Companies across Japan and around the world are taking corporate measures to reduce their negative impact on the planet, as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, even with heightened climate awareness, some shoppers still have a hard time assessing the long-term impact of their daily lifestyle choices and developing more sustainable habits.
“We want to empower our customers to implement their own sustainable consumption measures.”Masatada “Seichu” Kobayashi, Rakuten co-founder and Chief Well-Being Officer
In late 2019, Rakuten Group, Inc. joined the RE100 initiative, setting a goal of achieving net 100% renewable energy by 2025 for all operations. The ambitious goal was achieved in 2021, and Rakuten is now aiming to transition all major Group company operations to run on renewable electricity by 2023.
Going green: A community effort
However, going green is not just a collaborative process — it’s a community effort. Rakuten customers’ sustainable choices are key to our success.
“To solve climate change, everyone needs to get involved,” says Rakuten co-founder and Chief Well-Being Officer Masatada “Seichu” Kobayashi. “We know the desire’s there, but as a consumer, it’s hard to know exactly how you can shop sustainably. This is something we’re looking to address with the Go Green Together project.”
What can consumers do?
On Earth Day, April 22, Rakuten launched the “Go Green Together” website to introduce services that offer sustainable options and interactive quizzes designed to educate and encourage customers to live a greener lifestyle.
The Japanese version of the website also serves as a central hub for the many green lifestyle services available from Rakuten for customers in Japan. Among the examples of sustainable products available on Rakuten Earth Mall are fair trade and organic products.
Green-conscious shoppers are flocking to Earth Mall
Earth Mall, Rakuten Ichiba’s sustainable shopping portal, has seen its traffic increase manyfold since its launch in 2018, and as of last year, its product list was already on its way to surpassing 120,000.
Among the offerings are sustainable clothing items on Rakuten Fashion, Green Key certified hotels on Rakuten Travel and farm-to-table organic produce on Rakuten Farm, which connects shoppers directly with farmers around Japan.
“Rakuten operates over 70 different services in Japan alone, and many more abroad, connecting businesses and customers everywhere,” Kobayashi says. “It isn’t easy to coordinate such a diverse range of people on sustainability strategy. That’s one reason we want to empower our customers to implement their own sustainable consumption measures.
Rakuma doubles down on the circular economy
Rakuten Rakuma, a popular C2C commerce app, is another of Rakuten’s many services that are embracing sustainable consumption. As a result, Rakuma helps preloved items to live a second life — and avoid becoming landfill decorations — by connecting individual sellers looking to buy and sell second-hand goods.
The app celebrated its 10th year at the forefront of the circular economy this year with a major rebrand. In an effort to reduce waste and encourage organic consumption, the Rakuma team is partnering with 130+ reuse businesses in Japan to allow them to sell directly to users, while also strengthening measures to encourage direct-from-farm and direct-from-fishery shopping.
“I hope these initiatives contribute to our overall goal of realizing an environmentally conscious and green future that we can pass on to future generations.”Masatada “Seichu” Kobayashi
By establishing these partnerships, Rakuma expects that they will be able to further raise the quality of preloved products, enabling shoppers to easily buy everything from used smartphones to high fashion.
With RE100, Earth Mall, Rakuma and more all making significant strides, 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for sustainability.
“This year is Rakuten’s 25th anniversary,” Kobayashi says. “I hope these initiatives contribute to our overall goal of realizing an environmentally conscious and green future that we can pass on to future generations.”