Japan’s leading food sector company outpaces competitors in climate actions and impact

Posted on 12 April 2016

This is the third sector report released by WWF-Japan
(Tokyo, Japan, 12 April, 2016): An evaluation of the climate efforts and impacts of 25 of Japan’s top food sector companies shows one company outpacing its competitors, says WWF-Japan in a new report.
Kirin – a giant company engaging in the manufacture and sale of beverages and pharmaceutical products – ranked first by far compared to the other 24 companies evaluated. Runner up was Japan Tobacco, followed by Ajinomoto. One company – Ezaki Glico – was not evaluated because it had not issued an environmental report in 2015.
This is the third sector report released by WWF-Japan. Previous sectors reviewed include the automotive and electrical sectors. They all form part of its Corporate Rankings for Effective Efforts to Address Climate & Energy Issues initiative.
The food sector review included a thorough evaluation on corporate efforts based solely on information published by the companies themselves, using 21 common indicators covering two broad categories: 1) targets and performance; and 2) information disclosure.
A feature of this project is the importance placed on the effectiveness of climate actions, using seven key indicators[1] as the measure. Kirin obtained full marks for four of the seven indicators, well ahead of other companies.
Businesses are critical stakeholders for the widespread deployment of renewable energy sources. Of the 24 companies evaluated, Ajinomoto, a food and chemical giant, was the only company which had a quantitative target for renewable energy use. It is worth noting, however, that as many as 50 companies of the 96 companies evaluated across the three reports had disclosed quantitative data for renewable energy use, providing evidence that renewable energy is becoming a more and more important element of climate actions in Japan.
The global climate Paris Agreement compels companies to have a science-based long-term perspective in addition to their conventional incremental approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is also essential for companies to make life-cycle climate efforts (including the Scope 1 & 2, Scope 3) and “avoided emissions”.
The report found that the food sector was making notable efforts in this regard. While competing with each other in the area of main businesses, companies are working together to reduce environmental footprint in other areas. This kind of positive stance can be highly valued. Kirin and NH Foods are among several companies who disclosed Scope 3 emissions for each 15 category, thereby steadily advancing their life-cycle efforts.
National actions on climate influence business actions on climate – both positively and negatively. The food sector review highlighted one company - Nissin Seifun Group - which was identified as having stopped having its own emissions reduction target as a result of the decision by the Japanese government to lower its climate target. There were similar actions by companies reviewed in the electrical equipment industry report.
On the other hand, companies with ambitious climate actions based on science-based long-term visions/targets were also identified in the review. Kirin, for example, has a target of halving its CO2 emission throughout its value chain by 2050. The company also has a short-term target in line with the long-term target.
Notes for Editors:
  1. The 7 key indicators[1]  are:
  • Long-term vision;
  • Unit of emissions reduction target (Scope 1,2);
  • Energy efficiency target (Scope 1,2);
  • Renewable energy target;
  • Annual GHG reduction rate of Scope 1&2 absolute target;
  • Measurement & disclosure of life-cycle emissions;
  • Third-party evaluation.
  1. Note that the evaluation covers only climate and energy areas as global warming countermeasures. It does not include other areas.
  1. Read the report in Japanese here: http://bit.ly/1Sdnz6g
  1. Read the blog here: http://bit.ly/23AR8Rg
For further information, contact:
Naoyuki Yamagishi   yamagishi@wwf.or.jp
Yosuka Ihehara   Ikehara@wwf.or.jp
WWF International
Mandy Jean Woods   mwoods@wwf.org.za / +27 72 393 0027
Samantha Smith   ssmith@wwf.no  / +47 450 22 149
About WWF - WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI) is WWF’s global programme addressing climate change, promoting renewable and sustainable energy, scaling up green finance, engaging the private sector and working nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.
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