Leading global businesses, including those with headquarters and operations in Japan, have urged the Japanese Government to more than double its renewable energy commitment to 2030 to rapidly accelerate the country’s transition to a clean economy.
Major corporations from the RE100 initiative – led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP – called on the country’s political leadership to set a new ambitious energy goal to dramatically increase Japan’s renewable energy target ahead of COP26 to 50 per cent.
In an open letter to the country’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on 24 March 2021, more than 50 RE100 companies – who include some of the world’s best-known brands such as Google, AstraZeneca, Nestlé, Ricoh, Panasonic and Nikon – welcomed Japan’s commitment to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century, but stressed that more needed to be done to deliver clean energy for decades to come.
The letter said: “Increasing the 2030 renewable energy target to 50 per cent from 22-24 per cent in the Strategic Energy Plan would send powerful market signals to help jumpstart a green economic recovery. It would also reduce exposure to fossil fuels, which carry hefty price volatility and geopolitical risks. Finally, offering greater corporate access to more abundant renewable energy will help businesses achieve their climate goals, which often align with Japan’s climate vision.”
RE100 members recently cited Japan as one of the most challenging markets in the world because of high costs and limited availability of renewables despite increasing corporate demand for clean energy. The share of renewable electricity among RE100 members in Japan is 14 per cent – compared to 91 per cent in the UK or 39 per cent in India.
As a priority, the RE100 signatories stressed that Japan should strengthen its grid and enable offsite corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs), also proposed by the Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership (JCLP), to drive down costs and support the country’s Green Growth Strategy.
Corporate PPAs, which speed up the deployment of renewable energy projects at guaranteed cost, have transformed power markets in the U.S., Europe and across Asia-Pacific in recent years.
Aleksandra Klassen, RE100 Senior Impact Manager at the Climate Group, said many major businesses in Japan want to embrace clean energy, but the high costs of renewables and limited availability often remain the biggest stumbling blocks to them making the switch.
“As RE100 members make clear, now is the time for the Japanese Government to be bold in its energy policy and commit to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030. This will help drive forward Japan’s green economic recovery and pave the way for a clean energy future for businesses and consumers alike,” she said.
Eri Hirayama, Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA, said: “At IKEA we are committed to source 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and we know many businesses share similar ambitions. If companies cannot easily and affordably source renewable energy for their operations here, then they may end up investing elsewhere. And if products made here aren’t produced using 100 per cent renewable energy, those products will be less attractive on the global market. We hope that the Japanese Government will see this challenge as we see it; an opportunity to increase our competitiveness, to spur investment, and as being the right thing to do for the sustainable future of this country.”
Akiyoshi Koji, President and Representative Director, CEO of Asahi Group Holdings, said: “As a group of companies operating business using ‘the blessing of nature,’ we are seeking to pass on ‘the blessing of nature’ to future generations by actively promoting initiatives to address a wide range of environmental issues. In particular, we will work on our climate change initiatives to achieve zero CO2 emission by 2050. To achieve this, we will actively promote the introduction of renewable energy and signed this letter in the hope that Japan will become a world-leading environmentally advanced country.”
Jake Yamashita, President and CEO, Ricoh, commented: “High costs and limited availability remain the biggest barriers to renewable energy in Japan. That is why we back proposals to increase the renewable energy target from 22-24 per cent to 50 per cent by 2030 to better support businesses like us who are committed to creating a far more sustainable society. Looking ahead, there are some positive developments to come including the new Prime Minister’s declaration of carbon neutrality by 2050 and the creation of a 2 trillion yen fund for decarbonisation research. The next 10 years will be a period of great change for the renewable energy market in Japan.”
Yoshinori Isozaki, President and CEO, Kirin Holdings, added: “As a member of RE100 which has pledged to use 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2040, Kirin supports the initiative of RE100 to encourage the Japanese government to set a 50 per cent 2030 renewables target.”
The letter to the Japanese Government can be found here.
The following RE100 businesses signed the letter to the Japanese Government:
3M, Aeon, Ajinomoto, Apple, Asahi Group Holdings, Asahi Kasei Homes Corporation, ASICS, ASKUL Corporation, Asset Management One, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Coop Sapporo, Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Daiwa House Industry, DSM, Envipro Holdings, First Solar, FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Fujikura, Fujitsu, Fuyo General Lease, Google, Hazama Ando Corporation, Ichigo, IKEA, Jinko Solar, Kirin, Kumagai Gumi, Marui Group, Murata Manufacturing, Nestlé, Nihon Unisys, Nikon Corporation, Nissin Foods Holdings, Nomura Research Institute, Noritz, Ono Pharmaceutical, Panasonic Corporation, Ricoh, Salesforce, Schneider Electric, Sekisui Chemical, Sekisui House, Seven & i Holdings, Sony Corporation, Sumitomo Forestry, Tetra Pak, The Johnan Shinkin Bank, Toda Corporation, Tokyu Land Corporation, Unilever, Watami, Zurich