Voluntary agreements to encourage proactive firm action against climate change: An empirical study of industry associations' voluntary action plans in Japan

Masayo Wakabayashi*, Toshi H. Arimura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

From 1997 to 2012, 114 Japanese industry associations implemented voluntary action plans, which are not enforced by laws or regulations, to reduce carbon emissions. This paper investigates whether the establishment of these voluntary action plans by industry associations contributed to the adoption of a carbon emissions target at the firm level within the associations. Using a survey of approximately 1000 firms in Japan, this paper finds that small and medium-sized firms in sectors with voluntary action plans were 2-4 times more likely to establish their own carbon emissions targets than were firms belonging to industry associations without voluntary action plans. In contrast, the paper finds that voluntary action plans did not affect the establishment of emissions targets among firms with more than 3000 employees. This result is consistent with the survey responses, which found that periodic follow-ups under a voluntary action plan helped small firms to obtain important pieces of information and that industry associations played an important role in this process. In general, small firms have relatively large potential for energy saving, but the lack of information prevents its realization. The results confirm the importance of voluntary action plans in removing the information barriers of relatively small firms and encouraging them to implement carbon emissions targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2885-2895
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 20

Keywords

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Duration analysis
  • Industry association
  • Voluntary action plan
  • Voluntary agreement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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