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Two years after launching our campaign, Canon may be on track to meeting more ambitious climate goals — if only it could commit to a public, time-bound target. 

A significant increase in renewable energy, but no signs of a target

On April 24, Canon published its 2024 Sustainability Report. Notably, Canon did not commit to our campaign demand to target 100% renewable energy use, with 60% RE by 2030. This is in stark contrast to its industry peers, such as Sony and Nikon. It did, however, show a significant increase in its use of renewable energy in 2023: 12.87% RE, up from 4.54% RE in 2022. Furthermore, Canon had a 10.26% (104,815 t-Co2) reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions over this one-year period. 

This sudden spike in RE right after the launch of our campaign in 2022 is promising, indicating concrete progress that Canon is scaling up renewable energy in order to significantly reduce its GHG emissions. It is also a sign that our pressure is working.

Canon RE progress
Canon’s RE progress from 2019-2023

Technically, if Canon can continue increasing its renewable energy use at the same rate or faster every year (i.e., 8.33% annual growth in RE) it will achieve 60% renewable energy by 2030. Furthermore, if Canon can maintain or increase its 10.26% annual reduction in Co2 emissions, the company would meet its 2030 target of reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 42%. The key word here is “if.”

These forecasts are optimistic — there is no guarantee that Canon will continue to scale up RE with the speed needed to achieve its emissions reduction targets. To stay on track and transparently prove how it will expand RE in the coming years, we need a time-bound RE target. Canon needs to publicly announce a commitment to target 100% RE in its operations globally, with 60% RE by 2030. 

How did we get here? Canon’s RE ambition over the past 5 years

In December 2022 Canon announced a significant weakening of its climate targets, making it one of the first major global companies to do so at a time when precisely the very opposite was most needed. Its 2030 absolute emissions reduction target was approximately halved from its original 50% commitment from 2008 levels to 30% from 2018 levels. And its renewable energy use was a mere 4.54%. 

In November 2023, Canon announced a promising change: it had increased its operational emissions reduction target from 23% to 42% by 2030, from a 2022 baseline. While not perfect, this was a step in the right direction. But a step that, nonetheless, would be difficult to meet without a significant increase in renewable energy use. Despite this, Canon had not announced a renewable energy target. 

To make matters worse, Canon’s competitors — both printer and camera makers — had already set ambitious renewable energy targets, and Canon was lagging behind. Epson announced in January 2024 that it had achieved 100% renewable energy at all group sites globally, including Japan. Similarly, Ricoh and Fujifilm have publicly committed to 100% RE by 2040; HP has committed to 100% RE by 2025; and Sony and Nikon have both committed to 100% RE by 2030. 

In turn, we doubled down on our renewable energy ask: if Canon wants to meet its own emissions reduction target, and catch up to its peers, it must set a 100% renewable energy target, with a goal of at least 60% renewable energy by 2030. 

Hundreds of our supporters took the time to email Canon’s sustainability team to let them know that this mattered to them. A week after launching this action along with a report diving into their lack of renewable energy ambition, Canon published a press release announcing that it was “working to convert 100% of the power used at the sites where it manufactures its printing products to renewable energy.” A sign that they were listening, yet lacking specifics and a true commitment.

Pressure at Canon’s AGM

At Canon’s Annual General Meeting on March 28th, 2024, we engaged Canon shareholder, writer, and activist Yumiko Sakuma to ask Canon’s Sustainability Director Noriko Gunji if the company had plans to increase its renewable energy target to catch up with its peers. 

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In an effort to turn the heat up even more, the day before the AGM, Action Speaks Louder published an opinion ad in Nikkei Business Daily, a Japanese business newspaper. The ad depicted a graph showing how far Canon is lagging behind its competitors in their renewable energy ambitions. Copies of the newspaper were handed out to Canon shareholders and employees at the AGM by our campaigner and volunteers. 

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Ms. Gunji’s response to Ms. Sakuma was disappointing: Canon, she said, was not aware of other companies’ efforts. This lack of industry awareness is particularly surprising given that Canon knows there is pressure from shareholders, consumers, and the wider market for them to scale up their use of renewable energy. They are certainly aware enough to spike up their RE use by 8.33% in one year. 

What Canon needs to do next

While Canon’s 2024 Sustainability Report presents the potential for the company to get on the right track to meeting more ambitious climate goals, it’s currently not enough. A time-bound, specific RE target will keep them accountable and enable their progress to be tracked — which is essential when it comes to taking meaningful corporate climate action. 

Canon needs to set a public, time-bound target of achieving 60% renewable energy by 2030, as part of a wider goal of reaching 100% renewable energy. This is a feasible target that Canon can achieve. Now it needs to publicly commit to it. 


Want to get involved? Ask Canon to set a public 100% RE target

Email Canon


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