Sony and the WWF jointly held the Climate Savers Tokyo Summit 2008 in the second floor auditorium at the Sony headquarters building in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on February 15, 2008.
The Climate Savers program is implemented by companies that enter an agreement with the WWF to reduce their CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute target amount. A third-party organization verifies that the declared target figures have been achieved. At the recent Tokyo Summit 2008, 12 companies (mainly program participants) signed the Tokyo Declaration, which specifies the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved to that point and announces the intention to embark on additional ambitious measures. The Declaration affirms the necessity to hold the rise in the world's average atmospheric temperature to less than 2°C more than the level before the Industrial Revolution in order to avert the crisis caused by climate change. They further declare that, for that purpose, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced 50% or more by the year 2050. Emissions are expected to reach a peak in the coming 10 to 15 years, and the Declaration confirms the necessity to reduce emissions promptly after that point.
Goal Achieved, Sony Takes the Next Step
One of the major aims of the recent summit was to further strengthen current measures taken by the member companies and to make those measures known to the public. By presenting examples of successes achieved and new objectives adopted, the members appealed to the business community at large, communicating across industry sectors to attract more companies to join them in preventing global warming.
Taking into account this background, Sony Chairman and CEO Howard Stringer gave a keynote address in which he touched on the goals Sony had pursued and the results achieved so far. He reaffirmed Sony's determination to "actively seek a leading role in the worldwide expansion of activities to prevent global warming."
When Sony initially joined Climate Savers in July 2006, it had four major objectives. The first was to reduce the absolute amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the Sony Group as a whole by 7% relative to fiscal 2000, and to do this by fiscal year 2010. The second was to lower the annual amount of electric power consumed by Sony products, and therefore to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted when customers use the products. The third was to cooperate with the WWF in communicating with the public on the prevention of global warming. The fourth was to support the WWF's view that the average rise in atmospheric temperature should be no more than 2°C.
Sony has pursued these objectives with active energy-saving measures. Sony headquarters itself, which was the venue for the recent summit, is estimated to be capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40% compared to ordinary buildings. Sony has also improved the energy efficiency at manufacturing sites, promoted the adoption of wind power, solar power, and other green electric power, and made other full-scale efforts of various kinds. As a result, it has succeeded in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 9%, which is substantially more than the target value, and accomplished this two years earlier than the target of fiscal year 2010.
Stringer stated that Sony's focus for the future would be on "doing what only Sony can do, as a company that has introduced lifestyle-changing products such as the Walkman." He reaffirmed the policy of strengthening efforts in Sony's core areas of business, by "taking full advantage of the capabilities and technologies Sony has in introducing new technologies, products, and services, in order to make suggestions to the next generation for sustainable lifestyles that impose less of a burden on the environment."
Stringer also remarked that there would be "advantages to further expanding the framework of the measures taken so far to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for example, reevaluating Sony's physical distribution, improving efficiency of its products, and looking for ways to save energy by collaborating with a variety of industries across a broad range of fields." He also called for participation and collaboration by more companies, including those taking part in the program, as well as the strengthening of their participation and collaboration, as he emphasized that "now is the only time we have available for initiating action to address future crises."
Tokyo Declaration Engenders Anticipation and Responsibility
Following Howard Stringer, James Leape, Director General of WWF International, delivered his keynote remarks. Referring to Stringer's comment, he observed that "climate change has come to seem a familiar part of our reality, and it is a threat that affects not only the natural environment but also the economic environment." He continued, saying "for that reason, efforts by individual companies will be a key to resolving the issue," and called on companies to be aware of the responsibilities ensuing from their actions.
At the same time, he pointed out that great hopes were being placed in the leadership of those companies that had signed the Tokyo Declaration. "The Tokyo Declaration announcement that the average atmospheric temperature rise would be kept down to under 2°C is of great significance." He said that this summit "would turn out to be an important day for informing the public at large, as well as large numbers of companies throughout the world, about the possibility of the shift to a low-carbon society."
For those companies considering joining Climate Savers at some time in the future, he further emphasized the advantages to be had from engaging in program activities. These include the greater clarity of their positioning as companies due to the greater transparency in their activities, and the potential of such activities as a tool for communication with society. He encouraged them to "join hands and take up the challenge together."
Prompt Measures as a Way to Victory
In addition to the keynote addresses, Tokyo Summit 2008 featured presentations and panel discussions on the successes experienced by companies participating in the Tokyo Declaration. These occasioned vigorous exchanges of views on what they as companies could do about climate change.
Especially noteworthy was the fact that all of the companies participating in the summit reached this shared understanding: "The companies that intensify their actions to reduce greenhouse gases will be capable of victory on the business scene as well."
In this context, it became clear that companies must treat measures against global warming as an integral part of business. This is an essential condition for future business activity. The companies taking part in the program are continuously working harder, voluntarily setting their goals higher and increasing the transparency of their activities. This without doubt will lead to success in business. Sony continues to believe that action taken more promptly will lead to results that are correspondingly and conspicuously improved. The company therefore plans to take action, together with a growing circle of stakeholders, which will move it closer to resolution of our environmental problems.