Voluntary agreements to encourage proactive firm action against climate change

An empirical study of industry associations' voluntary action plans in Japan

Masayo Wakabayashi, Toshihide Arimura

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 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

    Fingerprint

    action plan
    Climate change
    climate change
    Carbon
    industry
    carbon emission
    Industry
    Energy conservation
    Personnel
    firm
    Industry association
    Empirical study
    Voluntary action
    Voluntary agreements
    Japan
    Carbon emissions
    Small firms

    Keywords

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

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

    Cite this

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    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.",
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