The differences in the climate change strategies of UK and Japanese retailers can, at least in part, be explained by differences in the business and cultural context in which they operate

One of the central questions in the corporate responsibility literature is the extent to which national circumstances – regulation, competitive pressures, consumer behaviours, cultural norms – influence corporate action and performance on social and environmental issues.

We have recently reviewed the climate change strategies of the largest UK and Japanese supermarkets. In both countries, we have seen consistent and sustained improvements in energy efficiency in buildings and in transport over the past decade.

Retailers have adopted broadly similar actions – installing more efficient equipment, improving monitoring and control systems, and educating employees about the importance of energy efficiency.

This focus on energy efficiency reflects the concerns about rising energy prices in both countries, as well as regulatory efforts directed at improving energy efficiency in buildings and in the transport sector.

When we move beyond buildings and transport, a different picture emerges. We see the major UK retailers setting long-term (to 2030 and beyond) absolute emission reduction targets, whereas we see the Japanese retailers setting shorter-term targets directed at improving their relative (ie per unit of turnover) rather than absolute performance.

We see the UK retailers explicitly talking about the efforts they are making to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains but the...

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climate change  credibility  Japan  Japanese retail market  retailers  Rory Sullivan  supply chain reputation 

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