Biodiversity

Biodiversity​

Rakuten's Approach

From the variety of agricultural products sold on Rakuten Ichiba to the travel destinations promoted on Rakuten Travel, our products and services are supported by the richness and diversity of natural ecosystems. Those ecosystems are facing a double crisis - climate change and biodiversity loss, both intricately connected to and caused by human activities. Not only does this question the continuity of our businesses, but it also means that the survival of entire communities around the globe is at stake, threatened by critical issues such as food supply insecurity or freshwater shortage.As a company aiming to play a leading role in fighting climate change and committed to addressing our environmental impact, we cannot neglect our potential negative footprint on biodiversity loss. At every step of our value chain, we strive to identify, mitigate and eliminate any adverse impact on ecosystems and help preserve the natural environment.
Our commitment to the protection of biodiversity is formalized in our Group Environmental Policy here.

Strategy

In our pursuit of providing sustainable platforms and services with a positive impact on society and the environment, our actions against climate change play an essential role, which is not without having beneficial effects on the natural environment. Both Group-wide policies and service-level initiatives that tackle the characteristics of each industry encompassed by the Rakuten Ecosystem are necessary. At Rakuten, the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) resource management method is used as a simple yet effective approach to help reduce materials that end up in landfills.

Efficient use of the available natural resources through our value chains enables us to achieve lean business operations while reducing our potential negative environmental impact. But it's by leveraging our position as an online platform provider that we can drive widescale change, engaging with millions of consumers and thousands of business partners of all sizes.

We aim to positively influence our stakeholders, not only through the implementation of strict ethical standards but also by highlighting the innovative practices adopted by our partners.

Management System

We have streamlined Group-wide implementation systems and reporting lines for environmental matters.The Sustainability Committee holds monthly Environment Subcommittee meetings, in which members seek to break down environmental-related measures into concrete actions to be taken by each organization. Our progress is reported to the Board quarterly.

Group Sustainability Commitee

E-Commerce Businesses

Rakuten is involved in the e-commerce business in various ways: as a B2B2C*1 platformer and C2C*2 platformer, a first-party retailer and a logistics service provider. Our related Group companies thus address the issue of biodiversity and natural resources from multiple angles.

*1 B2B2C: an e-commerce model where intermediary platforms or services connect customers with businesses.
*2 C2C: an e-commerce model where intermediary platforms or services connect private individuals together.

Environmentally-friendly packaging

The stakeholder concerns around single-use packaging is growing as the world embraces more convenient online shopping experiences. To ignite a fundamental change, and ensure the best customer experience and sustainable product delivery, we are committed to using the most minimal, optimally-sized packages according to the dimension of the products they contain. In our deliveries across Japan, we utilize shipping boxes made from 90 to 95% recycled paper and cushioning solutions made from eco-friendly materials.

Banning Unethical Practices: Wildlife Trade Restrictions

Rakuten follows all local and relevant international laws on animals and wildlife, including international conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and comprehensive regulations such as Japan's Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.In addition to these laws, Rakuten's marketplace policy - covering services such as Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuma - also prohibits the sale of certain wildlife products, including those which use whale, dolphin, ivory and sea turtle.We are committed to working with our merchant partners to ensure their businesses are conducted ethically, and their products on our e-commerce marketplaces are sourced and produced with due consideration to biodiversity. Merchants not adhering to these guidelines may be subject to financial and other penalties.

Highlighting Best Practices: Sustainable Production and Consumption

Rakuten follows all local and relevant international laws on animals and wildlife, including international conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Promoting Circular Economies: Second-hand Marketplaces

More and more consumers seek ways to contribute to the circular economy by changing their shopping habits. Among our e-commerce platforms, which all provide second-hand products, our C2C marketplace Rakuma is one of the most involved in raising awareness of responsible consumption and helping our shoppers enjoy a sustainable purchasing experience.
Our initiatives go beyond Japan. Rakuten France is another global market pioneer in establishing a circular economy model. Two-thirds of the goods sold on its e-commerce platform, amounting to fifty million in total, are pre-owned items. To provide a better understanding of the positive impacts of thrift shopping, we studied our 150 product categories and displayed the CO2 footprint for the new product purchases. Our customers can then compare the CO2 impact when purchasing pre-owned goods to that of the same product in mint condition.

Case Study

Sustainable Organic Farming with Rakuten Farm

Our agriculture service, Rakuten Farm, which operates a store on Rakuten Ichiba, has been trying to normalize organic farming in Japan. Conventional agribusiness practices can potentially harm the ecosystem, farmlands and local biodiversity due to the use of pesticides and mono-cropping. Rakuten wants to leverage its presence in Japan, a country where the ratio of organic farmlands accounts for only 0.3% of total farmlands* and drive change on a local level.
Currently, Rakuten Farm operates in Ehime, Hiroshima, Shizuoka, Yamaguchi, Shimane prefectures, educating and empowering farmers in their transition to organic agriculture. Rakuten Farm also ensures that its operation among factories and processing facilities is as sustainable as possible, meeting the highest standards for food safety, traceability and ethical working conditions.

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*As of 2020

Mobile and E-reader Businesses

As a producer and retailer of electronic devices, our environmental impact can only be reduced through tight engagement with suppliers and consumers for more circular production and consumption practices.

Rakuten Kobo: An Eco-conscious E-reader

In 2022, Rakuten Kobo announced a brand-new Kobo Clara 2E, the first-ever eco-conscious e-reader device made from 85% recycled plastic and 10% ocean plastic. Currently, the revenue from 2021's carbon offsets is directed to the Great Bear Forest Carbon Project, which supports First Nation communities and helps protect British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the world.
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Rakuten Mobile: Promoting Device Reuse and Recycling

As a company that provides telecommunications services, we cannot dismiss the toxic impact of electronic waste on the environment and the precious resources extracted from the Earth. As part of the solution, Rakuten Mobile offers a trade-in service for pre-owned smartphones and tablets on Rakuten's respective e-commerce platforms. After a careful and rigorous inspection process at Rakuten-designated production centers to ensure full functionality, the devices are resold as refurbished products on Rakuma and Rakuten Ichiba. We verify that all personal data on pre-owned devices are deleted at production centers, so customers can trade in their phones anytime without security concerns.
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As a member of the Mobile Recycling Network, a government-led industry network, Rakuten Mobile offers a complimentary service to collect and recycle customers' pre-owned cell phones, battery packs and chargers. This service helps Rakuten recover precious metals such as gold, silver, copper and palladium from those devices.
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Data & Third-Party Assurance