Despite increased awareness of the human impact on the environment and a greater focus on personal as well as global consequences of individual lifestyle choices, sustainable development and sustainable consumption are still not central topics in social, economical & political systems today. Sustainable consumption involves rethinking definitions of human needs and desires. Sustainable consumption encompasses the principles of moderation and sufficiency as means of curbing social, economic and environmental imbalances and of stimulating responsible consumption.
Twenty years have passed since the ten general rules for Green Consumer were introduced, and it is almost 10 years since the green purchasing law was enacted in Japan. Although green purchasing has progressed steadily and eco-friendly goods are now securing its place in the market, there are still many issues to be solved. Falsifications of recycled paper and many recycled goods were revealed in 2008. Green purchasing will play an important role in dissemination of eco-friendly goods to the market at a time when it is essential to take measures against global warming promptly. The time has come to review the past measures and current status of green purchasing, and to make progress with ways to optimize effects of green purchasing.
Human beings in the 20th century pursue their own convenience and prosperity without regard to the limit of the earth, as a result, they cause environmental issues globally, for example, climate change, resource depletion and pollution of the environment by toxic chemical compounds and so on. We, human beings, should recognize the limitation and change in direction to economic society designed for the 21st century, which is based on sustainable production and consumption in the different way from 20th century. In this paper, Green Purchasing is an activity which promotes consumers to “consider necessity before purchasing”, “purchase products and services with low environmental impact” and “give a priority to corporations and distributors which have good environmental performance” when purchasing products. This activity is the one of effective measures to contribute to building of a sustainable society, because Green Purchasing suggests transferring scheme of manufacturing and society into eco-friendly as well as products and services from consumer side. This paper attempts to report a current situation of Green Purchasing and an activity of Green Purchasing Network that promotes the concept and practice of Green Purchasing.
Nowadays, many products and services that reduce the environmental load and/or promote environmental protection are being developed by many companies. They promote them using various environmental communication methods such as environmental labels, reports, and advertisements. However, many consumers still doubt the quality and efficiency of these products. This, together with the lack of knowledge on environmental problems, results in the fact that the level of demand for environmentally friendly products is not necessarily high. In this paper, we examine the effects of environmental labels as a marketing communication tool in order to promote the purchase of various types of environmentally friendly products. We first refer to consumers’ cognition of environmental problems and analyze the mechanism of consumers’ purchase behaviors of environmentally friendly products. Then we point out the advantages and disadvantages of environmental labels as a marketing communication tool compared with the other marketing tools. Many previous studies have indicated that the perceived consumer effectiveness, (that is the belief that this product will lead to protection from some environmental problem), is the most important factor that influences consumers’ ecological attitudes and/or behavioral patterns. However, according to the study of Nishio & Takeuchi (2006), the perceived consumer effectiveness helped to form positive attitudes toward ecological products, but not promote their purchase. The factors influencing a consumer’s choice of environmentally friendly products are: perceived benefits (it leads to reducing family expenses); perceived rewards (the choice itself is interesting and fun); reducing perceived costs (it does not need any costs or efforts); ease of implementation and product availability (it is easy to buy at local shops), norms of social groups (friends and/or family recommend it), and also credibility to its quality and efficiency. Such environmental labels as Eco-Marks and Energy Saving Labels have well-organized labeling certification systems. Thus, these labels are highly reliable communication tools compared with the other marketing tools. They also increase consumers’ attentions and understanding of the environmental problems and support for efforts to alleviate those problems. However, in order to promote purchase of environmentally friendly products and pro-environmental lifestyles, two-way communication and/or customized information adjusted to the level of each consumer’s knowledge is needed. The other marketing tools such as events, direct marketing promotions and internet communications are more effective than environmental labeling. Therefore, marketers should understand the features of each communication tool and integrate various types of communication tools in order to build the brand equity.
Eco-labellings（Eco-labelling programs）receive a great deal of attention for these two or three decades. This paper will review the relevant literature on eco-labelling issue. It focuses on three topics: the demand for eco-label, the supply for eco-label, and market impact of eco-label. It explores some of the factors that determine consumer awareness, acceptance and behavior. It is concluded that because of the complexity of the issue and the lack of conclusive research, more research is expected in many areas.
The Japan Environment Association started to undertake the Eco Mark program in 1989. Almost 20 years have passed since the program was founded. The Eco Mark program, which is a type I environmental labelling program, is managed in accordance with ISO 14024. Certification criteria for every product category have taken the environmental burden at each life stage (resource extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, disposal and recycling) of products into consideration. This is to provide an overview of current situation and perspective of Eco Mark program. Firstly the current situation of Eco Mark program was explained and 20 years of history from the start of the program was outlined. Regarding outside assessment of Eco Mark program, questionnaires to consumers and companies who have certified products and the market share survey of Eco Mark certified products conducted by Eco Mark office were introduced. Environmental falsification originated with mislabeled waste paper was also referred to. Lastly, issues for Eco Mark program to be solved were covered. The Eco Mark is popular with public organizations and companies, and they use the Eco Mark as a guide of green procurement. Eco Mark program is expected to be a more significant eco label that “provides information widely on environmental aspects of products and encourages customers to select Eco Mark products” for both purchaser and supplier.
ISO14025 and other components defined in the Japanese Type III environmental label, EcoLeaf, were reviewed. Feature of the EcoLeaf includes enhancement of efficiency of PCR generation, specification of generic data, and system certification. Definition of foreground data boundary and publication of similar products are current issues. As for overseas Type III program, Sweden EPD revised their program with almost same problem consciousness as EcoLeaf. The Sweden program publishes PCR in comprehensive product area, while number of label publication is quite smaller than EcoLeaf. East Asian countries have started participation to or development of Type III programs, e.g., China and Taiwan started in the field of building and electronic product respectively. In the near future of EcoLeaf, coordination with carbon footprint program, application regarding the EuP directive, and collaboration with East Asian countries are expected to be facilitated.
The carbon footprint started in UK in 2007 becomes big movement of the world as the “Visualization” of CO2 emission of the products. A trial project of the carbon footprint in Japan has launched in 2008 supported by METI. It is different from the conventional life cycle assessment (LCA) on the points to focus on CO2 and the global warming gases, to target food and daily necessities sold in a supermarket and to display to an article directly. It is aiming at reducing GHGs not only by producers but by consumers, showing GHGs on the daily goods. In this report, domestic and foreign trends about the carbon footprint, activities of the international standardization and main points of arguments toward the implementation of carbon footprint are introduced.
Objective. “Uncertainty” generally exists when applying LCA to environmental load analysis of transport systems. Hence, there is a need for a systematic way of presenting the results by clarifying such uncertainties and avoiding any misleading interpretations. This paper provides a method that shows analytical results with their associated uncertainties. Results and Discussion. This paper considers inventory analysis for an LRT system and investigates uncertainties in each stage. The uncertainties are organized into the following three groups: (1) Errors associated with emission factors, (2) errors from assumptions, and (3) errors from ripple effects. In discussing how to cope with these uncertainties, two important parameters affect results. One is the variance in embodied emission factors used for computation; the variance range for nine types of factors is analyzed. Another is a parameter related to assumptions and limitations of data and calculation (e.g., lifetime, transport demand, and congestion rate). Sensitivity analysis is utilized for representing uncertain factors and exploring methods of presenting eco-efficiency information. The total distance traveled, number of passengers, and travel speed serve as indicators of transport system performance. In this way, transport plans are not developed by simply evaluating the environmental aspects; different levels of demand are also considered to allow decision makers to determine an appropriate transport system. Consequently, a Type III environmental label is proposed to make environmental information available for public inspection. Conclusions. This paper proposes an “Eco-Report” for transport systems, which specifically includes life cycle environmental load, sensitivity analysis, eco-efficiency, and other issues that require attention. This report represents the results of LCA together with the associated uncertainties; it will help policy makers understand environmental information.
Objective. Many wind turbines have been constructed in the Choshi area, Chiba prefecture, Japan, as the Choshi area is rich in good wind supply for wind power generation. Wind turbines generate sustainable energy, however CO2 is emitted during the various processes in the life cycle of a wind turbine. Therefore, it is important to estimate the environmental impact in the megawatt scale wind turbines by the method of LCA using the latest data of the environmental impact. Method. The functional unit is selected as 1kWh electricity delivered to consumers. In this study, the lifetime of turbines is set to be 20 years and the life cycle includes manufacturing, construction, transportation and operation and maintenance processes. The investigated turbine is a J82-2MW manufactured by Japan Steel Works (JSW), Ltd. in Muroran factory, Hokkaido, Japan. Results and Discussion. The LCA result shows that 1kWh electricity generated by a domestic turbine under the condition that the average wind speed is equal to 6m/s, the CO2 emission from operation and maintenance processes which are calculated at the rate of 0.5%/year to 2.0%/year of total emission of CO2 from manufacturing and transportation processes and the losses of transmission grid are set to 5 and 10%, has impact ranging from 10.1 to 12.9g-CO2 in its life cycle. When the result is compared to the amount of CO2 emission of 29.5g/kWh by 300kW turbine, it is clear that the environmental burdens of MW wind turbine are significantly lower. Conclusions. The recalculation result of the domestic 2MW wind turbine constructed in the Choshi area shows 10.8g-CO2/kWh under the condition that the average wind speed is equal to 6m/s, the CO2 emission from operation and maintenance process which are calculated at the rate of 1.0%/year of total emission of CO2 from manufacturing and transportation processes and the loss of transmission grid is set to 5 % in its life cycle. The important points of electricity produced by wind turbines are finding locations with good wind supply and application of large scale wind turbines. And the “product category rule” should be established for the standardized calculation of the Japanese CO2 basic unit (g-CO2/kWh) of the wind generator.
Eco Mark is at the turning point of playing the role of “leading eco-conscience action”, the major objective of the program, and which needing the restructuring of its brand. In the process of the analysis using the basic marketing framework “4P” and “4C”, problems of the program were picked up, then relation among the problems from the procurement motive aspect and players of the problem solving in life-cycle process was clarified, and finally, the necessity of co-action of each player was given. Given in the main subject are the problems which Eco Mark program has today. However the development of the action coordinating the “Mid-term Action Plan of Eco Mark” which already being released and the main subject is being left as the future assignment. On the other hand, as one improvement, all kinds of information are now provided from the viewpoint of the receiver, not from the viewpoint of the sender as it used to be, and also, the recent action and status of Eco Mark business are reported to the public.
Objective. It is important to estimate future environmental load from household sector because CO2 emission from household sector in Japan is increasing, and reduction of waste generation is also urgently required. Besides, the environmental load would be influenced by some driving forces: changes in population composition, increase of solitary household, climate change, economic growth, progress of environmental technology, changing lifestyle etc. In this study, we analyzed environmental load (CO2, final disposal) induced from household consumption considering household characteristics, temperature rise and income, and estimated future environmental load in future scenarios of those. Results and Discussion. 4.6-28.4% increase in CO2 emission and 8.9-40.8% increase in final disposal between 2000 and 2030 could be estimated in 24 scenarios those are combinations of 4 economic scenarios based on scenarios in the IPCC SRES and 6 population and household scenarios. Difference of CO2 emission estimation by population and household variations is about 9% in maximum. Changes of CO2 emission between 2000 and 2030 caused by socio-economic situation changes indicate -12.8% by population decline, +7.6% by household characteristics changes, and +25.9% by economic growth in the middle scenario. Temperature rise effect on CO2 emission is negative, although it is not very significant. Conclusions. We estimated that future environmental loads induced by household consumption in Japan should increase and a certain amount of negative effect by population decline could be offset by household characteristics changes. The result suggests that it is important to consider not only population change but also consumption style change by demographic composition based on sustainable consumption.
Objective. The increasing amount of CO2 emissions generated at homes is a major problem, with no easy solution. A variety of consumer behavior is closely linked to environmental issues, and addressing the ways in which consumers spend their time at home, because it may have possibilities to reduce CO2 emissions. This report focuses on relations between actual time spent in various activities and energy consumption at home, based on investigations undertaken at Kyoritsu Women’s University in 2002 and 2007. This report also presents a proposal outlining the types of lifestyles that will help reduce greenhouse gases, using conversion to CO2 emissions as a common evaluation scale.
Results and Discussion. Places where the students spent the most time at home were categorized into the following three areas: 1: bedroom, 2: living room and 3: both bedroom and living room relatively equally. The 2002 survey indicates that energy consumption per-person was highest in the bedroom and lowest in the living room. Factors behind these findings included the use of heaters, air-conditioning, electrical appliances and water-heating equipment, and how time is spent eating with family members. The CO2 emissions of household utilities were the highest in electricity use, followed by gas and water. Combined family activities were suggested as a major factor when considering reductions in CO2 emissions. The results of surveys assessing energy-saving practices suggested that households surveyed have no major differences among saving electricity, water, and gas. Conscious energy-saving measures aside, however, it was suggested that combined family activities may be presented as a means of reducing CO2 emissions.
Conclusion. The results indicate that where and how consumers spend their time at home is a major factor in the generation of greenhouse gases. Spending in living-room with family members is the most environmentally sound approach.