Updated on August 29, 2019
Since the early 1990s, Sony has pursued environmental initiatives in accordance with its environmental principles and targets. In April 2010, Sony announced the "Road to Zero," a new global environmental plan. This plan consists of the Sony Group Environmental Vision and several sets of mid-term environmental targets, which form key milestones on the road to achieving the Vision.
As stated in the Sony Group Environmental Vision, Sony strives to realize a sustainable society by achieving a zero environmental footprint throughout the life cycle of its products and business activities. It is this long-term goal that prompted Sony to name its new global environmental plan "Road to Zero." Under this plan, Sony aims to bring its environmental footprint to zero by 2050 and works to achieve incremental mid-term environmental targets toward this end.
Sony is working toward its goal of having a "zero environmental footprint" by 2050, setting mid-term (5-year) environmental targets progressively backcasted from 2050, and adjusting fiscal year targets based on current achievement levels. This approach will enable Sony to work steadily toward achieving the zero environmental footprint goal, while making ongoing adjustments based on current progress. In 2011, Sony established the Green Management 2015 environmental mid-term targets (fiscal 2011–2015), which was its first step on the road to a zero environmental footprint, achieving almost all of its targets by 2015. Currently, Sony is implementing initiatives to achieve the goals it has set under the Green Management 2020 environmental mid-term targets (fiscal 2016–2020).
Sony's environmental mid-term targets define concrete targets at each stage of the product life cycle, from the four priority perspectives of climate change, resources, chemical substances, and biodiversity. Sony is working with multiple environmental NGOs and experts to gain feedback on Sony's initiatives under each priority perspective.
Sony carries out initiatives under the following policies, which it has outlined for four environmental perspectives of climate change, resources, chemical substances, and biodiversity, in order to achieve its environmental mid-term targets.
Sony strives to achieve zero emissions of greenhouse gases from its business activities and throughout the life cycle of its products and services. Sony sites make it their highest priority to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, use energy more efficiently, and switch to energy sources that generate less greenhouse gas emissions, while also promoting renewable energy use. Sony also develops and supplies energy efficient, environmentally conscious products and services, and works with manufacturing subcontractors and suppliers of components and raw materials in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both directly and indirectly.
Sony seeks to minimize the consumption of resources and maximize resource recycling in order to use resources effectively in its business activities and throughout the life cycle of its products and services, while striving to achieve zero consumption of new materials made from "key resources.*1" Sony minimizes resource consumption by reducing the weight of products and utilizing resources more efficiently in its internal operations. Sony is also working to extend the life of products through quality and durability enhancements, to indirectly reduce resource consumption. In terms of waste, Sony recycles waste generated from internal operations, with the goal of eliminating landfilled waste. Additionally, Sony designs products to facilitate recycling and implements ongoing programs to collect and recycle end-of-life products according to the needs of local communities, while also promoting advanced recycling with recycling companies.
Although water circulates around the earth continuously through the water cycle, the amount of water available for use by the planet's inhabitants is limited. With population growth and other issues putting further pressure on water supplies, the importance of conserving this resource will increase in the years ahead. Taking into account the locations of its sites, as well as regional differences, Sony will continue taking steps to minimize its withdrawal of water and to ensure the water it returns to water sources is of a quality that does not negatively impact the environment.
Recognizing that paper resources are limited, under the Sony Group Paper / Printed Material Purchasing Policy, Sony constantly works to reduce paper consumption while prioritizing the procurement of environmentally preferable paper, such as paper made from resources sourced from certified forests and recycled paper.
Sony endeavors to minimize the risk that chemical substances it uses might cause serious harm to human health and the environment. Chemical substances used in Sony products are suitably managed based on available data including national regulations, toxicity, environmental impacts, applications, and content level in components and products. Sony adopts a precautionary approach and takes steps to identify and strive to eliminate substances considered to be high-risk, even in cases where scientific evidence is insufficient, thereby reducing potential impact on the environment. Sony manages the type and application of chemical substances used at business sites, and for high-risk substances sets criteria for managing each substance to either prohibit their use or reduce emissions or amounts transferred. Sony also prohibits the use of certain substances in manufacturing processes in the supply chain which are restricted under international frameworks because of environmental impacts throughout the life cycle.
Recognizing the importance of natural capital and the ecosystem services it supplies, Sony endeavors to conserve natural capital and biodiversity, both in its business activities and through community initiatives. Sony has identified the following basic principles*2 to guide its initiatives.
Identifying and Addressing Business Risks
Tackling environmental issues is consistent with Sony's commitment to build a sustainable world and is extremely important in terms of its business continuity. Sony endeavors to identify environment-related risks and to prepare to mitigate foreseeable risks. Risks include imposition of carbon taxes, broader regional adoption of emissions trading schemes, regulatory risks such as the introduction of stricter energy-efficiency standards for products, material risks such as abnormal weather events and sea level rise due to climate change, and market changes triggered by shifting consumer attitudes.
Sony believes that tackling environmental issues also leads to business opportunities. For example, the Paris Agreement*1 that emerged from the meeting of COP 21*2 in December 2015 addresses climate change issues, which has increased public awareness and is shifting consumer demand toward products with energy-efficiency features. Sony has already increased the energy efficiency of many of its products. In light of these social trends, demand for energy-efficient products may continue to grow. For instance, Sony manufactures image sensors that deliver high performance and low power consumption, which could lead to broader applications such as for on-board cameras for vehicles.