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Voluntary approaches toward a low carbon society by the business community

The Commitment to a Low Carbon Society/Contribution to CO2 Emissions Reduction through the Global Value Chain


The Japanese business community has been wrestling with climate change issues to reduce CO2 emissions through two types of voluntary approaches by the business community: [i] The Commitment to a Low Carbon Society, [ii] Contribution to CO2 emissions reduction through the global value chain.

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The Commitment to a Low Carbon Society

The Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN*1) and 115 industry organizations*2 have been steadily working on measures to address global warming to achieve a low carbon society, stipulating targets for reducing CO2 emissions, etc.

After the Plan was completed in 2012, the Commitment to a Low-carbon Society Plan was developed.
This Commitment marks a further step by industry in Japan and steady efforts have been made every year based on this plan.
Through the Council, the government has been conducting numerous reviews to ensure that voluntary commitments are continually implemented by industry.

*1 KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation) is a comprehensive economic organization with a membership comprising 1,412 representative companies of Japan, 109 nationwide industrial associations and 47 regional economic organizations (as of April 1, 2019).

*2 They include the following industry sectors: steel, chemical, paper, cement, vehicles, electronics, commercial sectors such as retail, shopping centers, department stores, transport sectors such as railway, aviation, shipping, and energy conversion sectors such as power generation, gas distribution, oil refineries. (as of the end of February, 2020).

Contribution to CO2  Emissions Reduction through the Global Value Chain



Contribution to reducing CO2 emissions means decreasing CO2 emissions throughout global value chains including not only manufactured products but also the phases of raw material procurement, transportation and usage, thus contributing to global warming countermeasures.
Providing products and services that are superior in terms of environmental performance and beneficial for CO2 emission reduction inside and outside the country is the ideal approach to global warming countermeasures in industry.
For industry to recognize its own strengths and make further contributions to the reduction of CO2 emissions, it is vital to conduct quantitative assessments while expanding low carbon products and services and to visualize such contributions.

In December 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) set up the Study Group for the Global Value Chain Contribution to discuss ideas for visualizing industries’ contribution to CO2  emission reductions through the expanded use of low-carbon products and services, both inside and outside the country.
Based on the results of the discussions, “Guidelines for Quantifying GHG emission reductions of goods or services through Global Value” was developed in March 2018.

Follow-up to the Commitment to a Low Carbon Society

The government of Japan have strictly reviewed industry’s actions and their results in order to ensure transparency and credibility.
METI has classified 41 industrial associations under the jurisdiction of METI into 7 categories, and established 7 WGs for review. The WGs consist of experts from universities/ research institutes.
The outcomes of deliberations conducted in each WG are reported at the Joint Conference of Advisory Councils to METI and the Ministry of Environment.

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Last updated:2020-04-13