Japan

Progress on Climate - Sumitomo Pulling Out of Australian Coal Mine

For Immediate Release

August 24, 2021

Progress on Climate- Sumitomo Pulling Out of Australian Coal Mine

Tokyo. Mighty Earth praises Sumitomo Corporation’s recent announcement it would sell its stake in the Rolleston thermal coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

“Sumitomo recently updated its climate policy to exit coal mining by 2030 and we applaud this concrete step towards that goal. Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C will require deep near-term pollution cuts so we call upon Sumitomo to hasten its exit from coal mining and coal power generation,” stated Mighty Earth’s Japan Project Manager, Roger Smith.

In June 2021, Mighty Earth released a report “Smokescreen: Sumitomo’s ‘Carbon Neutral’ Failures” on Sumitomo’s continued fossil fuel dependence and outlined steps the company needs to take on climate change.


プレス・リリース 環境保護団体マイティ・アース 報告書「隠蔽の煙幕:住友商事の『カーボンニュートラル』失敗の数々」を発表 気候変動行動計画での住友商事への株主提案の必要性示す

2021年6月10日

(ワシントンDC)– 本日、公開されたマイティ・アース(Mighty Earth)の報告(英文)では、住友商事株式会社が世界各地の事業活動で、最も深刻な環境汚染や環境破壊の原因となる形態のエネルギー生産に深く関与していることを詳細に述べ、今回の株主提案がどれほどの緊急性を帯びるものであるのかを強調している。「隠蔽の煙幕:住友商事の『カーボンニュートラル』失敗の数々」と題された同報告では、同社は大規模な炭鉱を所有し、深刻な環境汚染を引き起こす石炭火力発電所を新たに東南アジアに建造し、石炭火力発電所で混焼する木材を輸入するなど、様々な事業分野において、日本の産業の石炭への依存を最も強力に支えている企業の1つであることが紹介している

 

「住友商事は、地上で最も深刻な環境破壊を引き起こす燃料を開発、輸送、燃焼し、またその資金提供や運送にも関与する、世界の石炭およびバイオマスの流通網の中心企業の1つです」と、マイティ・アースの日本プロジェクトマネージャーであるロジャー・スミスは述べている。「住友商事は、2050年までに『カーボンニュートラル』を実現するという、甘言で環境に優しい姿を装っていますが、同時に今後20年以上にわたって深刻な環境破壊を引き起こす化石燃料関連の事業計画を立てており、株主はこうした偽善をもう許せなくなっているのです。住友商事は速やかに化石燃料関連の事業から手を引き、クリーンで再生可能なエネルギーに移行していくための、厳しい気候変動行動計画を採用すべきである。」

 

住友商事は、排出量を削減するために適切な対策を講じてこなかったとして、6月18日に予定されている定時株主総会で、日本の商社としては初めて気候変動関連の株主提案により、投資家から改善を迫られることになる。この株主提案は、2020年のみずほフィナンシャルグループでの株主提案に続いて、日本で史上2件目の気候変動関連の株主提案である。「この動きは、各企業が実質的な気候変動行動計画の実施に至っていないことに対して、投資家の間で改善を迫る声が高まっていることを反映するものである」と、ワシントンDCに拠点を置く環境保護団体マイティ・アースは本日述べている。

 

「住友商事は明確な岐路に立たされています」とマイティ・アースのスミスは述べる。「ひとつの選択肢は、株主からの懸念の声に応え、世界各地での二酸化炭素排出量を2015年のパリ協定の目標に合致する水準まで削減し、再生可能エネルギー業界を率いる会社に転換する道です。そうできなければ、深刻な環境汚染を引き起こす20世紀型産業の枠組みに固執し、今後も損失を出し続けて、対策の遅れに伴って株主からの懸念も年々深刻化する事態に陥るでしょう」

同社が石炭への依存からの早期脱却に向けて動いていないことに関して、投資家の間で苛立ちが広がっている。2015年のパリ協定の目標が達成できるよう、同社に戦略の見直しを求める株主提案が出されるに至ったのも、そのためである。パリ協定では、産業革命前の水準と比較して、地球全体の気温上昇が2℃を十分に下回る水準に抑え、さらには1.5℃まで抑えることを目指すことが掲げられている。

 

2021年5月住友商事は、「気候変動の防止およびカーボンニュートラルな社会の実現に関連する様々な問題の解決に貢献する」という目標を掲げ、それに合わせて気候変動行動計画を更新した。しかし、同社の実際の気候変動問題に対する方針はパリ協定が求める水準には遠く及ばず、同社が森林からの燃料を燃やし、バングラデシュで新たに2基の石炭火力発電所の建造を今後開始し、ポートフォリオで天然ガスが占める割合を増やし、燃料炭鉱での採掘を2030年まで続け、石炭火力発電所を2040年代後半まで稼働させることが許容されている。住友商事では、短期的にも二酸化炭素排出量が高い水準であるにも関わらず、森林由来の輸入バイオマスへの依存が高い状態が続いており、北米の森林の生態系を含めて、森林の繊細な生態系の破壊防止を目的に策定すべき森林破壊に対する方針も策定していない。

 

住友商事は、発電所で燃やす木材ペレットを「バイオマス燃料」としてアメリカおよびカナダから輸入しており、その輸入量は大幅に増加し始めている。住友商事傘下のペレット会社は最近、ブリティッシュコロンビア州の老齢樹林(原生林)での伐採計画が明るみに出たことで、非難を集めている。また、同社のアメリカ南東部の主要サプライヤーは、すでに生態系にダメージが生じている森林で根元から伐採した樹木を使用している。アメリカおよびカナダで木材ペレットの生産量が急速に増加しており、また日本が世界で最も急成長中のペレット市場となっている現状に対して、科学者からは警告の声が上がっている。今年2月、500人の学者から、バイデン大統領、菅総理大臣、およびその他の世界の指導者宛に、化石燃料を燃やす代わりに樹木を燃やすことの危険を訴える公開書簡が送られた。同書簡では、「樹木は、気候変動に関しても生物多様性に関しても、生きていてこそ価値があるものです。正味ゼロエミッションの目標を今後達成するには、各政府は森林を燃やすのではなく、森林を保全して復元する努力を行うべきです」と警鐘が鳴らされている。

 

環境保護団体Market Forcesの福澤恵氏からも、同様の声が上がっている。「私たちは臨界点にいるため、パリ協定の目標を達成するのに必要な短期、中期目標が緊要です。住友商事の現在の計画はこの目標を達成するのには明らかに不十分です」と福澤は述べる。さらに福澤は「住友商事の計画は、気候にとって大惨事を引き起こすものであるのみならず、パリ協定に沿っていない、整合性のないタイムラインの化石燃料資産の撤退計画を考えると、座礁資産リスクへのエクスポージャーを抱える投資家に対しても危険である」と警鐘を鳴らしている。

 

こうした事業は、環境面で恐ろしいほどの代償を伴うものだ。しかし同時に、住友商事は事業活動をより環境に優しい生産方式に転換することを拒否することで、財政面でも大きな代償を払っている。2020年度、住友商事はオーストラリアの石炭火力発電所事業で260億円を、アメリカのマーセラスおよびイーグルフォードでの石油および天然ガス関連プロジェクトで80億円を、そして発電所の建造費用や建造遅滞に関連する損失として540億円を、それぞれ失っている。これらの損失は、住友商事全体の損失額である1531億円の半分以上を占めている。

 

以上
マイティー・アース(Mighty Earth)
[email protected]
(日本語対応可)

 


Sumitomo Faces Shareholder Revolt Over Empty Climate Action Rhetoric

Mighty Earth Report Underscores Investor Concerns at Fossil Fuel Dependence

UPDATE:

At Sumitomo Corporation's 2021 annual general meeting, 20% of shareholders, representing an estimated $2.53 billion in shares, voted in defiance of management and supported the resolution on climate change.
While it was positive to see Sumitomo respond to pressure and announce a shift away from the coal and natural resource side of the business and towards renewable energy, much more needs to be done to be consistent with the Paris Agreement.
Investors need to push Sumitomo to rule out involvement in the Matarbari 2 coal plant in Bangladesh, exit from all coal generation globally by 2040 (not the late 2040s), and end its involvement in wood biomass and adopt a no deforestation ("NDPE") policy. See our report for our full recommendations for Sumitomo regarding climate change.

Read the report

(Washington D.C) –Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation will face unprecedented investor pressure at its Annual General Meeting on June 18 for its failure to take adequate steps to reduce its massive global carbon emissions footprint, the Washington, D.C. environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth said today.  That pressure comes in the form of the first-ever climate resolution targeting a Japanese trading company by shareholders demanding that the firm align its strategies with the objectives of the with the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and pursue a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The resolution reflects growing investor impatience with companies failing to implement substantive climate action policies. The resolution comes on the heels of last year’s resolution at Mizuho Financial Group and comes just ahead of a similar resolution at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group later this month.

A Mighty Earth report released today underscores the urgency of that shareholder resolution by detailing Sumitomo’s deep involvement in the dirtiest and most environmentally destructive forms of energy production across its global operations. The report, “Smokescreen: Sumitomo’s ‘Carbon Neutral’ Failures,” reveals how Sumitomo is one of chief industrial facilitators of Japan’s addiction to coal through business lines ranging from ownership of massive coal mines to owning and constructing highly polluting new coal-burning power plants in Southeast Asia, to importing wood to be burned in coal plants.

“Sumitomo is a company at the center of global coal and biomass networks that mine, chop, finance, ship and burn the most destructive fuels on earth,” said Roger Smith, Mighty Earth’s Japan Project Manager.” “We’re starting to see shareholders question Sumitomo Corporation’s environmentally-friendly platitudes about achieving ‘carbon neutrality,’ in three decades’ time while simultaneously laying plans to continue highly-polluting fossil fuel operations for another twenty plus years. Sumitomo needs to adopt a stringent climate plan that quickly moves the company away from fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy.”

In May 2021, Sumitomo updated its climate plan to meet its professed goal of “contributing to addressing the many issues related to climate change mitigation and the realization of a carbon-neutral society.” But the new report lays out how the actual climate policy is still far from Paris-aligned and allows the firm to burn forests for fuel, start construction of two new coal power plant units in Bangladesh, increase the share of natural gas in its portfolio, operate thermal coal mines until 2030, and run coal power plants until the late 2040s. Sumitomo continues to rely heavily on imported forest biomass despite its high near-term carbon emissions, and lacks a no deforestation policy with safeguards against degrading sensitive forest ecosystems, including those in North America.

While little known outside Japan, the company has begun to dramatically increase imports of wood pellets from the U.S. and Canada as “biomass fuel” where wood is burned in power plants to produce electricity. A Sumitomo pellet-producing company recently faced criticism for its plans to log old-growth forests in British Columbia, and Sumitomo’s chief supplier in the Southeastern United States uses whole trees from already distressed ecosystems.

With wood pellet production in both the U.S. and Canada rapidly increasing, and Japan serving as the world’s fastest-growing market for pellets, scientists have sounded the alarm. This February, 500 academics wrote an open letter to President Biden, Prime Minister Suga and other world leaders to warn them against shifting from burning fossil fuels to burning trees stating, “Trees are more valuable alive than dead both for climate and for biodiversity. To meet future net zero emission goals, your governments should work to preserve and restore forests and not to burn them.”

That message is echoed by Meg Fukuzawa of the environmental finance organization Market Forces. “We are at a critical point where near-term targets are critical to reaching the goals of Paris, and Sumitomo’s are clearly insufficient,” Fukuzawa said. “Sumitomo’s plans are not only catastrophic to the climate, but investors should be worried about the possibility of finding themselves exposed to stranded assets if Sumitomo does not phase out of fossil fuels on Paris-aligned timeframes.”

Not only do these projects have an appallingly-high environmental price, Sumitomo is also paying a financial cost for its refusal to shift its operations to more environmentally friendly production modes. In FY 2020, Sumitomo Corporation lost ~$236 million (USD) on coal power in Australia, ~$73 million (USD) from sales of Marcellus and Eagle Ford oil and natural gas projects in the US, and ~$491 million (USD) related to costs and delays constructing power plants, including Matarbari 1 in Bangladesh. These losses constituted more than half of Sumitomo’s overall losses of ~$1.4 billion (USD) (153 billion yen).

“Sumitomo has a clear choice,” Smith said. “It can respond to shareholder concerns and reduce its global carbon emissions footprint in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and reposition itself as a renewable energy market leader, or cling to its heavily-polluting 20th century industrial blueprint and continue to rack up financial losses and deepening shareholder antipathy with every year of continued delay.”

END

For inquiries, email [email protected]


Joint Statement re: 2021 Revisions to Biomass Plan Development Guidelines (Japan's Feed-in-Tariff)

Japan’s Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry’s (METI) issued revised “Business Plan Development Guidelines” for biomass power generation under the feed-in-tariff on April 1st, 2021. The undersigned organizations found the revisions inadequate regarding climate change and biodiversity and urge the speedy adoption of greenhouse gas emission limits and stronger criteria regarding the environmental sustainability of biomass fuel.

Background

In October 2020, the Japanese government announced a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. However, the feed-in-tariff renewable electricity incentive program, which began in 2012, includes no assessment of greenhouse gas emissions. We have particular concerns about biomass power generation, as this form of thermal power generation has potential impacts on forests, ecosystems and biodiversity, and has emissions of greenhouse gases throughout its lifecycle. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy under METI convened a “sustainability working group” which has held deliberations regarding the sustainability of biomass fuel under the feed-in-tariff. Unfortunately, the guidelines for biomass generation did not undergo significant changes from last year, and lack any sort of greenhouse gas emissions limits, potentially making it more difficult to achieve Japan’s 2050 climate target, protect forests or further the sustainable use of forests.

Japan’s rapid expansion of biomass imports has drawn international concern. In February 2021, more than 500 academics issued a letter (English, Japanese) to Prime Minister Suga and other world leaders warning of deforestation from the use of biomass fuel. In addition, in September 2020, 17 environmental organizations from the United States sent a letter (English, Japanese) to the Japanese government asking for wood pellets to be removed from the feed-in-tariff due to concerns about their impacts on American forests.

Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Limits Needed

The current biomass guidelines lack any limits for greenhouse gas emissions. To address climate change, there needs to be a strict upper limit on lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions limits covering all biomass fuel types. The combustion of biomass originating from forests (primarily wood pellets and wood chips) is especially problematic as it rapidly releases carbon stored in the forests into the atmosphere and also risks the release of carbon accumulated in the soil over a long period of time. Even if forests regrow completely after logging, the time period for this can range from decades to more than one hundred years, so it cannot be said that forest biomass is carbon neutral.

In addition, in cases where the production of biomass fuel causes changes in land-use, including conversion of forests, emissions will be even greater. Furthermore, most of the biomass projects are using fuel imported from overseas and have high greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. We strongly urge the Sustainability Working Group to adopt a strict greenhouse gas emission standard this year in order to contribute towards the 2050 carbon neutrality target.

Palm Oil Should be Removed from the Feed-in-Tariff

We welcome the change in guidelines that limits new biomass fuel types to be included in the feed-in-tariff to “inedible byproducts.” However, we note that palm oil, an “edible primary product,” is still included. This is a major contradiction and palm oil should be removed from eligibility. Under the guidelines, only palm oil that demonstrates sustainability with RSPO or RSB certification can be used. However, neither of them are able to solve the problem of competition between fuel and food and additionally, there are no greenhouse gas thresholds under RSPO criteria.

Sustainability Standards Needed for All Biomass Fuels

After two years since the start of the Sustainability Working Group, there is now a requirement to obtain sustainability certificates for palm oil and palm kernel shells (PKS). However, despite the feed-in-tariff for biomass overwhelmingly supporting the burning of wood, there has not even been any consideration of standards to protect forest ecosystems and biodiversity. There are many important issues to address including protecting forests’ long-term stores of carbon, preventing the conversion of natural forests to tree plantations, stopping forest loss and degradation from logging, preventing the destruction of forest habitat, protecting biodiversity, and more.

In addition, despite the fact that the guidelines specify that certifications for imported woody biomass fuel are required, in reality there have been problematic examples of plants which are operating without forest sustainability certificates and with only proof of legality. A survey found some cases of only “chain of custody” certificates that lack the corresponding “forest management” certificates needed to cover issues related to sustainability in the forests the fuel was sourced from.

To solve this problem, the guidelines need to clarify what is meant by certifications for woody biomass. Deliberations and the implementation of sustainability standards for all types of biomass fuel eligible under the feed-in-tariff are needed urgently.

Transparency and Certification System & Ensuring Compliance

Under these guidelines, power plants using palm oil biomass are required to publish the name of the third-party certificate, the amount of certified fuel, and the identification number for the certified fuel on their website. However, since outside parties cannot access information about the oil processing plant or plantation from the identification number alone, it cannot be said that it ensures transparency. To avoid serious problems like human rights abuses, deforestation and the development of peatlands, etc., it is necessary to require information regarding processing plants and plantations of suppliers to be made public. We ask for similar information disclosure for all types of imported forest-derived biomass.

In addition, at present there is no method for confirming compliance with the measures required by the guidelines under the feed-in-tariff. In the case of byproducts like PKS, where certification requirements are currently postponed, there is a condition requiring the disclosure of details about voluntary efforts and the origins of the fuel (such as the plantation it is from) on the firm’s webpage, but many power plants do not publicize this data. Also, last year the Fukuchiyama City and Maizuru City palm oil plants in Kyoto Prefecture, respectively, stopped operation or were cancelled, and both cases had inadequate consultation with nearby residents. In Fukuchiyama, the neighbors were afflicted with noise and odors which progressed to mediation over pollution-related issues. So as not to have situations like this, it is necessary to establish a system to ensure compliance with the guidelines and sustainability/legality certification with corrective actions for non-compliance.

Compliance Deadlines Should Not be Extended

Until now primary products (palm oil) were required to be certified by March 31, 2021, with a deadline for March 31, 2022 for secondary products (PKS), but they were both extended one year to March 31, 2022 and March 31 2023, respectively. The reason given was that COVID-19 made the procurement of certified products difficult, but extending the grace period means that fuel lacking sustainability certificates will continue to be used. As a result, affected biomass plants can be thought of as having a negative influence on forest ecosystems, biodiversity and human rights. Even with the pandemic, ensuring sustainability should be a basic pre-condition, so it is not necessary to extend this compliance period.

In fiscal year 2020, the discussions of the Sustainability Working Group in 2020 never reached a point where clear criteria regarding lifecycle greenhouse gas standards could be introduced. In addition, there were no deliberations about resolving the many problems related to the sustainability of woody biomass. We urge METI to reconvene this group in 2021 to discuss a greenhouse gas standard and sustainability standards for woody biomass, as both are urgently needed, especially for imported biomass fuel.

(organizations listed in alphabetical order)

Sponsoring organizations:

Biomass Industrial Society Network, Director Miyuki Tomari (Japan)
Friends of the Earth Japan (Japan)
Global Environmental Forum (Japan)

Endorsing organizations:

Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (Australia)
Bob Brown Foundation (Australia)
Dogwood Alliance (USA)
Environment East Gippsland (Australia)
Fridays For Future Sendai (Japan)
HUTAN Group (Japan)
Ichihara Coal Plant Concerns Group (Japan)
Japan Tropical Forest Action Network (Japan)
Kiko Network (Japan)
Maizuru City Western District Environmental Concerns Group (Japan)
Mighty Earth (USA)
Natural Resources Defense Council (USA)
Partnership for Policy Integrity (USA)
Pivot Point (USA)
Plantation Watch(Japan)
Rainforest Action Network (USA)
Sodegaura Residents Policy Study Group (Japan)
Soga Coal Power Plant Concerns Group (Japan)
Solutions for Our Climate (S. Korea)
Stand.earth (Canada)
Yokosuka Coal Plant Concerns Group (Japan)
Wilderness Society (Australia)
WWF Japan (Japan)

 


世界チョコレート成績表: 日本企業は児童労働と持続可能性の取り組みスコアが芳しくない結果に

世界チョコレート成績表: 日本企業は児童労働と持続可能性の取り組みスコアが芳しくない結果に

2021 年 3 月 19 日

マイティー・アース(Mighty Earth)

[email protected]

2021世界チョコレート成績表:「ワースト賞」はストークが受賞、アルテル・エコ、トニーズ・チョコロンリー、そしてウィッタカーズが「優良賞」を受賞、ゴディバは2020年の最下位からランクを上げる

ワシントンDC – 環境問題と人権問題に先頭に立って取り組む非営利団体であるマイティー・アース(米国)、ビー・スレイバリー・フリー(オーストラリア、オランダ)、グリーン・アメリカ(米国)、インコタ(ドイツ)、および全米野生生物連盟(米国)が、毎年発表するチョコレート成績表を公開しました。チョコレート成績表は、世界最大手のカカオ取引会社、チョコレートメーカー、および小売会社を評価するものです。チョコレートメーカーはいまだにカカオ生産に関連する社会問題や環境問題の解決に至っていない実態が、成績表から明らかになりました。日本はアジア最大のチョコレート市場で、2018年の小売売上高は約5100億円を記録しました。しかし、日本企業は調査対象となった企業の最下位付近との結果になりました。

ドイツに生産施設を構え、21の子会社を世界各地に展開する菓子メーカーである
ストークが最下位となり、責任ある対応と透明性の欠如からワースト賞の受賞に至りました。同社のブランドには、ヴェルタース・オリジナル、リーゼン、トフィフィ、メルシー、カラフル・ワールド、そしてベンディックスがあります。

「優良賞」は、トップ3にランクインした以下の企業が受賞しました。

  • アルテル・エコ。米国に拠点を置く企業で、商品は米国とヨーロッパで流通しています。今回初めて優良賞を受賞しました。
  • トニーズ・チョコロンリー。オランダに拠点を置く多国籍企業で、2年連続で優良賞を受賞しました。
  • ウィッタカーズ。ニュージーランドに拠点を置く企業で、商品は主にオーストラリアとニュージーランドで販売されています。同地域は2年連続で優良賞を受賞しています。

昨年までのワースト賞の「受賞者」となった各企業は、全体として持続可能性の取り組みを大きく向上させました。2020年にワースト賞を受賞したゴディバは、生計維持所得と環境保護に関するポリシーを大きく前進させました。また、2019年にワースト賞を受賞したスクダンは、持続可能性の全てのカテゴリーで前進を見せました。

「この成績表があれば、米国、ヨーロッパ、オーストラリア、ニュージーランド、日本などの国々の消費者は、どの企業が持続可能性の推進に成功しているのか、そしてどの企業のお菓子には森林破壊と人権侵害という傷がついているのかを知った上で、チョコレートの購入判断ができます」と、全米野生生物連盟でシニアアドバイザーを務めるエテル・イゴネットは述べています。

各団体は、31社のチョコレートメーカーとカカオのサプライヤーの調査を行いました。各企業のウェブサイト、ESGレポートや他の広報をチェックした上で、各企業とコミュニケーションを取って、情報を確認しました。これらの各企業が世界のチョコレート生産に占める割合は80%を超えていると見積もられています。チョコレート業界が直面している中で最も喫緊の持続可能性に関する問題の6つである、人権リスクの特定、トレーサビリティと透明性、森林破壊と気候、アグロフォレストリー、生活賃金、そして児童労働への取り組みをカテゴリーとして、各企業の総合評価が算出されました。

カカオ会社、特にガーナとコートジボワールを対象地域とするカカオと森林・イニシアチブに参加している会社は、それぞれのサプライチェーンのトレーサビリティ向上につながる重要なステップとして、2018年から100万を超える農園のマッピングを行っています。大手のチョコレートメーカーのほとんどは、コートジボワールのサプライチェーンの少なくとも一部を、マイティー・アースのカカオ・アカウンタビリティ・マップで公開しています。

「世界全体で、トレーサビリティのカテゴリーで、ここ数年で最大の前進が見られました」と、グリーン・アメリカで労働問題関連キャンペーンのディレクターを務めるシャーロット・テイトは述べています。「成績表のその他全ての問題に取り組むためには、各企業はまず、カカオがどこから来ているのかを知る必要があります。それがわからなければ、児童労働、農家の貧困、または森林破壊に終止符を打てる可能性はほぼありません。各企業は、サプライチェーン全体で完全なトレーサビリティを確保し、それに加えて透明性のある報告を行っていかなければなりません」

日本企業は農園までのトレーサビリティではまだ苦しんでいますが、改善の兆しも見られます。森永製菓株式会社(森永)は2025年までにカカオ豆の調達で100%のトレーサビリティの確保を計画しており、不二製油株式会社は取り扱うカカオを2030年までに第三者による認定済みのカカオ豆からの調達に切り替えるとのポリシーを打ち出しています。

トレーサビリティの傾向に加えて、成績表では農家の収入に関する情報も紹介されています。「チョコレート業界に集まる金のうち、カカオの生産国やカカオ農家に流れる割合が不十分です」と、オーストラリアのビー・スレイバリー・フリーの共同ナショナルディレクターを務めるファズ・キットは述べています。「ほとんどのカカオ農家は日収が1ドル以下で、農園で働く女性はわずか日々0.30ドルの収入しか得ていません。コロナ禍による経済の混乱から、特に大きな影響を受けています」。伊藤忠商事株式会社、明治ホールディングス株式会社、および森永は、農家の貧困対策のための具体的なポリシーを設定していませんでした。

イースターのグローバル成績表では、日本企業が過去4年間で徐々にではあるものの着実に前進している傾向も浮かび上がりました。しかしそれでも、日本のチョコレートメーカーは、さらに厳しいトレーサビリティのポリシーを打ち出してモニタリングとルールの徹底を行うことで、カカオのサプライチェーンにおける児童労働、貧困、そして森林破壊に終止符を打たなければなりません。日本の業界は、SDGの目標達成のために迅速に改革を行わなければ、海外勢に差をつけられることになります。
マイティー・アースで日本プロジェクトマネージャーを務めるロジャー・スミスは、「国際協力機構(JICA)が2020年に新たに立ち上げた『開発途上国におけるサステイナブル・カカオ・プラットフォーム』は、政府、業界、そしてNPOをまとめて業界全体での基準策定につながり、持続可能性に関する問題の解決への鍵になるかもしれません」と述べています。

高級チョコレートメーカーのゴディバは、2020年4月の成績表では、ポリシーが不十分であることを理由に、ワースト賞を受賞しました。2020年7月、カカオが育つ森とカカオを育てる人々を守ることを目標に、ゴディバはアースワーム・ファウンデーションと提携しました。ゴディバは、森林破壊、アグロフォレストリー、トレーサビリティ、児童労働、生計維持所得、そして殺虫剤の使用に関して定めた企業ポリシーを新たに導入しました。特筆すべき点として、西アフリカの調達先において、2025年までに農園単位でのカカオ豆のトレーサビリティを100%確保すること、そして農園の100%で児童労働のモニタリング・対策システムを打ち立てることが定められています。これらの新たなポリシーを完全に実行に移すにはさらに努力が必要ですが、ゴディバは業界最下位から中央付近までわずか1年で急上昇しました。つまり、同様の努力を行えば、日本企業も同じようにランキングを伸ばせるはずだということです。

「またこの成績表からは、アグロフォレストリーや、もっと気候に優しい栽培方法を取り入れるペースが、必要なペースに全く達していないこともわかります」と、マイティー・アースでシニアアドバイザーを務めるサミュエル・マウターは述べています。カカオ業界を問題山積のモノカルチャー農業から転換していくには、アグロフォレストリーを通して森林と農地回復にさらに注力していかなければなりません。「各企業は、樹木の苗を配布するだけではなく、カカオ農園に植えられた樹木を守り育てていくことに投資していかなければなりません。そうして樹木が大きく生長できるようにすることで、西アフリカ全体で大規模にアグロフォレストリーの採用を確実に促進できるのです」

「この成績表を見れば、うわべだけで環境保護を謳っているのはどの企業か、そして本当に意味あるアクションを起こしているのはどの企業か、はっきりしてきます」と、インコタでキャンペーンコーディネーターを務めるヨハネス・ショアリングは述べています。「何十年にもわたって業界は自主的なコミットメントを定めてきましたが、貧困も、危険な児童労働も、森林破壊も、カカオ業界にはまだ広く蔓延っています。ほとんどの企業はリスクの特定に取り組み始めたばかりで、まだ多くのギャップが残っています。このように各企業の取り組みが足りないことから、より厳しいデューディリジェンスの法整備が必要であることがわかります。」

  • 成績表の採点方法はこちらで公開しています。
  • イースター成績表2021(英語)はこちらで公開しています。
  • 昨年までの成績表(英語)はこちらで公開しています。202020192018
  • 日本とチョコレートに関する問題についてのファクトシートはこちらで公開しています。
  • 日本のチョコレートメーカーに関するプレゼンテーションはこちらで公開しています。

###

ビー・スレイバリー・フリーについて

ビー・スレイバリー・フリーは、市民団体、コミュニティー、およびその他の組織からなる連盟で、ともにオーストラリア、オランダ、そして世界各地で現代版の奴隷労働の防止、廃止、撤廃に向け活動を行っています。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーには、現代版の奴隷労働の防止、撤廃、対策を現地で行ってきた経験があります。特に、サプライチェーンにおける奴隷労働に光を当てることに注力しています。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーが生み出した動きにより、オーストラリアでは現代奴隷法の可決が実現しました。2007年以降はチョコレート業界との取り組みを行い、カカオ生産における児童労働と奴隷労働の問題への対応を求めてきました。ビー・スレイバリー・フリーに関してさらなる情報は、https://beslaveryfree.com で公開しています。

グリーン・アメリカについて

グリーン・アメリカは、米国を代表するグリーン・エコノミー推進組織で、米国の消費者、投資家、企業、そして市場が誇る経済力を活用して、社会正義にかなった、環境面でも持続可能な社会の創出をミッションとしています。1982年に立ち上げられたグリーン・アメリカは、企業や個人に経済面の戦略、組織力、そして実践的なツールを提供することで、今日の社会問題や環境問題の解決を目指しています。グリーン・アメリカに関してさらなる情報は、http://www.GreenAmerica.org で公開しています。

インコタについて

インコタは過去50年にわたって、飢餓と貧困に終止符を打って誰もが享受できるグローバル化を実現することを目標に、活動を続けてきました。的を絞ったキャンペーンを通して、インコタはドイツ国内でグローバル化の負の側面や人権の重要性に関する人々の意識を高めることを狙いとしています。インコタが展開している「チョコレートを公平にしよう!」キャンペーンでは、西アフリカのカカオ農家の生活水準向上のための活動を行っています。さらにインコタでは、開発途上国の市民団体のパートナーと協力し、各団体が各国で正義と平等を求める活動を行うのを支援しています。

マイティー・アースについて

マイティ・アースは、森林の保護、海洋の保全、気候変動への対応などに取り組む世界的な環境キャンペーン組織で、東南アジア、ラテンアメリカ、アフリカ、北米で活動しています。在来の生態系と野生生物を保護し、水を保全し、地域社会の権利を尊重するという環境配慮型の責任ある農業に向けた大規模な行動を推進しています。マイティー・アースのチームは、世界大手の食品・農業企業が環境・社会ポリシーや慣行を劇的に改善するよう説得する上で、決定的な役割を果たしてきました。www.mightyearth.org/japanchocolate

連絡先:日本の連絡先:ロジャー・スミス、[email protected]

全米野生生物連盟について

全米野生生物連盟は米国最大の自然保護団体で、600万人を超える会員を誇ります。様々な境遇の米国人が協力して、野生生物の声なき声をすくいあげる活動をしています。全米野生生物連盟は、1936年から最前線で野生生物のための活動をしてきました。その中で求めてきた自然保護を重んじる価値観とは、米国全体のこれまでの遺産の中に深く浸透しているものです。全米野生生物連盟が海外で行うプログラムにおいては、天然資源の経済学、リモートセンシングと全地球的情報システム、国際法、そして熱帯地域の生態学に関する専門知識を組み合わせることで、それぞれの市場に特化したソリューションや公共政策を推進し、熱帯雨林の喪失を食い止めています。全米野生生物連盟では、「森林破壊ゼロ」農業を推進し、森林や野生生物への影響が最も大きい作物に活動の焦点を当てています。全米野生生物連盟に関してさらなる情報は、https://international.nwf.org/about/ で公開しています。


重工業の脱炭素化に向けた世界的な枠組み原則

新型コロナウイルス感染症のパンデミックが起こり、世界の主要な経済大国(EU、中国、日本、インド、北米)は、パリ協定の目標の達成や永久的な気候崩壊の回避のために世界の工業経済を変革・再考する重要なチャンスを得ました。日本や中国をはじめとする国々は、緊急性を認識し、二酸化炭素排出量を実質ゼロとする目標を掲げました。しかし現時点では、コロナ禍からの復興対策で自国の重工業の低炭素化を実現しようと本気で取り組んでいる政治家は多くありません。また、途上国では重工業の存在感が増しており、そうした中で脱炭素化の取り組みを進める際には、グローバル・ノースとグローバル・サウス間の過去の排出に対する責任と受ける影響の重みのアンバランスにも対処しなければなりません。

主要な市民社会組織は、工業の脱炭素化を求めて活動しています。この度、これらの組織が互いに連携し、主要経済国が経済成長の促進と1.5℃排出経路に向けた軌道修正を同時に実現するにはどうすれば良いかを示したシンプルな枠組みを作成しました。以下に示すこの枠組みの原則はどれも、鉄鋼やセメント、化学などの重工業の脱炭素化を成功させるために不可欠な手段となるものであり、政策立案者はこれらを導入し、また企業はこれらに賛同することができます。

この枠組みを取り入れ、大量の排出をもたらす非効率な産業資本形式の存続を避けるには、今が最も重要な時です。世界各国のリーダーは、短期的に「すぐに実行できる」政策や制度、製品に多額の投資を行うことで、これらの原則を実践しはじめる必要があります。また、産業全体の行動を促すために、互いに協力しながら一体となって取り組みを進めることも求められます。それにより、持続可能で公正かつ健全な産業の未来に向けた「頂点への競争」を生み出せるでしょう。

全体的なビジョン:気温上昇の1.5℃経路に沿うように、重工業の脱炭素化を緊急に加速し、規模を拡大する。

枠組み原則1

企業の温室効果ガス排出量削減目標や1.5℃経路に沿った計画に基づく重要な施策に重工業向けの公的資金を充てることにより、真の「グリーンリカバリー」を確実に実現する。

枠組み原則2

産業変革においては、政策や出資制度の策定と強化を通じて、生物多様性と人々の健康を守り、かつ公平な移行を確実に進める。

枠組み原則3

低炭素、循環型かつ資源を効率的に利用した原材料への需要を生み出すための政策を策定する。その補助策として、ライフサイクル全体のカーボン・フットプリントを示す標準ラベルや最終製品(建物など)の性能に対する奨励策を活用し、バリューチェーン全体を巻き込む。

枠組み原則4

1.5℃経路に整合する科学的な気候目標を期限付きで定め、それを公表する重工業企業を奨励する資金補助政策や手法を大規模に策定し、実行する。

枠組み原則5

工業生産や短期的な二酸化炭素回収において、水素などの革新的な技術をはじめとする低炭素・ゼロカーボン技術の開発や利用を促進するための資金提供や投資を優先的に進め、化石燃料使用からの脱却を促進する。

枠組み原則6

国や地域間の連携や排出量算定の有効性を確保する。例えば、影響力のある新たな技術の共有や、実現性の高いサーキュラーエコノミーへの道筋、特に深刻な汚染をもたらす技術の廃止、国家間での排出移転(「炭素リーケージ」)削減に向けた適応性の高い排出権取引制度の実行など。

欧州や中国、日本、インド、北米では、今後数カ月にわたり、コロナ禍からの復興と気候政策に関する検討が行われます。そこで私たちは、政治界やビジネス界を率いる皆さまに、重工業の脱炭素化に向けた具体的な計画を策定するにあたり上記の枠組み原則への賛同と支持を求めます。そうすれば、気温上昇を1.5℃未満に抑える試みにおいて、それぞれの取り組みの歩調を合わせつつ全体としての成功を実現することができるのです。

重工業の脱炭素化に向けた上記の枠組み原則に正式に賛同している組織は、このページに載せてあります。

The Climate Group
Mighty Earth


大手工業企業・市民社会団体による、 重工業における脱炭素化に向けた新たな国際的枠組みのサポート

プレスリリース

大手工業企業・市民社会団体による、
重工業における脱炭素化に向けた新たな国際的枠組みのサポート

2021年2月25日

政治家に、新型コロナウイルス感染症からの景気回復計画の一環として重工業の脱炭素化を求める初の世界的な枠組みが、本日発表されました。この国際的な重工業における脱炭素化の枠組みの原則は、以下の市民社会団体や大手工業企業から支持を得ています。

Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (インド)、Aldersgate Group (欧州)、Architecture 2030 (米国)、Carbon Leadership Forum (北米)、Clean Energy Canada、Corporate Leaders Group (欧州)、Envision (中国)、Global Efficiency Intelligence (米国)、Global Energy Monitor (米国・世界各国)、Godrej Industries (インド)、United Nations High Level Champions、Jinko Solar (中国)、JSW Energy (インド)、JSW Cement、LanzaTech (米国)、Mahindra Group (インド)、Smart Energy Council (オーストラリア)、Solutions for Our Climate (韓国)、Tata Steel (インド)。

この枠組みを正式に支持することで、これらの影響力のある団体や企業は業界を超えて集結し、温暖化の1.5°C.への抑制を含むパリ条約の目標に沿った、重工業における早急な脱炭素化の加速と拡大の必要性を共に指摘しています。

国際非営利団体Climate Groupとキャンペーン団体Mighty Earthにより確立された重工業における脱炭素化に向けた国際的枠組みの原則(英語日本語)は、業界の専門家との密接な協力のうえで作成されました。一般公開された国際的なガイダンスにより、世界各国の鉄鋼、セメント、化学薬品などの重工業が1.5°Cの気候変動目標に沿った形で経済成長を促進するための明確なステップが提示されたのは、今回が初です。

この枠組みは6つの基本原則を定めたもので、それぞれが政治家による鉄鋼、セメント、化学薬品などの重工業における脱炭素化の成功をサポートする、基礎的な指針となっています。これらの指針には、排出ガス削減計画と重工業への公的資金の結び付けや、産業プロセスにおける化石燃料の使用を段階的に排除するための低炭素およびゼロ炭素技術への投資の優先化などが挙げられます。

Climate Group のエネルギー生産性イニシアティブ責任者、Jenny Chu 氏は次のように述べました。「新型コロナウイルス感染症の流行により、世界的な産業経済を改善するための変革や新たな発想が早急に求められるようになりました。この枠組みを調整し、非効率的で炭素排出量の多い産業資本への固着を避けるには、時間が限られています。世界中のリーダー達は、業界がひとつとなって動き、持続可能で公正かつ健全な産業の未来を実現するための競争が生まれるよう、協力と調整を行いながら、これらの原則を早急に行動に移す必要があります」

マイティ・アースのキャンペーンディレクター、Margaret Hansbrough氏は次のように述べました。「ここ数か月の間、鉄鋼やセメントなどの重工業企業から、ネットゼロ・カーボンニュートラルへのコミットメントが予想外に相次いで見られました。この枠組みによりこれらの企業や市民社会団体は、1.5°Cを超える温暖化から地球を守り、これらの気候へのコミットメントをかつてないほどの緊急性と行動を持って実現するために、真剣かつ協力的な政策措置に直ちに取り組む準備ができていることを、世界中の政治家達に明確に伝えています。ぜひ行動に移したいものです」

COP26ハイレベルチャンピオンのNigel Topping・Gonzalo Munoz両氏は、次のように述べました。「この方針の枠組みは、世界中の産業経済が何百万人もの生活を取り戻し、パンデミックによる不要な死を防ぎ、我々全員の生活がかかっている気候の緊急事態と戦おうと取り組んでいる今正にこの瞬間、積極的な目標を定め、緊急性を高める強力なツールとなり、歓迎すべきものです」

JSW EnergyのJMD/CEO、Prashant Jain氏は次のように述べました。「重工業における国際的枠組みの原則をサポートできることを光栄に思っています。産業により排出される温室効果ガスは地球全体の 3 分の 1 近くにも昇るため、地球温暖化を 1.5°C に抑えるための脱炭素化の取り組みを集中させるべき重要な分野です。JSW Energyでは、2050年までにカーボンニュートラルを実現させることを目指しており、Science Based Target イニシアティブの一環として科学に基づく目標を定めています」

LanzaTech, Inc. CEO、Jennifer Holmgren博士は次のように述べました。「LanzaTechは、米国に本社を置く革新的な企業です。重工業や航空業界をはじめとする必要不可欠な業界向けの炭素リサイクルソリューションを開発し、給与の高い雇用を生み出し、維持しています。地球を生物が生きられる環境に保つためには、弊社のような企業が専門知識と影響力を活かし、お互いに繋がり合った世界各国で最も効果的な気候政策を求めていくことが必要とされています。弊社は、世界中の企業や市民社会が重工業における脱炭素化に関する明確な方針の枠組みを制定するこの取り組みに参加できることを喜ばしく思い、バイデン・ハリス政権をはじめとする世界的なリーダー達と気候対策における重要な分野で協力できることに期待しています」

重工業は全エネルギーの約3分の1を消費し、全世界の温室効果ガス排出量の約4分の 1を占めています。そのため、脱炭素化の取り組みで重点を置くべき重要な分野となります。しかし、政治家達はまだ、自国の重工業における低炭素排出量での経済回復の方針を定めるどころか、それを気候政策の最優先事項にもしていません。今後数か月間にわたり、欧州、中国、日本、韓国、インド、北米で経済回復と気候政策について議論が行われる中、Climate Group、Mighty Earth、およびこれらの提携団体は、政治およびビジネスにおけるリーダー達にこの国際的な枠組みを受け入れるよう求めていく方針です。


Mighty Earthについて
マイティ・アースは、森林や海を守り、気候の変化に対処することに取り組んでいる国際環境キャンペーン団体です。当団体は、東南アジア、中南米、アフリカ、北米で、自然生態系や野生動物、水を守り、地域の権利を尊重し環境に配慮した農業を実現するため、大規模な取り組みを推進しています。マイティ・アースのチームは、世界最大規模の食品・農業企業に対し、環境および社会的方針・慣行の大幅な改善を求めるうえで重要な役割を果たしてきました。マイティ・アースに関する詳細はwww.mightyearth.org/ をご覧ください。

Climate Groupについて
Climate Group は迅速な気候対策を推進しています。当グループでは、2050 年までに炭素排出量をネットゼロにし、誰もがより繁栄できる世界を作ることを目指しています。そのために、排出量の最も多いシステムと、我々のネットワークが変化をもたらす最も大きなチャンスが秘められた分野に焦点を当てています。大規模で影響力の高いネットワークを築き、各組織が責任を持ち、コミットメントを行動に移すようにすることで、この目標に向け取り組んでいます。当グループではより多くの組織に可能性を認識してもらうため、活動の成果を公開しています。当グループは 2004 年に設立された国際非営利団体で、ロンドン、ニューデリー、ニューヨークにオフィスを構えています。また、We Mean Business 連合の加盟団体であることを誇りに思っています。Twitter: @ClimateGroup


国内大手チョコレート企業環境・労働問題への取り組み評価

国内大手チョコレート企業環境・労働問題への取り組み評価

2021 年 2 月 10 日

報道関係者各位

マイティー・アース(Mighty Earth)
[email protected]

 

国内大手チョコレート企業環境・労働問題への取り組み評価

東京、2021年2月10日—  バレンタインデーを前に、世界的な環境キャンペーン団体であるマイティ・アースとオーストラリアのビー・スレイバリー・フリー(Be Slavery Free)は、日本の主要な生産者やブランドを対象に人権や環境への影響を評価するツール「ジャパン・チョコレート・ガイド」の第一弾を発表しました。

バレンタインデー チョコレートガイド

マイティー・アースは、日本の主要なチョコレートブランドとカカオサプライヤーである不二製油ホールディングス(ブロマー・チョコレート・ホールディングス)、伊藤忠商事、明治、森永の4社を対象に、チョコレート業界が直面している最も差し迫った問題である、人権リスクの特定、透明性とトレーサビリティー、森林破壊と気候変動、アグロフォレストリー、生計維持所得ポリシー、児童労働と化学物質管理の7つの分野について、各企業の方針を調査しました。その評価方法はこちらで ご覧いただけます。

マイティー・アースのシニアアドバイザーで、カカオ生産の専門家であるサム・マウトールは、「愛情のこもったバレンタインデーの贈り物は、児童労働や国立公園の破壊を伴う形で作られるべきではありません」と述べました。あまりにも長い間、カカオの生産は、森林破壊、貧しい農民、蔓延する児童労働といった犠牲の上に成り立ってきました。このガイドは、企業によるカカオ調達に一定の進展が見られものの、より厳格な監視が必要であることを示しています。

日本はアジア最大のチョコレート市場で、2018年の小売売上高は49億米ドル(約5100億円)を記録しました。日本で販売されているカカオの3分の2以上は、世界でも最大規模の森林伐採率と児童労働率を記録するガーナから輸入されています。世界のチョコレート業界は、早くも2017年からガーナをはじめとする西アフリカ諸国における森林伐採や児童労働をなくすための取り組みを行っていますが、日本のチョコレートメーカーや貿易業者のすべてがガーナやコートジボワール政府と連携してカカオ関連のこのような課題に取り組んでいるわけではありません。詳しくは関連情報をご覧ください。

「日本のチョコレート会社は、品質の高い製品を販売するために、より多くのことをする必要があります」とマウトールは述べました。「どのようにして、カカオ豆が生産されたのかを知らないのであれば、どれだけの農薬が使われたのか、子供たちが生産に協力したのか、カカオ農園のために何ヘクタールの森林が伐採されたのかを、どうやってわかるのでしょうか。私たちのガイドでは、効果的なモニタリングと実施によって、どのようなことが可能なのかを示しています。そうしたことによる結果は、農民にとってもアフリカの森林にとっても、より持続可能なものになるでしょう。」

——————

マイティ・アースは、森林の保護、海洋の保全、気候変動への対応などに取り組む世界的な環境キャンペーン組織で、東南アジア、ラテンアメリカ、アフリカ、北米で活動しています。在来の生態系と野生生物を保護し、水を保全し、地域社会の権利を尊重するという環境配慮型の責任ある農業に向けた大規模な行動を推進しています。マイティー・アースのチームは、世界大手の食品・農業企業が環境・社会ポリシーや慣行を劇的に改善するよう説得する上で、決定的な役割を果たしてきました。www.mightyearth.org/japanchocolate

Be Slavery Freeはオーストラリアを拠点とし、世界各地で現代奴隷制の防止、中断、廃止に向けて活動する約30の組織からなる連合体です。また、オーストラリア現代奴隷法の制定にも関与しています。https://beslaveryfree.com/


Nippon Steel, Number Three Steelmaker Globally, Officially Commits to Carbon Neutrality

This week, President Eiji Hashimoto of Japan’s Nippon Steel released a plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This announcement comes shortly after similar 2050 carbon neutrality pledges were made by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, as well as the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal. 

Roger Smith, Mighty Earth’s Japan Project Manager, had this to say in reaction: 

“As the largest steel company in Japan and third in the world, Nippon Steel is now publicly committing to being a global player in the mission to defeat climate change. We welcome Nippon’s pledge as a crucial step in building momentum for the entire steel industry, as well as its suppliers and customers like Toyota and other carmakers, to tackle its outsized impact on the Earth’s climate. 

Nippon needs to demonstrate its seriousness by not only reforming its practices, but also working from within to change Keidanran’s (Japan Business Federation) positions on climate policy. For all too long Keidanren has worked to delay action at the national level to phase-out coal and scale-up domestic renewable energy.

“We are glad to see Nippon taking hydrogen research, development, and deployment seriously -- but are cautious of over-reliance on carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) technologies to meet its emissions target. We need to displace dirty coal and forest biomass-burning technology altogether for industry, paired with clean electrification, material efficiency, and industry right-sizing. In their plans, we are particularly interested to see how they intend to achieve carbon neutrality with their new joint venture AM-NS India 

“Nippon also seems to recognize the urgency of this challenge indicating they will begin shifting from some aging facilities, primarily coal-burning blast furnaces, to electric furnaces and eventually scaling hydrogen-based production- both of which can be powered by renewable energy. . But these shifts must also include a moratorium on building any new coal or biomass-burning facilities anywhere and a plan to phase out existing coal burning facilities; this will ensure carbon neutral production becomes a reality. Forest biomass has often overlooked significant near-term carbon impacts as carbon sequestered in forests is converted into fuel, burned, and returned to the atmosphere. 

“We still await more specific, time-bound, and actionable steps from Nippon. This should light a fire and spur ambitious commitments and plans from its peer companies such as Baowu Group, HBIS, Nucor, Shagang, POSCO, Tata, and others.  But industry and governments alike must make robust investments and science-based commitments for the 1.5°C warming scenario to be possible. Now that industry has signaled its willingness to act, the Japanese government should provide public support in the form of green recovery to support steelmakers and other heavy industry as they invest in technologies that locks out carbon emissions in order to achieve this challenging goal and fast.  

For more about Mighty Earth’s global steel campaign, and to read their latest mini report on ArcelorMittal, visit www.mightyearth.org/steel.


Stop Biomass Power Generation with Large-scale Fuel Import

NGO Joint Statement

Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Suga announced a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to virtually zero by 2050. While we believe it is important to promote renewable energy, we are concerned that promoting large-scale biomass power generation which is predicated upon fuel imports could threaten biodiversity and accelerate climate change.

In Japan, biomass power generation is promoted by the FIT (Feed-in Tariff Program for Renewable Energy), using a levy added to our electricity bills, in the belief that it is good for the environment. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the construction of large-scale biomass power plants reliant upon fuel imports from overseas, resulting in a rapid increase in fuel imports such as wood pellets and palm kernel shells (PKS).

In particular, the volume of wood pellets imported into Japan in 2012 was about 72,000 tons, and in 2019, it was about 1.61 million tons, an increase of more than 20 times.(1) In a few years, imports, mainly from North America, are expected to surge, totaling more than 3 million tons. However, in the United States and Canada, it is reported that due to the rapid increase in wood pellet production for export, natural forests such as wetland forests are being clear-cut with major impacts on ecosystems.(2)

In Canada, it has been pointed out that deforestation for wood pellet production is also affecting caribou habitats and indigenous peoples.(3) It is sometimes said that scrap wood from sawmills is used as the raw material for pellet production, but in reality, with the expansion of pellet production for export, whole logs are often used as the raw material. The large volumes utilized result in intensification of logging and in logging incursions to places such as swamp forests that otherwise would not have been economic to log.

Large-scale biomass fuel production will cause deforestation and forest degradation, which will have a major impact on biodiversity and accelerate climate change. At present, biomass power generation is regarded as "carbon neutral" and is automatically eligible for the FIT in Japan. However, when the production of biomass fuels contributes to deforestation and degradation, the carbon stock stored in forests and soil decreases and carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Even if forests regrow, until that time CO2 will have increased in the atmosphere for a period of decades or centuries. When the fuels are imported and burned to generate energy in Japan it results in large, immediate emissions to the atmosphere. This is however not counted as emissions of Japan. Also, fuel imports from overseas naturally emit a large amount of GHGs due to the long transportation distance. For example, Japan imports a large amount of wood pellets from Canada, and the GHG emissions from their transport amount to 17.2 g-CO2/MJ, which accounts for more than 70% of their total lifecycle GHG emissions.(4)(5) Therefore, biomass power generation is by no means carbon neutral. GHG emissions throughout the lifecycle should be evaluated and taken into consideration.

The current FIT planning guidelines do not include assessments of GHG emissions throughout the lifecycle of biomass power generation operations. In addition, the description of sustainability assessment for forest biomass fuels is ambiguous and left to the operators. This is not sufficient to prevent adverse impacts on forest ecosystems in extreme cases such as clear cutting of natural forests for fuel production. Projects that are not expected to reduce GHG emissions or that involve deforestation/forest degradation should be excluded from the FIT, including those that have already been approved.

We believe that biomass power generation should be small-scale and distributed, based on the principles of local production for local consumption and cascading use, and provide both heat and power. We believe that large-scale biomass power plants using imported fuels should be discontinued as they further accelerate the biodiversity and climate crisis.

In Japan, there have been reports that biomass fuels are co-fired with coal at inefficient coal-fired power plants, which is regarded as "high efficiency" but this is merely an accounting trick to prolong the life of coal-fired power plants and should not be permitted.

Signatories:
Friends of the Earth Japan
Kiko Network
Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society
Greenpeace Japan
Biomass Industry Network
Global Environmental Forum
HUTAN Group
Japan Tropical Forest Action Network
Japan Community Power Association
Oratte Niigata Community Energy
ARA
Australian Forests and Climate Alliance
Biofuelwatch
Dogwood Alliance
Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks)
Fern
Friends of the Earth US
Global Justice Ecology Project
Healthy Forest Coalition Nova Scotia
Leefmilieu
Mighty Earth
NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Partnership for Policy Integrity
Pivot Point
Rainforest Action Network
Rettet den Regenwald e.V.
Save Estonian Forests
Solutions For Our Climate (SFOC)
Southern Environmental Law Center
WOLF Forest Protection Movement
Wild Europe


(1) Ministry of Finance. Trade Statistics.
(2) Stand. Earth. “Investigation - Canada’s growing wood pellet export industry threatens forests, wildlife and our climate.” Apr. 2020.
Partnership for Policy Integrity and Dogwood Alliance. “Carbon Emissions and Climate Change Disclosure by the Wood Pellet Industry – A Report to the SEC on Enviva Partners LP.” Mar. 2016.
(3) Stand. Earth. “Investigation - Canada’s growing wood pellet export industry threatens forests, wildlife and our climate.” Apr. 2020.
(4) Calculations derived from this METI commissioned report:
Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. Survey Report Regarding the Procurement of Stable Supplies of Biomass Fuel and Sustainability. Feb. 2019. p. 108 (Japanese)
(5) This excludes the emissions from combustion


Consumers Push Back on Japanese Travel Company Driving Forest Destruction

日本語版

Thousands of concerned travelers around the world have signed on to a threatened boycott of Japanese travel giant H.I.S. International, according to a new briefing paper from environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth. The paper highlights consumer outcry around the unexpected but clear link between Japan's second largest travel company and environmental destruction in Southeast Asia that threatens climate-vital rainforests and destroys the habitats of endangered orangutans. These latest consumer actions contribute to a rising tide of activism focusing on H.I.S., which has come under intense scrutiny for its foray into climate-polluting energy production.

The analysis, Think Twice About Traveling with Forest Destroyer H.I.S., highlights the recent campaign and relays the company’s efforts to expand its business portfolio into energy generation, and specifically identifies its under-construction power plant – a palm oil-burning facility in Kakuda City, Miyagi Prefecture – as a potential driver of ecological devastation.

“The palm oil industry drives about 250,000 acres of deforestation every year. Unchecked expansion of palm oil plantations destroys precious rainforests, threatens the survival of endangered orangutans, and exacerbates climate change,” said Rose Garr, Vice President at Mighty Earth. “H.I.S.’s power plant would require importing 70,000 more tons of palm oil each year, accelerating these trends. Even if that palm oil is subject to sourcing standards, there is an extremely limited supply of truly sustainable palm oil. The idea that we should burn it as fuel is just incredibly wasteful, and that’s why we’ve seen a global public outcry.”

H.I.S. is an international travel company that brings tourists to Japan to visit its quirky and offbeat destinations, including hotels staffed by robots and a theme park in Nagasaki that recreates old Holland. But in 2017, H.I.S. embarked on a new venture and established H.I.S. Super Power to sell discounted electricity to customers in Japan. Not content to be just an electricity middleman, H.I.S. Super Power began to build their own generation plants, putting up solar panels at their Dutch theme park but also investing in this large-scale power plant that would burn enormous quantities of palm oil.

Japanese environmental groups alerted H.I.S. to their concerns with the project and even met with the company’s CEO in February 2019. In July 2019, approximately 200,000 consumers from around the globe demanded H.I.S. protect forests by scrapping this proposed plant and getting out of the palm oil business. But H.I.S. management refused to accept the petitions and pushed forward with construction of the power plant.

H.I.S.’s lack of response prompted another round of international campaigning. The international coalition of NGOs delivered a letter to major H.I.S. branch offices in the United States, Europe, and Australia, reiterating its concerns about the power plant project. They sent a similar letter to H.I.S.’s major investors. Digital ads across multiple platforms are also being rolled out this week. The recent campaigning has led to an additional 7,200 people, including many frequent travelers, to pledge not to travel with H.I.S. or stay in its hotels until the company ends its involvement in palm oil power generation. H.I.S. has so far remained silent in the face of consumer protests, and after COVID 19-related delays, the power plant could begin operation in the coming weeks.

"As we hopefully put the worst of the pandemic behind us, there's going to be a huge pent-up desire to travel,” said Garr. “If the Olympics take place next year, international travelers will be flocking to Japan. But Americans, Australians, and Europeans don't want to travel or stay with a company driving destruction of the rainforests.”

“We understand H.I.S.’s desire to diversify into energy due to risks exemplified by the current pandemic and as Japanese domestic travel declines. However, their palm oil venture is shortsighted and risks generating a consumer backlash that threatens their core business. H.I.S. still has a chance to do the right thing: drop its plans to burn palm oil and instead invest in solar or the burgeoning Japanese wind power market.”


Global Call to End Coal Marks First Climate Test for New Japanese Administration

Dhaka · Tokyo · Washington D.C. – In a first climate test for the new Suga Administration in Japan, a major coalition of civil society organizations is holding a global call to stop Japanese coal finance in Bangladesh. The events will oppose Japanese involvement in new coal-fired power plants proposed to be built in Matarbari, Bangladesh and urge their replacement with renewable energy.

These power plants, as well as a coal terminal, would spread pollution over the long stretches of sandy beaches of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh’s premier tourist destination, a nearby marine reserve and wildlife sanctuaries. An estimated 100,000 fishermen also rely on this area for their livelihoods.

The Global Call includes:

  • Activists forming a human chain at-risk Kohelia River in Matarbari;
  • An online rally featuring hundreds of people co-organised by 14 organisations across the world, coming together to call for Japan to end coal finance in Bangladesh
  • A billboard truck circling downtown Washington D.C. to target the Japanese Embassy, Sumitomo Corporation of the Americas, and JICA USA, calling out Sumitomo Corporation and the Japanese government for their involvement in the Matarbari coal plant project.
  • Environmental NGOs protesting against Sumitomo Corporation and JICA with a digital photo action in Tokyo

Images are available here.

Sharif Jamil, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) General Secretary said, “Japan is one of the most important development partners of Bangladesh. However, the coal based power plants under construction in Matarbari in the name of development reflects environmental racism towards our nation.”

“They are destroying the entire Kohelia River, evicting people and their livelihoods in those areas and going to emit pollutants to the air at a much higher level than the standard permissible for new coal power projects in Japan. We demand Japan to stop destroying our ecology and public health. Japan should cancel the coal plants and help Bangladesh towards sustainable growth.”

Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation is currently constructing one 1200MW coal plant at Matarbari with funding from the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Despite international pledges to end coal finance, just this summer the Japanese government moved forward with a planning process to build yet another 1200MW plant at the Matarbari site.

Yuki Tanabe, Program Director for Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), said, “In July 2020, the Government of Japan revised its coal financing policy, which states that ‘in principle, the government will not provide official financial support.’ However, projects that are already in the pipeline, including Matarbari 2, fall within the exceptions. Matarbari 2 is just in the beginning stages of project preparation, which is definitely still reversible.”

A study released on Tuesday this week by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air assessed the cumulative impacts from these projects. Alarmingly, air pollution from Matarbari 1 and 2 coal plants would exacerbate the region’s poor air quality, resulting in increased illness and the premature deaths of 6,700 people. No pollution controls for mercury would result in widespread contamination of local farmland and waters by the toxic element.

Conversely, according to a recent University of Berkeley-led study there is potential for up to 53 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity  in  Bangladesh,  which  could  replace  planned  coal  power  projects  as  a  lower  cost  alternative  for  electricity generation.

"Japan's new administration must ensure a safe future for Bangladeshis instead of financing dirty energy projects. Every day, Bangladeshis are bearing the brunt of climate change impacts. This year alone, we saw record breaking cyclones and storm surges and floods that inundated one third of our country. If Japan is serious about their commitment to Bangladesh's sustainable development, they must proactively promote renewable energy." said Hasan Mehedi, Member Secretary, Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED).

“Mighty Earth is proud to take part in this global event to support the people of Bangladesh. The planned Matarbari Phase 2 coal plant would further burden Bangladeshis with air pollution, pollute fish and farmland with mercury pollution, and place them at further risk from climate change impacts. Sumitomo Corporation claims to be going carbon neutral, yet still builds new coal plants, making its policy meaningless. We’re calling on Sumitomo to announce it will not take part in the Matarbari 2 coal plant,” said Roger Smith, Japan Project Manager for Mighty Earth.


Project to Build Japan's Largest Palm Oil Burning Power Plant Defeated

Environmental groups call on government to reform renewable energy incentives and for H.I.S. to abandon plans to build a similar plant

KYOTO, JAPAN – Environmental groups are celebrating today’s dissolution of Maizuru Green Initiatives GK, a company set up to build a palm oil burning power plant in Maizuru City, Japan. The controversial large-scale 66-megawatt biomass power plant was the subject of a 9 months-long campaign by local residents with support from Japanese and international environmental groups.

“This is a great victory for tropical forests and the residents of Maizuru. We are now calling on travel company H.I.S. in Miyagi and Sankei Energy in Kyoto to end their involvement with palm oil power plants, and for the Japanese government to stop subsidizing biomass power that worsens climate change,” said Yuichiro Ishizaki of HUTAN Group.

The Maizuru power plant sparked controversy for its use of palm oil as its primary fuel source. Malaysia and Indonesia are the primary producers of palm oil for Japan. Native tropical forests, including habitat for endangered orangutans, are being lost, with 3.5 million hectares of tropical rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia converted into oil palm plantations over the last 20 years. Japan imports approximately 750,000 tons of palm oil per year, mainly for use in foods and products. If the Maizuru palm oil power plant were constructed, it would significantly add to this burden, burning an additional 120,000 tons per year.

Pressure from residents, including a petition with 11,000 signatures, prompted the project sponsor, AMP Energy of Toronto, Canada to withdraw from the project in April 2020. In a letter sent on Earth Day (April 22), Executive Chairman Paul Ezekiel stated: “Going forward, our company and our group will not consider power generation business that uses palm oil as its fuel.” Ezekiel was also quoted citing project difficulties which included “strong opposition from local residents.”

AMP’s withdrawal left a question as to whether the plant constructor and operator, Hitachi Zosen, would look for a new sponsor. At its annual shareholder meeting on June 23, 2020, Takashi Morimoto from the Maizuru residents group raised concerns and questioned Hitachi Zosen Managing Director Toshiyuki Shiraki about their plans for this plant. Shiraki responded that Hitachi Zosen would withdraw from this project. When asked for an explanation by a reporter, Shiraki stated: “It is because we have no prospect of investing in palm oil in the future.” Maizuru City followed suit, with the mayor announcing on June 26 that the city would no longer pursue the power plant project.

“It was all hands on deck for what we expected to be a years-long fight against this plant. It is amazing that we were able to see its cancelation in just nine months. I believe we were able to achieve victory due to a combination of local grassroots activities and advice from experienced NGOs. The world is full of problems, but I believe people in other regions can also change society for the better,” offered Takashi Morimoto of the Environmental Group of Maizuru West District.

Maizuru Plant Part of Larger Trend

In Japan, government incentives have spurred the use of palm oil for power generation. In 2012, Japan began incentives to support renewable energy (through the “feed-in-tariff” or FiT) where the government guarantees utilities will purchase electricity generated from renewable energy at a fixed price. Until recently, the feed-in-tariff system had the highest incentive in the world for biomass power (primarily wood pellets, palm kernel shells and palm oil) of 24 yen/KWh.

The more palm oil is burned for biomass power generation, the more global demand for palm oil will increase. As of March 2018, the total capacity of the palm oil power plant projects approved under the Japan’s FiT system was 1700 MW. If all were to be built, 3.4 million tons of palm oil would be burned each year -- nearly five times more than Japan’s current palm oil imports. This surge in demand threatens to have a huge environmental impact.

Japanese environmental advocates are battling a second large palm oil power plant under construction in Kakuda City, Miyagi Prefecture, and to date have collected 200,000 signatures against it. This plant is being built by H.I.S. Super Power, an affiliate of Japanese travel giant H.I.S.

“As a travel company, H.I.S. runs ecotours to places like Borneo, promoting a chance to experience the wonder of the natural world. How can they explain to these customers why they are also involved in a business which will burn large amounts of forest-destroying palm oil to make electricity? We are calling upon H.I.S. to follow Hitachi Zosen’s lead and renounce their involvement in palm oil power plants,” stated Kanna Mitsuta of Friends of the Earth, Japan.

Subsidizing Climate Change Biomass Worsens Climate Change

Unfortunately, Japanese government policy failed to put safeguards in place to avoid fuel sources linked to deforestation and with significant greenhouse gas emissions. A 2019 analysis done for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) showed that palm oil had similar emissions to natural gas over its lifecycle (including cultivation, processing, transportation). However, when tropical forests are cleared, emissions increase five times; when peatlands are developed, emissions increase a staggering 139 times.

In addition to burning palm oil, Japan’s biomass policies also incentivize cutting down forests and burning wood, a practice that hinders our progress against climate change, as new trees regrow and reabsorb carbon slowly. Most wood burned in Japan is shipped from Vietnam or North America.

Maizuru Plant Attracted International Opposition

The Maizuru palm oil power plant attracted international attention, with environmental groups alarmed at Japan’s surge of biomass power plants. In a joint letter to 44 domestic and international financial institutions, 25 groups from 8 countries opposed this project, and palm oil power in general.

“The clock is ticking in our fight against global climate change – with only a few years to act, we cannot afford to waste time on false climate solutions,” said Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director Deborah Lapidus. “Burning palm oil accelerates the destruction of the forests we need to absorb carbon. Burning wood biomass literally sends years’ worth of carbon sequestration up in smoke. Halting the Maizuru plant is an important step in ending the false promise of biomass and will help put the focus on truly renewable power solutions.”

Urgent Need to Reform Japan’s Renewable Energy Incentive Program

In April 2020, after calls for reform, METI required greenhouse gas assessment for new biomass fuel types under the feed-in-tariff. Advocates are urging METI to also place strict greenhouse gas emissions limits on existing fuels including palm oil, wood pellets and palm kernel shells.

“Japan’s renewable energy incentives should not subsidize fuels that worsen climate change,” stated Sayoko Iinuma of Global Environmental Forum. “Due to its high greenhouse gas emissions, palm oil should be excluded from the feed-in-tariff, and METI needs to adopt strict emissions limits for wood biomass as well.”

Campaign website (Japanese/limited English):
https://maizuru-palm.org/


Sumitomo Doubles Down on Coal, Releases More Rhetoric on Sustainability

Japanese conglomerate plans to continue work on disastrous coal plant project in Bangladesh despite climate, public health, budgetary, and environmental concerns

WASHINGTON, DC and TOKYO – Environmental organizations are criticizing Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate, after it failed to announce any new concrete actions to address climate change or end its investments in fossil fuels. Sumitomo issued a revised climate policy (Eng. translation) just before its June 19, 2020 shareholders meeting, committing the company to “carbon neutrality” by 2050. However, Sumitomo signaled no intent to abandon its involvement in coal, including the construction of the much-maligned Matarbari Coal Plant project. Mighty Earth had called upon Sumitomo to announce a concrete coal-phase out plan by its 2020 shareholder meeting and immediately end its involvement in new coal plants.

With revenues heavily impacted by COVID-19, Sumitomo Corporation announced to investors in May that it would “execute drastic structural reforms for each of our businesses and the Sumitomo Corporation Group as a whole, including the review of our strategies on portfolio management for increasing corporate value and the enhancement of sustainability management.” The revised sustainability and climate policies (Japanese) were long on rhetoric but short on action.

“On climate change, Sumitomo continues to resist making actual change,” said Roger Smith, Japan Project Manager for Mighty Earth. “Despite crashing coal prices, low energy demand, and an international movement towards ‘green recoveries,’ Sumitomo is doubling down on fossil fuels. Sumitomo needs to exit coal and end their involvement in coal plants, including Matarbari in Bangladesh where they lead the construction.”

“Sumitomo released a climate policy in August 2019 that has been proven to be largely meaningless,” said Smith. “The policy has loopholes that allow Sumitomo to continue building new coal plants it deems ‘essential,’ including dirty projects that should be abandoned, like the Van Phong I coal plant in Vietnam. Their policy doesn’t even cover building coal plants for other companies, like the Matarbari coal plants in Bangladesh.”

This week Sumitomo amended their climate policy to include a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, which would cover its energy businesses, but left in loopholes allowing them to continue to develop coal. The actions Sumitomo takes now will determine whether or not they can reduce their emissions in time.

“Sumitomo set a date to reduce emissions that is 30 years in the future without interim goals or even a timeline to develop a plan. This is too little, too late,” said Smith. “Sumitomo needs to amend their policy to completely shut the door on new coal and phase out existing coal plants globally by 2040 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

"Bangladeshi people have as much right to clean energy and clean air as people in Japan, but Sumitomo Corporation’s climate policy loophole risks locking in decades more polluting coal power," stated Munira Chowdhury, Bangladeshi citizen and Analyst for Market Forces (an affiliate project of Friends of the Earth Australia).

"Pollution from the Matarbari Coal Plant (Phase 1) is estimated to cause up to 18,000 premature deaths during its operational years," said Hasan Mehedi, Member Secretary, Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED). "Bangladesh’s air quality has already been ranked among the worst in the world. I think Japanese citizens would be outraged to know their tax money will end up hurting and even killing people in Bangladesh."

Environmental organizations with the international No Coal Japan coalition published a “10 Reasons Why Sumitomo’s Matarbari Coal Plant is a Terrible Idea” about the over-budget, behind schedule Matarbari project in advance of Sumitomo’s AGM, with heavy promotion on social media.

“Everyone knows the Matarbari Coal Plant is an overbudget, shortsighted boondoggle,” said Smith. “For Sumitomo to double down and be involved in building a second Matarbari Coal Plant is baffling.”

"There is already enough electricity, and renewable energy is cheaper than coal in Bangladesh,” said Yuki Tanabe, a program director for Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES). “The Government of Japan should not provide aid support for the climate-destroying Matarbari phase 2 project, and Sumitomo should not participate in any additional construction."

Sumitomo had previously told investors that the company would “continue to closely monitor international efforts and changes in the business environment, and will revise the [climate] policy as appropriate,” leading to speculation that the company would announce concrete new actions in 2020.

“We are disappointed Sumitomo has failed to show greater leadership on climate change. The COVID-19 crisis provided a perfect opportunity to dump unprofitable coal businesses and pivot to clean energy. It’s time for Sumitomo’s investors to ask when company leadership will issue their roadmap to exit coal,” concluded Smith.


Ten Reasons Why Sumitomo's Matarbari Coal Plant is a Terrible Idea

A climate disaster in the form of an over-budget, behind-schedule boondoggle

Bangladesh, already at the mercy of climate change’s rising sea levels and increasingly severe tropical cyclones, has turned to Japan for help building its energy infrastructure. But despite Bangladesh’s commitment to using 100 percent renewable energy, the Japanese government and Sumitomo Corporation are proceeding with the construction of a new coal power plant in Matarbari, next to Bangladesh’s major coastal tourist area. Unbelievably, Japan’s government is considering whether to finance yet another coal plant in Matarbari.

The first Matarbari coal plant is a disaster – it is expensive, a bad investment, and an embarrassment to Sumitomo and Japan. Here are ten reasons why a second plant should never see the light of day.

The Matarbari coal project is:

1. A mismanaged money pit
The project was already 30% over budget and at least a year behind schedule before the global pandemic hit.1 In a desperate bid to defray the project’s high costs, Japan is considering doubling-down on a bad investment and building an additional coal plant in Matarbari.2 Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to decide whether to proceed with an additional plant this summer.

2. Destroying the value of the “Made in Japan” label
For decades, “Made in Japan” has long meant precision craftsmanship at reasonable prices, but that is not what Sumitomo Corporation is planning for Bangladesh. The Matarbari coal plant units 1 & 2 will use unnecessarily polluting technology that would never be allowed in Japan, polluting up to 21 times the amount of SO2 and 10 times the amount of deadly particles than an average new coal plant in Japan.3 Why is Japan dumping dirty technologies in developing countries?

 

Matarbari Van Phong I Japan (median emissions 25 units post 2012)
820 mg/Nm3 for SO2 360 SO2 38mg/Nm3 SO2
460 mg/Nm3 for NOx 300 NOx 54 mg/Nm3 NOx
50 mg/Nm3 for particulate matter 47 mg/Nm3 for particulate matter 5mg/Nm3 for particulate matter

 

3. Bad for health
The excessive pollution from the Matarbari coal plant units 1 & 2 would put nearby communities significantly over WHO health guidelines for concentrations of air pollution. Air pollution contributes to respiratory diseases and even premature death.4 The construction of additional coal plants would further pollute the air and water.

4. A dirty debt trap
The Matarbari coal plant units 1 & 2 resulted from a non-competitive bidding process, a sweetheart deal that includes up-front financing from the Japanese government and construction carried out by Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese company.5 Japan’s assistance comes at a price -- local media reported the cost of electricity from this plant is anticipated to be excessively high due to the construction delays, cost overruns and related coal infrastructure needed. If Japan doubles down on this project to try to defray costs, it would lock Bangladeshis into a high debt, high carbon and high pollution future.

5. More expensive than renewable energy alternatives
Japan could use its technological knowhow to help Bangladesh transition to a clean, renewable energy future. Energy analysts found that solar power would not only be cleaner, but also a far cheaper approach than coal for Bangladesh, with the levelized electricity cost of solar PV estimated at $91/MWh (USD) compared to an average coal cost of $110/MWh,6 and the Matarbari Units 1 & 2 reported to produce electricity at a staggering $135/MWh (or 13.5 cents/KWh).7 Bangladeshi ratepayers should not be saddled with high energy costs when their country has an abundance of solar potential.

6. A source of new climate changing emissions in a nation vulnerable to climate impacts
Matarbari Units 1 & 2 are under construction, with the Japanese government considering financing two more coal units. This is ironic, as Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially sea level rise and flooding, and has joined countries in similar circumstances as part of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

7. Bad for workers
Bangladeshi news sources have reported that construction workers for Matarbari Units 1 & 2 went on strike after being forced to work during a national lockdown for COVID-19.8 Sumitomo Corporation should ensure that its partners and contractors respect workers’ rights and health, especially during a global pandemic. This double-standard is especially hypocritical as Sumitomo Corporation’s 4000 Japanese employees were directed to work from home starting on March 1,9 well before a state of emergency was declared for the Tokyo region on April 7, 2020. Sadly, this behavior is unsurprising, as Sumitomo has weaker protections for human rights than its Japanese trading company peers10 and only established a basic human rights policy this May.11

8. Against Japan’s climate commitments
Japan’s participation in the Paris Agreement led the Cabinet to adopt a policy in 2019 to develop infrastructure which helps contribute to global reductions of CO2 emissions. It is inconsistent for the Japanese government and Japanese companies like Sumitomo continue to build coal plants abroad. Furthermore, as Bangladesh has affordable clean energy alternatives, the proposed Matarbari coal plant does not meet the test laid out in Japan’s Fifth Strategic Energy Plan (2018) that new coal would be considered: “only for countries that have no choice but to select coal as a key source of energy from the viewpoints of energy security and economic efficiency.”12

9. Bad for local residents
Densely populated, an estimated 90,000 people lived on Matarbari and relied upon shrimp farming and salt cultivation for their livelihoods. That changed in 2013 when communities were forced into a land acquisition process for 5,000 acres to make way for the new coal plants and related coal infrastructure. A survey of residents found many were unable to take part in compensation programs, not provided with alternative employment, and left without their place of work or homes.13 Advocates note that these delays in compensation, alternate housing, and employment do not meet the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations.14

10. Bad for the tourist economy
Matarbari Island, the site of the project, lies near Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, an area beloved by tourists for its natural beauty, long sandy shorelines, wildlife sanctuaries, marine reserve, and national parks.15 Air pollution and water pollution from these new coal plants threaten the long-term viability of Cox’s Bazar as a tourist destination and damage the potential for future economic development.

The world is watching to see what Japan will do. Will Bangladeshis be locked into a dirty debt trap with high electricity prices, high air pollution and high global warming pollution? A coalition of organizations in Japan, Bangladesh and across the world are calling upon on the Japanese government to reject financing for a second coal plant at Matarbari.16 For the sake of the company’s reputation, Sumitomo Corporation should withdraw from its role managing and building the Matarbari coal plants.

Sign our petition and tell Sumitomo to be a climate leader, not part of the problem

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[1] “Matarbari Power doesn’t bother to disclose Tk10,000cr cost hike.” The Business Standard. Dec. 21, 2019. https://tbsnews.net/bangladesh/energy/matarbari-power-doesnt-bother-disclose-tk10000cr-cost-hike

[2] “Plan to construct 2nd power plant to reduce cost of Matarbari project.” Energy Bangla.  May 31, 2019.
http://energybangla.com/plan-to-construct-2nd-power-plant-to-reduce-cost-of-matarbari-project/

[3] Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Greenpeace Japan. A Deadly Double Standard — How Japan’s Financing of Highly Polluting Overseas Coal Plants Endangers Public Health. Aug. 20, 2019. p 19. https://www.greenpeace.org/southeastasia/publication/2887/double-standard-how-japans-financing-of-highly-polluting-overseas-coalplants-endangers-public-health/

[4] A Deadly Double Standard. p. 23, 24.

[5] The tourist capital of Bangladesh is endangered by plans to build the largest coal power hub in the world. p. 24

[6] Shirashi, Kenji, Daniel Kammen, et. al. "Identifying High Priority Clean Energy Investment Opportunities for Bangladesh." International Centre for Climate Change and Development. Feb. 18, 2018. p. 2. http://www.icccad.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Identifying_investment_Opportunities-for-clean-energy-options-in-Bangladesh.pdf

[7] “Plan to construct 2nd power plant to reduce cost of Matarbari project.”

[8] Samakal News link

[9] Sumitomo Corporation. “Announcement of Work from Home for All Employees” (COVID-19 countermeasure) News Release. https://www.sumitomocorp.com/ja/jp/news/important/group/20200228

[10] Human Rights Now. “Survey Results and Report Regarding 7 General Trading Companies’ Human Rights Policy and Implementation Status.” Feb. 2020.
Japanese: http://hrn.or.jp/news/17225/
English overview: https://hrn.or.jp/eng/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/HRN-Report-on-Japanese-Trading-Companies-and-Human-Rights.pdf

[11] https://www.sumitomocorp.com/en/jp/sustainability/csr#02

[12] Fifth Strategic Energy Plan (Provisional Translation), July 2018. p. 72. https://www.enecho.meti.go.jp/en/category/others/basic_plan/5th/pdf/strategic_energy_plan.pdf

[13] The tourist capital of Bangladesh is endangered by plans to build the largest coal power hub in the world. p. 23-26

[14] Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES). “Factsheet: Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project (Bangladesh).” Aug. 2019. https://sekitan.jp/jbic/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Matarbari-Factsheet-20190801_EG.pdf

[15] Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Waterkeepers Bangladesh. The tourist capital of Bangladesh is endangered by plans to build the largest coal power hub in the world. Nov. 2019. p. 2, 13.

[16] “Demand letter to the PM Abe: Don’t finance the phase 2 of Matarbari coal-fired power project in Bangladesh” No Coal Japan website. Apr. 6, 2020. http://www.nocoaljapan.org/demand-letter-to-the-pm-abe-dont-finance-the-phase2-of-matarbari-in-bangladesh/


Global Protests Call on Mitsubishi Corporation to Stop Investing in Coal Power

Climate activists around the world rally in front of Mitsubishi to stop the Vung Ang 2 coal power plant.

Tokyo -- Mitsubishi Corporation is the target of a global action highlighting its plans to build new coal-fired power stations and drive climate change. Today in front of Mitsubishi Corporation’s headquarters in Japan as well as its offices in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States, climate activists are calling on the company to end its involvement in all coal projects, and specifically, to withdraw from the controversial Vung Ang 2 coal plant proposed in Vietnam.

“We are facing a climate crisis with devastating impacts from extreme weather destroying lives and livelihoods. The global community cannot afford another coal power plant built by Mitsubishi,” said Meg Fukuzawa, energy finance campaigner at Market Forces.

Vung Ang 2 has been in recent spotlight as the project’s only other sponsor, China Light and Power, announced a new decarbonization policy and withdrew in an effort to tackle climate change. Despite a sustained wave of international criticism, Mitsubishi has refused to do the same.

“It is a shame that in the midst of the climate crisis, Mitsubishi Corporation intends to build more dirty coal power plants. In 2018, the IPCC stated that to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must reduce emissions 45% by 2030. With just ten years remaining to make deep pollution cuts, there is no time to build new coal plants. Now is a time for action and Mitsubishi Corporation, other large corporations, and governments around the world must phase out coal and hasten the transition to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director, Roger Smith.

“Powerful companies such as Mitsubishi are critical in shifting from coal, the largest driver of climate change, to renewable energy. But the first step is to stop building new coal power, such as the controversial Vung Ang 2 coal plant in Vietnam,” said Ayumi Fukakusa of Friends of the Earth Japan.

Japan’s export credit agency, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is currently considering financing this project as well, although it does not meet the conditions set by the Japanese government in its Fifth Strategic Energy Plan. Owing to the continued controversy raised by Vung Ang 2 and other coal finance, Japan is considering tightening its requirements for financing its exports of coal power overseas and hopes to release a new policy by June 2020.

"We demand Mitsubishi and the Japanese government halt all its coal financing plans in Asia. As the one of the biggest financiers of coal development in the region, Japan is an enabler of Asia’s coal addiction,” said Asian Peoples’ Movement of Debt and Development (APMDD) Coordinator Lidy Nacpil.


New Investigation: Sumitomo Corporation’s Dirty Energy Investments Highlight Japan’s Failure to Act on Climate

New Investigation: Sumitomo Corporation’s Dirty Energy Investments Highlight Japan’s Failure to Act on Climate

As the international community gathers in Madrid to discuss next steps in the fight against global climate change, a new report is exposing how Japan’s policies are empowering a major corporation that embraces and invests in dirty energy sources like coal and biomass. Mighty Earth’s new report, “Sumitomo Corporation’s Dirty Energy Trade: Biomass, Coal, and Japan’s Future,” illustrates how the massive, Tokyo-based trading company lies at the heart of global coal and biomass networks that mine, chop, finance, ship, and burn the most destructive fuels on Earth. From the American southeast to British Columbia to Vietnam, Sumitomo Corporation is putting global forests at risk to generate electricity for Japan.

“Sumitomo Corporation is moving Japan backwards on climate both at home and abroad,” said Roger Smith, Japan Project Manager at Mighty Earth. “At a time when other countries are negotiating deeper emissions cuts, Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation instead is deepening the problem by continuing to invest in the dirtiest sources of fuel.”

Mighty Earth is calling on Sumitomo Corporation to immediately adopt and implement a ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation’ (NDPE) policy and make a public commitment to end involvement in all coal generation and mining of thermal coal globally by 2030.

An Unrepentant Polluter – Sumitomo Corporation’s Coal Business

Sumitomo Corporation has played a pivotal role facilitating coal imports to Japan. And now, as the climate crisis increasingly dominates international headlines, Japan is the only G7 nation still adding to its domestic coal generation. Sumitomo is a key part of this trend; the company continues to own and invest in coal mines, through which it supplies Japan with more than 6 million tons of coal each year.

Sumitomo is also at the forefront of the construction of dirty coal plants abroad. The company is currently building new, polluting coal-fired power plants in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. One of the coal plants Sumitomo is linked to – the Van Phong 1 plant in Vietnam – is particularly controversial as its construction is expected to contribute to approximately 1,900 premature deaths from air pollution over its period of operations.

“Even in the Japanese market where progress on clean energy is moving at a snail’s pace, Sumitomo Corporation is lagging behind its peers.  Through its policy riddled with loopholes, Sumitomo has left itself the space to push ahead any number of coal power stations, including the Van Phong 1 coal power station in Vietnam, a project up to nine times more polluting than the average new build in Japan. The company is also expanding coal power in Bangladesh with two new 1200 MW coal power stations.” said Julien Vincent, Executive Director of Market Forces.

“Building a coal power station in 2019 is foolhardy, when scientific experts agree that to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, we can’t build any more coal power. With international investors increasingly viewing coal as a stranded asset and moving finance out of the sector, many will question why Sumitomo continues to pursue these risky deals.”

Trashing Forests for Fuel – Sumitomo Corporation’s Biomass Business

Japan’s soaring consumption of wood biomass is a crisis in the making. The amount of wood pellets imported into Japan to burn for electricity increased five-fold between 2014 and 2017, placing Japan among the top consumers of wood biomass. Protecting existing forests, which store carbon from the atmosphere, is essential to combating the climate crisis. Increased logging for biomass degrades natural forests and results in forests turned into carbon-poor tree plantations. This process of chopping down trees abroad, processing the wood, and shipping them across oceans to Japan requires the burning of large amounts of fossil fuels.

Sumitomo Corporation is Japan’s leading importer of wood pellets and wood chips, both of which are burned for electricity. Sumitomo has a 55 percent market share of imported wood pellets. The company states that it intends to control 40 percent – 1.6 million tons – of all imported biomass fuel by 2021.

In 2017, Sumitomo Corporation acquired a 48 percent share of Canadian-based biomass producer Pacific BioEnergy, raising concerns about increased logging in the delicate Boreal forests of British Columbia. Sumitomo also contracts for wood pellets with Enviva Partners, a company tied to the logging of critically endangered forests in the Southeastern United States. In North Carolina and other southeastern states, foreign demand for wood pellets has placed additional pressure on an already highly degraded landscape.

“Forests of the Southern US are not only important to communities, but they are the world’s most biologically-diverse temperate forests,” Dogwood Alliance Campaign Director Rita Frost said. “These forests are under immense threat from logging caused by the wood pellet biomass industry, led by Enviva. Enviva’s logging is enabled by overseas companies, like Sumitomo, and will lead to further degradation and loss of our forests. We call on Sumitomo to end their use of imported wood pellets from the Southern United States. Our forests aren’t fuel.”

Climate Laggards

While Sumitomo released a climate policy in August of 2019, it fell overwhelmingly short. While the company pledged not to develop new coal-fired plants, they allowed a glaring loophole for plants deemed to be “essential”, explicitly exempting the Van Phong I project. The policy also lacks a plan or timeline to phase-out coal plants or production of thermal coal. Sumitomo Corporation cannot both be committed to alleviating climate change and also involved in the expansion of coal generation.

Sumitomo has an opportunity to be a climate champion by developing truly clean energy,” said Smith. “Climate change is a crisis that affects our entire world, and we need companies like Sumitomo to lead the way toward solutions. Actions, not just their words, are what matter.”

Mighty Earth and its partners are calling on Sumitomo to develop a detailed implementation plan to exit from coal generation and thermal coal mining by their 2020 annual general meeting, move away from imported forest-derived biomass as a fuel source, adopt a company-wide “No Deforestation, No Exploitation” commitment to forest sustainability, and shift investments into truly clean renewable energy sources.


Petition: Tell Sumitomo Corporation to Be a Climate Leader

Sumitomo Corporation, one of the largest companies in Japan, is making climate change worse by building new polluting coal-fired power plants in Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh, with at least 5 GW of new coal power planned or under construction globally. Sumitomo also owns and invests in coal mines, through which it supplies Japan with more than 6 million tons of thermal and metallurgical coal each year.

Additionally, Sumitomo Corporation is Japan’s leading importer of wood pellets and wood chips, which are burned for electricity. Japan’s soaring consumption of wood biomass is worsening climate change by increasing the intensity of logging in natural forests, accelerating the conversion of natural forests to tree plantations, and contributing to new deforestation. Sumitomo Corporation also imports biomass from various suppliers in Vietnam, even though Vietnam has a poor track record of importing and processing illegally logged wood from Africa and Southeast Asia and also presenting fraudulent certifications for wood biomass.

Sign the petition today and tell Sumitomo to end forest destruction and make the transition to clean renewable energy sources.