Rakuten and the environment are inextricably connected. On the one hand, from the variety of products sold on Rakuten Ichiba to the travel destinations promoted on Rakuten Travel, the continuity and quality of our services depend largely on the richness of our natural environment. On the other hand, the operations and infrastructures that support the provision of all our services can have a considerable environmental impact.
That is why Rakuten is committed not only to reducing our adverse environmental impact, but also to leveraging our technologies and culture of innovation to create more environmentally friendly options for our customers.
Among all environmental challenges facing the world, Rakuten considers climate change, resource management and biodiversity to be the most critical issues that we should address. We are aware that our impact is not limited to our direct operations. Opportunities for the protection and improvement of the environment exist along our entire value chain, and we strive to seize them by engaging with our stakeholders: Group employees, customers, business partners including suppliers of goods and services, local and global communities, and others.
The Rakuten Group Environment Policy and related strategy provide a framework for Rakuten Group companies to move in the same direction when advancing these challenges.
We recognize climate change as being one of the most pressing issues facing society today. Changing weather patterns and the increased risk of extreme weather events affect global citizens as well as our business operations.
In order to fulfill our responsibility as a global company and to be in line with our corporate mission, we strive to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society.
To do so, we assess and disclose our greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to reduce them throughout our value chains by improving energy efficiency, adopting clean energy solutions, and helping our customers reduce their own emissions through the use of our products and services.
Reducing Our Impact
As most of our broad range of more than 70 services is offered online, our daily operations rely on consumption of electricity, which, depending on the way it is produced, can result in greenhouse gas emission, responsible for climate change.
Our offline services, such as logistics services that produce CO2 emissions from trucks for product deliveries, also have an impact on climate change. This is why Rakuten is making efforts to reduce our adverse impact on climate change in order to contribute to society without making it bear the environmental burden of our operations.
Source 100% renewable electricity for Rakuten, Inc. controlled offices, data centers and fulfillment centers by 2025.
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions of Rakuten, Inc. originated from electricity consumption (Scope 2) to zero by 2025.
In December 2019, Rakuten, Inc. joined the international initiative RE100 which stands for “Renewable Electricity 100%,” an initiative that brings together the world’s most influential businesses who are committed to utilize 100% renewable power by 2050 at the latest.
The company provides many recognizable services in our ecosystem*, notably Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Travel. By switching to 100% renewable electricity at our offices, data centers and fulfillment centers by 2025, Rakuten, Inc. will provide services that contribute to society while proactively reducing our environmental impact.
Various approaches for the introduction of renewable electricity are considered by actively involving internal and external stakeholders, notably Rakuten Energy.
*Rakuten Ecosystem: By linking many diverse services of Rakuten Group through a common membership and loyalty program, we have created a unique Rakuten Ecosystem.
To reduce the environmental impact of our services, several initiatives are conducted to reduce our consumption of energy and increase the use of clean electricity.
Rakuten Crimson House West, Rakuten's Americas Regional Head Office in San Mateo, California, has installed rooftop solar panels with a total capacity of 92.4 kW. The photovoltaic system, currently under testing, will supply 15% of the total electricity consumed at the 500+ employee office from mid-2020, and will become the first model of Rakuten-owned renewable electricity generation on site.
Rakuten has chosen buildings with improved environmental performances for some of our offices, notably LEED-certified offices. LEED, which stands for “Leadership in Energy an Environmental Design,” is a certification by the Association of American Green Building. Among our green offices, Rakuten Crimson House, our headquarters in Tokyo, is part of the Futako Tamagawa Rise complex that received LEED Gold certification.
As e-commerce has become a primary means of shopping in consumers’ daily life, significant environmental issues emerged from an increase of product re-deliveries. Re-deliveries are estimated to account for 20% of all home deliveries in Japan that generates additional CO2 emissions of approximately 420,000 tons per year.
To address re-deliveries, Rakuten is working together with delivery service companies and our customers to improve delivery efficiency.
Rakuten Ichiba offers several alternative delivery options to customers; they can choose to pick up their orders at the closest Rakuten Box, convenience store, post office, or “HAKO POST” locker installed in post offices and other locations. Customers can also select their preferred delivery date and time to ensure that they are at home to receive their packages. In addition, Rakuten also launched a delivery service called “Okihai” where the package is left at the customer’s door or in a designated area. We believe that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions cannot be achieved without our customers’ understanding and efforts.
We have been working on a verification project with the Japan Ministry of the Environment that utilizes the method of behavioral economics called “nudge" method centers on making small suggestions to influence people to voluntarily take desired actions. This project aims to disseminate information on low-carbon lifestyles with the purpose of reducing CO2 emissions from the household, business and transportation sectors.
These efforts successfully resulted in the improvement of one-time deliveries.
Providing Low-Carbon Services
When it comes to efforts to mitigate climate change, Rakuten Energy is one of our most relevant group businesses. Launched in 2013 to add smart and clean electricity alternatives to Rakuten offerings, it allows customers to have access to optimized electricity from low-cost and renewable sources.
In December 2017, Rakuten Energy launched the Rakuten Energy Trading System "REts," a trading platform for carbon offset credits certified by the Japanese Government. Such credits are created when corporations reduce emissions or invest in the absorption of greenhouse gases through saving energy, managing forests, and other activities. To date, the only options available to corporations to trade their earned J-Credits have been conventional bidding or direct trading systems. Based on blockchain technology, REts brings greater transparency to the J-Credit trading process by enabling traders to clarify J-Credit value and trade volume in real time. To demonstrate and promote the merits of its services, Rakuten Energy has been offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions at stadiums during the games of Rakuten Group sports teams, J1-league soccer team Vissel Kobe and professional baseball team, the Rakuten Eagles.
Supporting Collaborative Initiatives
It is not enough to just say that climate change is one of the biggest challenges and threats to the world ever. It also requires collaborative action on a multilateral basis. In addition to RE100, Rakuten is a member of several environmental initiatives to support collaborative efforts that aim to address climate change.
Climate Change Reporting
In order to constantly improve our reporting related to climate change in line with stakeholders’ expectations, Rakuten has joined the international initiative TCFD and responds to the annual CDP Climate Change survey.
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) was established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in response to a call to action from leaders of countries participating in the 2015 G20 meetings. Published in June 2017, its final recommendations seek to support corporate efforts on disclosing information on climate-related risks and opportunities, and to stabilize financial markets through the smooth migration to a low-carbon society.
Rakuten officially became a supporter of the TCFD in December 2019 and aims to implement its recommendations, which cover the following topics:
- Rakuten’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities
- Actual and potential impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on Rakuten’s businesses, strategy and financial planning
- How Rakuten identifies, assesses and manages climate-related risks
- Metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities
Since 2017, Rakuten has been responding to the CDP Climate Change survey, widely recognized as the global standard for climate-related information disclosure by businesses, based on requests from global institutional investors and major purchasers with a keen concern on environmental issues.
More than 9,600 companies with over 50% of global market capitalization answered the latest 2020 CDP survey, the largest number in its history. Rakuten's work on CO2 reduction, mitigating climate-related risks and contributing to a low-carbon economy, was among other initiatives positively recognized by CDP's independent scoring methodology. As a result, Rakuten was for the first time selected as a constituent of the CDP Climate Change A List, the highest rating given by the global environmental NPO. By implementing TCFD's recommendations and responding to the CDP survey, we strive to improve the quality and consistency of our climate-related disclosure.
Participation in Japan Climate Initiative
The Japan Climate Initiative (JCI) is a network of non-state actors (companies, local governments and NGOs) in Japan which are actively engaged in climate action and committed to strengthening communication and exchanging related strategies and solutions.
Rakuten joined JCI in December 2019, pledging to stand at the forefront of society’s decarbonization envisioned by the Paris Agreement. In support of JCI, Rakuten believes that Japan can and should play a greater role in realizing a decarbonized society primarily through the expansion of renewable energies.
To protect our planet, we are committed to reducing the adverse environmental impact caused by our business activities such as waste generation, consumption of natural resources including water, and emissions of all forms of pollution throughout the value chain: production of goods and services, use of packaging materials, order deliveries, etc.
Reducing Our Impact
For our delivery packaging in Japan, we aim to use the most appropriate package size according to product dimensions in order to minimize the use of materials.
For shipping boxes, we procure and use cardboard boxes made from 90 to 95% recycled paper as specified by Japanese standards. In addition, inflatable packing materials (air pillows) are used as cushioning solutions to protect products for some deliveries, an environmentally-friendly alternative to other materials.
For Rakuten-branded products including mobile devices, we are working on ways to reduce resource consumption by reviewing individual packaging boxes, bundled items, as well as Rakuten Mobile store interiors, and sales materials.
Providing Sustainable Options
As an operator of e-commerce platforms offering shopping, leisure and lifestyle services, our influence on redefining consumption is considerable. Transforming business practices and consumers’ habits to consider environmental issues while ensuring economic growth across value chains is one of society’s most critical challenges today, as stated in Goal 12 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are committed to promoting more sustainable lifestyles through our services by encouraging customers to reuse and recycle.
Rakuten gives its customers the choice to purchase secondhand articles on several of its e-commerce platforms. Some of our services are even dedicated to the promotion of product reuse: Rakuten Rental gives customers the choice to rent products rather than purchasing new ones; Rakuten Kaitori (“buyback”) allows users to sell their items to Rakuten Ichiba’s merchants; Rakuma is a C2C (customer to customer) flea market application; Rakuten Mobile offers trade-in and recycle services for used devices.
Rakuma also promotes sustainable consumption offline with an annual initiative that addresses the issue of waste generation during Halloween. “Rakuma Reuse Box” are placed in Shibuya, Tokyo, on the day of Halloween to collect unused goods, that are then sold on Rakuma, with the sales donated to beautification activities in Shibuya Ward. For more details, see here (page in Japanese)
Rakuten Mobile offers a trade-in service for used smartphones and tablets. The trade-in devices will be sold through Rakuma or Rakuten Ichiba after careful inspection and deletion of personal information at the factories designated by Rakuten. Engaging with our customers for the reuse of devices that are still usable instead of their disposal represent an important aspect of our environmental burden reduction initiatives. For more details, see here (page in Japanese).
As a member of the Mobile Recycling Network (MRN), Rakuten Mobile collects and recycles used smartphones, mobile phones, battery packs, and chargers from our customers for free. This helps the effective use of precious metals such as gold, silver, copper and palladium contained in such devices, and avoids unnecessary environmental impact related to their disposal. For more details, see here (page in Japanese).
Our business activities are supported by the richness and diversity of natural ecosystems that our service infrastructures and operations may impact. The Rakuten Group is committed to complying with domestic and international laws related to the conservation of biodiversity, to conducting business activities with due consideration to biodiversity, and to mitigating the harmful impact that our services and products may have.
Services for Biodiversity Protection
Wildlife Product 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 or Rakuma, also prohibits the sale of wildlife products including those which make use of whale, dolphin, ivory or sea turtle.
Rakuten is committed to working with our merchant partners to ensure their businesses are conducted and their products on our e-commerce marketplaces are sourced and produced in consideration of biodiversity. Merchants not adhering to these guidelines may be subject to financial and other penalties.
EARTH MALL with Rakuten
Launched within Rakuten Ichiba under the banner of “shopping that changes the future, “EARTH MALL with Rakuten” promotes responsible consumption and production by introducing a selection of sustainable products that customers can purchase on Rakuten Ichiba.
As Rakuten Ichiba is one of Japan’s leading B2B2C e-commerce platforms that connects more than 49,000* merchants with over 100 million members in Japan, promoting EARTH MALL could potentially have a large-scale positive impact towards the realization of a sustainable society, not only on the demand side, but also on the supply side through our merchants and their supply chains.
In addition to the sale of sustainable products, EARTH MALL with Rakuten features in-depth articles that share the stories behind the products on offer: Goods with international certifications such as MSC (responsible fishery), FSC (responsible forestry management) or Fairtrade, as well as products manufactured by merchants with sustainable practices.
For more details, see here (page in Japanese).
*As of January 6, 2020
*B2B2C: A business model where a company sells products or services to another companies and those buyers sell purchased products and services to general consumers
- * Environmental Data covers the Rakuten Group except for waste generation which is limited to Rakuten Crimson House, Rakuten Rise Office, RFC Ichikawa I, RFC Ichikawa II, RFC Ichikawa III, RFC Kawanishi, Rakuten Baseball, Inc. (home stadium) and Rakuten Vissel Kobe, Inc. (home stadium.)
The environmental data indicated on this page for 2019 have been third-party verified.