Skip to Content Back to home Skip to Navigation
Japan: Time to Accelerate Climate Action

February 2020


The number and scale of global companies committed to taking action on climate change is growing every week, with more than 1,190 companies now committed to one or more of the We Mean Business coalition partners’ initiatives. This represents nearly US$25 trillion in combined market capitalization and includes over 100 Japanese companies. A growing number of these companies – now over 180 worldwide – are committed to cutting emissions across their value chains in line with the goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. 

These companies remain firmly committed to the Paris Agreement, recognizing that achieving its goals is essential for prosperous business growth and the wellbeing of their employees and customers. It is also evident that the success of the Paris Agreement requires a clear and consistent policy framework from governments. Policy clarity and ambition will give companies and investors the confidence to invest decisively in zero-carbon solutions in economies around the world. 

2020 is the year in which all the signatory countries of the Paris Agreement are expected to formally communicate updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs). We applaud the government of Japan’s efforts to increase climate risk disclosure and the implementation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), as well as its continued commitment to the Paris Agreement in trade discussions with Europe. 

Taking this opportunity to update and strengthen its NDC ambitiously is critical to drive the near-term action needed to close the gap between the current emissions trajectory and the goals of the Paris Agreement. In order to achieve a smooth and rapid transition toward the Paris goal of striving to limit warming to 1.5ºC, leading economies need to chart a clear path to getting there with their NDCs. Not doing so is a missed opportunity and leaves investors and companies guessing, and unsure of how to plan. 

The global business community has high expectations for Japan in this regard. Many global businesses have operations in Japan and see it as an important market. In order to attract investment and remain competitive in the global market, Japan must set a clear course to a thriving zero-carbon economy, by strengthening its NDC with strong targets and clear policies to unleash business investment and innovation. It is essential to inform business decisions, encourage the strategic planning and creativity that will help to build a zero-emissions and climate-resilient future, and avoid stranded assets and mis-investments. 

This should include: 

  • A strong update to the economy-wide 2030 domestic emissions reductions targets in line with science 
  • Clear targets for the full decarbonization of the power sector including rapid phase out of coal power 
  • Clear plans for decarbonizing heavy industry including the steel sector 
  • Policy measures to ensure Japan’s workforce and citizens undergo a just transition 
  • And, in order to be a true global leader, the NDC should include a commitment to aligning overseas investment and financing with Paris, including an end to coal financing. 

Strengthening NDCs and 2030 targets in line with a just transition to a 1.5ºC trajectory gives companies and investors the information they need to invest in solutions. In doing so, they can help to create new jobs and economic benefits alongside the health and environmental benefits of reducing emissions. 

Businesses in Japan and around the world stand ready to work with the government of Japan to collectively increase climate action, helping to drive the system-wide change needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals. 


The We Mean Business coalition 

We Mean Business (WMB) is a coalition of non-profit organizations working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. WMB has seven founding partners: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Together we catalyse business leadership to drive policy ambition and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Back to top