Corporate Value Gains Through Behavior Change Services

23 June 2023

Japanese version: 1 May 2023

Tomoko Taguchi
Regional Innovation Division


  • Reward points motivate new activity and behavior change
  • Enhancing corporate value hinges on stakeholder action
  • Actfulness is a great catalyst for co-creation overcoming the limits of what businesses can achieve on their own

Actfulness key to fostering wellbeing

As we get back to ordinary reality with the passing of the covid pandemic, many are wondering what needs to be done to foster wellbeing in a manner consistent with new personal values and needs. We believe measures embodying our actfulness concept—i.e., ones that create opportunities for people to get active—are key*.

Undertaking initiatives that put actfulness into practice gives businesses ways to substantially encourage personal wellbeing in a manner that ultimately enhances their own corporate value.

To provide an example, let's take a look at an action program run by multiple businesses in Tokyo's Otemachi, Marunouchi, and Yurakucho neighborhoods, known collectively as the Daimaruyu area. Called Daimaruyu SDGs ACT5 ("ACT5"), the program is a collaborative SDG-oriented effort that aims to induce behavior changes favorable to advancing SDGs.

Quantitative assessment shows that ACT5 contributes to achieving SDGs

ACT5 features a smartphone app as its backbone and quantifies behavioral changes conducive to achieving SDGs (see figure). In 2022, the program’s third year, its partnership encompassed 84 businesses and organizations in and beyond the Daimaruyu area, and over 2,500 people used the app.

The program has two distinguishing features.

The first is its foundation—how it pools the capital, personnel, and know-how of multiple businesses in and around the Daimaruyu area, where some 4,300 businesses are located and some 280,000 people come to work. This makes it possible for ACT5 to pursue a broad range of themes and initiatives that individual businesses would have trouble pulling off on their own.

The second is that ACT5 rewards participating consumers (“members”) with tradable points when they engage in desired behaviors, like attending SDG seminars or recycling resources.

Specifically, members download an app onto their smartphones and then every time they engage in an SDG-oriented behavior at a ACT5-partner shop or location in the area, they earn ACT5 Member Points that can be exchanged for sustainability-friendly benefits or donations to charities. Data accumulated via app use enables the quantitative assessment of behavior change. These insights help partners enhance their corporate value.
[Figure] Conceptual path from SDG-conducive measure to enhanced corporate value via behavior change
Conceptual path from SDG-conducive measure to enhanced corporate value via behavior change
Source: Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.

Reward points motivate new activity

We have confirmed through the program that awarding SDG points* is effective in prompting behavior change. In a 2022 survey of app users, 60 percent cited the reward points as a motivating factor in their joining ACT5, while some 87 percent credited actions they took as a result of using the app with prompting them to adopt new or increase SDG-aware actions and behaviors.

Even the Charity Walking initiative, which awards points and makes an equivalent monetary donation to charities whenever a user walks 8,000 steps in a day, saw a 60 percent year-on-year jump in users achieving the target after the donation feature was added. This illustrates the effectiveness of reward points as an incentive and initiatives' potential for nudging people into changing their behavior by fostering positive awareness of SDGs.

In another initiative, members who attended seminar events initially because they were after the SDG points, started actually getting involved in garment collections on learning about the garment-waste issue in developing countries. Positive chains of desired behaviors set in motion by a single action like this one are indeed the greatest reward of actfulness.

*Reward points awarded when a program member contributes to an activity conductive to achieving an SDG. See our 28 April 2021 news release:
"MRI participates in proof-of-concept trial of SDG action promotion program using reward-point app in Daimaruyu area" (in Japanese)

27 April 2022 MRI news release:
"MRI to continue providing SDG-promoting reward-point app to Daimaruyu SDGs ACT5" (in Japanese)

"Daimaruyu SDGs ACT5 Action Report 2022." Daimaruyu SDGs ACT5 Steering Committee, 7 March 2023

Discerning whether behavior change helps enhance corporate value

In addition to widening the circle of people engaged in SDG-furthering activities, such chains of desirable behavior also help make the time users spend in Daimaruyu more fun and worthwhile—one kind of new value partnering businesses want to create.

But that’s not all: there are more direct benefits, too. One is when issuing reward points enhances consumer awareness of a store and strengthens its brand, leading to greater opportunities to grow revenue as more and more people stop by.

Another noteworthy development is confirmation of an inner-branding effect among partnering businesses. Most have said that their ACT5 involvement deepened employees’ appreciation of SDGs and that many took an interest in social issues in domains they previously had nothing to do with. On analysis, this can be construed as an outcome of employees’ drawing inspiration from other businesses’ SDG engagement that they learned of through ACT5. This is how the program helps enhance employee value through their greater awareness of social issues.

In light of experiences gained with these real-world instantiations of actfulness, it is obvious that, when businesses decide to offer services embodying the concept, they must think deeply about the what opportunities for activity they want to provide and how their initiatives will translate into benefits for themselves.

A caveat here is that there are limits to the scope and sustainability of services single businesses can offer on their own, and that’s where project-based co-creational comes in. As an active ACT5 partner, MRI has provided the SDG point platform for the project. Moving forward we are committed to engaging in the societal implementation of services designed to get people active outside the home and prompt behavior change.

Author profile


Tomoko Taguchi

Regional Innovation Division

Joined MRI in 2014. Supported national and municipal governments’ survey-research and policy-development in the regional revival domain. Seconded to Mitsubishi Estate for three years from 2018, where she was involved in developing ideas for new projects leveraging the density of businesses and people in the Daimaruyu area, beginning with the Daimaruyu SDGs ACT5 program. Since returning from secondment she has been involved in projects for advancing local digital transformation and addressing societal issues.