(tentative translation)

Keidanren Appeal on Environment

-- Declaration on Voluntary Action of Japanese Industry Directed
at Conservation of Global Environment in the 21st Century --

July 16, 1996

Five years have passed since Keidanren instituted the Global Environment Charter. During this period, we have deepened our concern about environmental protection and taken positive steps, both at home and abroad, to tackle the matter. Nonetheless, the environmental issue, including global warming, has become increasingly serious in recent years.

For instance, countries concerned are required, under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, to target the stabilization of the gross carbon dioxide volume at 1990 level in the year 2000, but the volume has rather shown an uptrend in Japan. As for waste disposal, the Law for Promoting of Sorted Collection and Recyclying of Containers and Packaging has been enacted as a step toward the establishment of a recycle-based society. The realization of such a community, however, calls for a basic change in the mode of conception, a change that targets "resources" or "byproducts" instead of "waste." On the other hand, there is a growing international mood for environmental management and auditing, with the ISO14000 series, a voluntary international standard in the private sector, scheduled to take effect this fall.

With the 21st century dawning in just a few years, it is the hope of everyone to hand a well-protected environment and its blessings on to next generations. We should restructure the "throw-away civilization" that leads to the waste of resources and achieve "sustainable development" so as to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As key words to employ in our efforts in that direction, we therefore attach importance to these three goals --

  1. reconfirmation of "environmental ethics" for individuals and organizations to honor,
  2. realization of "eco-efficiency," a factor needed to reduce the environmental load through improved technology and economic efficiency and
  3. tightening of "voluntary efforts" to cope with the environmental issue.

Motivated by this concept, we declare that, in the spirit of the Keidanren Global Environment Charter, which states that grappling with environmental problems is essential to corporate existence and activities, we will take a voluntary, resolute and responsible approach in dealing with important tasks existing in the environmental field.

In facing up to these problems, we essentially need partnership with companies, consumers, citizens, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and the government. Everyone should be well aware of being a "global citizen." So should every company be aware of being a "global corporate citizen" and act in concert with the government, consumers, citizens and NGOs.

In order to awaken the people to such necessity, it is effective for enterprises to promote education on the environmental problem and positively tackle environmental enlightenment activities both inside and outside companies.

In the hope of thinking and acting together with the government, consumers, citizens and NGOs as "global corporate citizens" we will transmit this declaration through the Internet and ask for their views on our program. We intend to reflect the comments and opinions thus expressed in mapping out industry-wise voluntary action plans aimed at protecting the global environment.

Measures in Four Urgent Issues

  1. Measures to Cope with Global Warming
  2. Making it a basic policy to review the "throw-away economy," structure a recycle-based society and improve energy efficiency and carbon utilization efficiency, we aim to maintain the world's paramount level of environmental technology. We also aim to improve energy utilization efficiency on a global scale through transfer of appropriate technology to developing countries.

    Concrete Methods

    1. Preparing industry-wise voluntary action plans incorporating definite goals and steps toward enhancement of energy efficiency, and periodically reviewing the progress of such actions;
    2. Recovery and utilization of heat exhausted from cities and industries, reduction of natural energy costs, improvement of utilization efficiency of fossil fuels through co-generation and compound generation, and the safe, effective utilization of atomic energy;
    3. Improvement of energy efficiency through inter-industry collaboration based on the life-cycle assessment (LCA) concept,
    4. Improve transport efficiency,
    5. Cooperation in coping with global warming in the residential and commercial sector through development of energy-saving products;
    6. Positive participation in "activities implemented jointly" to transfer technology to developing countries in close cooperation with the government; and
    7. Promotion of forest protection and afforestation projects in developing countries through business corporations themselves and the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund.

  3. Structuring of Recycle-Based Society
  4. In order to review the throw-away-type economic community where resources are liable to be wasted and convert it into a recycle-based society , we will work on "cleaner production," designed to attain optimum efficiency in all the processes from product design to disposal. At the same time, we will revise the conventional concept of "garbage" and treat waste as a valuable resource, transcending the boundaries of individual industries. We will thus address recycling as the most important task in corporate management and make a systematic approach toward reduction of waste and recycling.

    Concrete Methods

    1. Controlling the incidence of waste and re-utilizing it from the viewpoint of life-cycle assessment (LCA) and developing products with full consideration given to the degree of recyclability and disposability (e.g. review of the frequency of product restyling);
    2. Disposal of waste products by appropriate methods;
    3. Structuring systems for recovery and disposal of waste products;
    4. Use of waste products as raw materials by developing waste disposal technology through inter-industry collaboration;
    5. Simplification of packaging and promotion of recycling; and
    6. Positive introduction of products with lesser environmental load and recyclable products.

  5. Restructuring of Environmental Management System & Environmental Auditing
  6. We will structure an environmental management system in an effort to address the environmental problem voluntarily, ensure its continuous improvement and perform internal auditing to confirm that the system will steadily work. Keidanren has positively participated in the formulation of the ISO environmental management and auditing standards, scheduled to come into effect this fall. It is recommended that Japanese industries, manufacturing or non-manufacturing, should utilize the standards as an effective means of environmental improvement.

    Concrete Methods

    1. Prompt introduction of environmental management and auditing systems into corporations (e.g. appointment of an executive in charge of environmental problems, creation of an environmental department and enforcement of internal auditing);
    2. Implementation of environemntal management and auditing in conformity with the ISO standards or taking steps that correspond thereto, and
    3. Playing an active role in the making of environmental labeling, assessment of environmental performance and LCA international standards under ISO.

  7. Environmental Considerations in Evolving Overseas Projects
  8. International business activities by Japanese enterprises, such as overseas production and developmental imports, are rapidly spreading from the manufacturing industry to banking, physical distribution and service sectors. We will give closer attention to the environment in stepping up and diversifying business activities overseas, as well as observe the "Ten-Point-Environmental Guidelines for the Japanese Enterprises Operating Abroad" incorporated in the Keidanren Global Environment Charter.

In conclusion, we reaffirm the importance and urgency of every industrialist being a "global citizen," and express also as citizens our determination to innovate our lifestyle toward the goal of "sustainable development."

Please give us comments or suggestions on Keidanren Appeal and Voluntary Action Plans,if possible, with your name, organization and age.
In advance, thank you for your cooperation.

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