Abstract: Inequality among Industries and Companies: Comparison of Business Activities to Mitigate Climate Change in the Japanese Consumer Industries

Akira Itagaki,Yumiko Itagaki,and Takeo Kikkawa

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to highlight inequalities in the business activities of Japanese consumer industries to mitigate climate change. Consumer industries comprise two sectors: consumer goods manufacturing and consumer goods distribution. The main objects of our research are the following two distribution industries: department stores and volume sellers. At the EBHA 2014 congress in Utrecht, we analyzed the historical significance of the voluntary business activities of Japanese manufacturing industries to mitigate climate change. Roughly speaking, there are two main approaches. One is based on national government regulations, the other on voluntary activities by the private sector. In Japan, we have been able to observe both approaches since the oil crises of the 1970s. Through a series of surveys, we have confirmed the following: (1) Compared with emissions trading, environmental taxation and other methods, the voluntary method adopted for the Environmental Voluntary Action Plan has produced a variety of creative approaches, resulting in outcomes that contain continuous and international possibilities. (2) The significance of the initiatives and the methods of measuring and explaining the outcomes have evolved in the course of executing the Environmental Voluntary Action Plan. (3) All industry associations have played a central role in promoting the Environmental Voluntary Action Plan, which can be regarded as a new social function for industry associations. In the course of executing the Environmental Voluntary Action Plan, the unique division of roles between the private sector and the government has functioned efficiently, with the private sector acting as the entity that leads on progress, and the government continuously checking the progress. In this paper, we will discuss from a historical perspective how the Japanese retail industries have mitigated climate change. Our purpose is to highlight the commonalities and differences in approach of the consumer manufacturing and consumer distribution industries.

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