Environmental Problems

Environmental Problems

Environmental problems can be categorized by scale into global, national, corporate, local/household and private matters.
Komy should create a corporate culture to prioritize environmental protection by constantly contemplating environmental issues.
This is important for Komy to continue its business perpetually, because environmental protection is one of the greatest challenges common to humankind in the 21st century. Without solving environmental problems, nations, companies and individuals cannot survive.
We hope that our story will serve as an opportunity to think about the environment.

Japan’s past, present and future

A time when people took a good care of everything

Learning from senior citizens who have lived through wartime and the postwar period may serve as an opportunity for us to think about the environment.
We have asked senior citizens around us how they have survived an age without luxuries and what they want to tell today’s people about current environmental issues.
“Although I can’t remember much about the past, I think we took better care of everything in those days than today.
Take diapers as an example. Since there were no such things as disposable kinds, we made, washed and reused them.
It was not an easy thing to do, but what everyone was doing back then.
What a convenient world we live in today!” (A 94-year-old grandmother as of 2010).
Her story prompts us to reflect on today’s lifestyles in which we pursue convenience to save time and effort and do not take sufficient care of things.

Previous pollution problems caused by companies

From the Ashio mineral poison incident that occurred in the late 19th century to the more recent times, there were many diseases caused by pollution such as Itai-itai disease, Minamata disease, Niigata Minamata disease and Yokkaichi Asthma.
Pollution problems have made it difficult for local residents to live a normal life.
As a countermeasure, the Japanese government has strengthened regulations through the enactment of the Air Pollution Control Act and Water Quality Pollution Control Act.
It seems that the corporate culture in those days tended to downplay the importance for corporate social responsibility, especially the responsibility to prevent pollution.

Is the reduction of CO2 emissions good for the environment?

Environmental topics are now widely covered in newspaper and TV programs, and many media reports seem to encourage us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although we should ask experts for details, it is highly likely that CO2 evolution control helps prevent global warming.
Nonetheless, economic growth of developing and emerging countries, including China, might prompt CO2 production in an enormous amount and at a speed uncontrollable by any environmental protection measures.
What we can do in our daily lives, such as carrying shopping bags and separating garbage, are indeed important and should be continued, but it is also necessary to educate developing nations about an “environmental culture” (for which Europe is in the forefront) and promote energy saving and the sharing of environment-responsive technologies.

Auto manufacturers are
developing hybrid cars and
electric cars, but…

While the use of fossil fuels may be the leading cause of CO2 generation, problems caused by CO2 emissions may be peculiar to an automobile society.
Auto manufacturers compete with each other to develop and sell hybrid cars and electric cars in the name of environmentally friendly products.
While cares are indeed indispensable as a means of transporting of goods and people, auto manufacturers also seem to acknowledge the necessity to develop automobiles friendly to the environment.

Despite an increasing tendency to ease regulations, environment-related laws and regulations (on appropriate waste treatment and reduction, removal of harmful materials, etc.) have been tightened, prompting companies to respond to these issues ahead of law enforcement.
The time has come for nations, companies and individuals to act with consideration of environmental issues in order to survive.

What will the earth look like in the future?

Will droughts and flooding occur more
frequently in the future?

Books and magazines anticipate a bleak future for the earth by citing a temperature rise of 2-3°C, melting glaciers, rising coastal lines, submerging islands and countries and frequent droughts and flooding.
Will Japan become a subtropical country due to the progress of global warming? What is the primary cause for global warming?
Is it due to greenhouse gases or the change of solar activities?
Or is it due to the change of the earth’s activities, or any other causes?
Although we do not even know whether the cause of global warming is clarified or not, we should at least think and act in a manner that would not embarrass our descendents.

Efforts by nations and corporations

Framework Convention on Climate Change (Conference of Parties [COP])

A conference to discuss measures to prevent greenhouse gas emissions by the member nations of the Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in the 1992 UN
Conference on Environment and Development to Prevent Global Warming.

Kyoto Protocol (COP3, December 1997)

This international protocol, officially called “Kyoto Protocol of the UN Conference on Environment and Development to Prevent Global Warming,” aims to reduce the emissions of six kinds of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen monoxide, produced by developing nations.
For developed nations to achieve the overall reduction of 5% from the 1990 level over five years from 2008 to 2012, a legally binding numerical goal by nation has been determined.
Emissions can be traded between developed nations.

Challenge 25

Specific actions to reduce CO2 emissions that can be performed at home or the office to prevent global warming were proposed as “Six Challenges.”

Declaration for reducing containers and packages made by nine metropolitan, prefectural and municipal governments

Under the declaration jointly made by nine metropolitan, prefectural and municipal governments, sponsoring companies are promoting specific actions to use less containers and packages for waste reduction.
There have been some other attempts as follows:

  • Tsutomu Hata, a former Diet member, proposed energy saving costumes, but the short-sleeved business suits looked off-balance, failing to gain popularity.
  • Yuriko Koike, who served as the environment minister in the Koizumi cabinet, is known to have proposed “Cool Biz” (no ties, no jackets) to promote the reduction of summertime energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
  • Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in the Lower House election campaign expressed his intention to fulfill his party’s manifesto to achieve the mid-term target of a 25% reduction of CO2 emissions from the 1990 level by 2020, but…