Call on Canon to match the renewable energy targets of its peers

Canon RE 2

As climate change impacts intensify, so too do expectations that companies will step up their sustainability efforts. But when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using renewable energy, one company is barely making an effort. 

Canon, the global printing and camera brand, reported that it emitted over one million tonnes of planet-warming CO2 in 2022 — largely from its massive consumption of electricity generated from fossil fuels. Despite this, in 2023 Canon aimed to have just 4.85% of their electricity come from renewable sources

In contrast, Canon’s industry competitors have been far more ambitious in their renewable energy targets. Epson has already achieved 100% renewable energy globally, while Nikon and Sony have publicly committed to 100% RE by 2030, Ricoh to 100% RE by 2040, Fujifilm to 50% RE by 2030, and HP to 100% RE by 2025. 

We believe Canon has the ability to match the targets of its peers. Join us in asking Canon’s sustainability team to commit to 100% renewable energy, with at least 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Your voice can make a difference in ensuring Canon becomes a company that lives up to its values and delivers on climate action. 



Canon recently announced new emission reduction goals. Why isn't this enough?

Canon recently announced a new target to reduce its operational GHG emissions by 42% by 2030. While this is a step in the right direction, Canon’s ability to meet this target is heavily dependent on rapidly scaling up its use of renewable energy. Canon’s percentage of RE has never been above 5% in the past four years, and incredibly it has no RE target beyond 2023. Further, Canon’s severely limited renewable energy consumption in 2022 contributed to a mere 0.03% reduction in its operational emissions, underscoring that scaling up RE is critical to meeting its 2030 target of 42% emissions reduction.  

Such limited use of renewable energy is surprising given that this issue has long been known to Canon as a critical area for improvement. According to Canon’s Sustainability Report, in a survey conducted in 2020 the most important issue identified by Canon stakeholders was “promotion of energy conservation and utilization of renewable energy.” Canon has proclaimed that its sustainability initiatives contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy and 13 on Climate Action, including SDG Target 7.2 to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Climate action is proven through delivering strong, quality action. Canon aiming for 4.85% RE while their peers are aiming for 100% shows how far it lags behind in ambition.  

Canon’s operations span the globe, with its greatest electricity use in Japan, followed by Thailand, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, and China. Yet in 2022, RE made up just 0.7% of Canon’s purchased electricity in Japan and only 0.8% in Asia and Oceania (excluding Japan). By committing to 100% RE in its operations, Canon can make an impact on cutting emissions across the world.

What about Canon's ties to climate denialism?

Beyond helping stop climate change by committing to 100% renewable energy, Canon has the opportunity to distance itself from climate denialism articles being published by the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) think tank. In the words of Fujio Mitarai, who doubles as Chairman of CIGS’s Board of Supervisors and CEO and Chairman of Canon Inc., the Institute “conducts various research in line with Canon’s corporate philosophy of kyosei – living and working together for the common good.” In spite of this principle, one of CIGS's most prolific and prolific researchers, researcher Dr. Taishi Sugiyama, has criticized climate science and attempted to block Japan's transition to clean energy. By setting a strong renewable energy target, Canon can demonstrate it is not under the influence of such climate denialists who have been given safe harbor at CIGS. 

Why else should I take action?

Take inspiration from professional photographer Ishikawa Naoki who has called on Canon to do better: “With my experience in taking photographs in many parts of the world for over 20 years, I strongly feel the effects of climate change, especially in mountainous regions such as the Himalayas. As long as I live in this world, I cannot be indifferent to the global environment. Responsibilities not only lay in those who have destroyed nature, but also in those who have not stopped it. That is why I feel the need to take action where I can.”

Or from climate activist Celina Chien: “Canon has an enormous responsibility as a company in its own operations and as a global brand. Does Canon want its legacy to be on the wrong side of history? Stop supporting environmental misinformation and be the medium of change-making storytelling.”

And lastly, this is what Rick Grehan, film maker and sustainable activist has to say: “I’ve used Canon cameras since I was a teenager and have been lucky to travel all over the world making documentaries about eco heroes, seeing first hand the devastating impact that climate change is already causing. The threat is very real and we need to all combine forces and do everything in our power to protect our planet. Canon please take a lead.”


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Canon increasingly isolated on renewable energy compared to Japanese industry peers




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