain climate-related risks, beginning in 2024. To assess whether companies are prepared to meet these requirements, we looked at the emission-disclosure rates of a large sample of U.S. equities.

    Breaking Down Corporate Net-Zero Climate Targets

    Research Report | May 24, 2021 | Kenji Watanabe, Antonios Panagiotopoulos

    Companies are increasingly setting “net-zero” climate targets. In this guide, we offer an analytical framework to assess decarbonization targets, including net-zero targets. We find that it is not always easy to make valid comparisons.

    Assessing Japanese Companies Alignment with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

    Research Report | Jan 3, 2018 | Kenji Watanabe

    The process of achieving the UN SDGs is estimated to unlock a USD 12 trillion of market opportunities by 2030. Are private sector firms aligning their business models with the SDG themes? Despite a higher revenue exposure to the SDG related solutions relative to global peers, most Japanese firms may have not set the framework to tap the profit potentials of the themes. The downward trend in R&D per sales among the firms with climate change solutions and the limited revenues derived from...

    Measuring the Sustainability of Abenomics

    Research Report | Sep 8, 2016 | Minako Takaba, Hart Oh, Yukie Shibano, Kenji Watanabe

    Are Improved Returns for Japanese Companies Smoke and Mirrors? Following decades of recession and slow growth, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced a revitalization plan – dubbed Abenomics – in 2012 to address the key barriers of economic growth. In particular, the third “arrow” of Abenomics, the growth strategy, focused on a series of government‐driven initiatives impacting corporations and capital markets. Among them was the establishment of Japan’s Stewardship Code and Corporate...

    Nuclear Restart Plan Implications for Japanese Electric Utilities

    Research Report | Apr 22, 2016 | Kenji Watanabe

    Kansai, Hokuriku, and Kyushu, three companies with ambitious nuclear restart plans (64%, 69% and 79% of installed nuclear capacity), recorded higher than average radioactive waste intensities per unit of power generated, suggesting they may be more exposed to risks of future costs and unforeseen liabilities from radioactive waste leakages. Further, Kansai and Kyushu had the weakest cash flow to CAPEX ratios among the peer group (-22% and 17% in FY2010-14) – suggesting less buffer against...