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Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Canon is one of the world’s best known brands, with products spanning photography, printing and medical imaging. With its corporate philosophy of “kyosei”— living and working together for the common good — Canon markets itself as a brand synonymous with wildlife and nature. Canon has over 180,000 employees worldwide and reported an operating profit of 353.4 bn JPY (2.45bn USD) in 2022.

Canon’s operations span the globe, with its greatest electricity use in Japan, followed by Thailand, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, and China.

In 2008, to mark the 70th anniversary of Canon, the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) was established as a non-profit private think tank with initial funding of one billion yen, or around eight million US dollars. Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai doubles as the Chairman of the institute’s Board of Supervisors, and in a 2021 CIGS profile he stated, “I sincerely hope that CIGS will play an active role in shaping the future of Japan and the rest of the world by precisely plotting out future directions while also bringing together outstanding human resources with the motivation to achieve these ambitions.”

CAMPAIGN TIMELINE

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CIGS campaign Launch

In early 2022, we launched our report uncovering Canon’s association with the Canon Institute for Global Studies, aimed at building awareness amongst Canon staff, customers and a climate-concerned audience.

We then launched an Email To Target action to mobilise supporters to email Canon’s CEO directly and let him know they wanted Canon to withdraw support from the institute.

Campaigns: Cameras Don't Lie Winner

Cameras Don’t Lie International Photography Competition

In early 2023, we held the Cameras Don’t Lie climate photo competition. The competition aimed to harness the creativity of photographers around the world to challenge Canon to be the sustainable company it markets itself as, with the winning image displayed on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.

Canon - RE ETT

Renewable energy target campaign launch

In early 2024, we published a new report analyzing Canon’s energy use, finding that Canon lags behind its competitors when it comes to renewable energy goals, in spite of having an emissions reduction target they need to meet. 

In tandem with this, we launched an Email To Target action to mobilize supporters to email Canon’s sustainability team and ask that they set an ambitious renewable energy goal. 

PROBLEM

Canon has two key issues it must address: the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) serving as a platform for climate change denial and Canon’s lack of renewable energy goals, which position it far behind its competitors when it comes to climate action.

CIGS publishes articles by one of its research directors, Taishi Sugiyama, which regularly question climate science, promote fossil fuels, and aim to slow the transition to clean energy in Japan. Sugiyama has called decarbonization a “lie” and in 2022 published a book for teenage students titled Global warming from the age of 15: Factfulness not taught at school, where he argues that climate change is exaggerated and likens activist Greta Thunberg to a “communist.” He has also criticized IPCC and United Nations reports as propaganda and questioned a recent Japanese government white paper promoting decarbonization.

Second, in 2023, Canon announced a new target to reduce operational GHG emissions by 42% by 2030. However, its renewable energy target for 2023 was only 4.85% — and they have no target beyond this. Canon’s peers, meanwhile, are far ahead of them. Epson, for instance, announced it achieved 100% renewable energy globally in 2023. Ricoh has publicly committed to 50% RE by 2030, Sony to 100% RE by 2030, Fujifilm to 50% RE by 2030, and HP to 100% RE by 2025.

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.

SOLUTION

Canon’s CEO Fujio Mitarai and Canon’s sustainability team need to urgently address both issues.

After pressure from our supporters to withdraw support from CIGS, Canon publically distanced itself from the think tank, stating: “CIGS operates independently and is unrelated to the business activities of Canon. The research and statements published by Mr. Sugiyama are solely his own.” 

However, if Canon truly wants to distance itself from climate denialism, it should deliver with quality climate action. 

This means the company needs to commit to a 100% renewable energy target, with at least 60% by 2030 — a feasible task which would level Canon up to match its peers. 

Canon’s operations span the globe, with its greatest electricity use in Japan, followed by Thailand, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, and China. By committing to 100% RE in its operations, Canon can make an impact on cutting emissions across the world. 

TAKE ACTION

Email Canon's sustainability team and ask them to match Canon's peers and commit to 100% renewable energy

Email Canon’s sustainability team

Cameras Don’t Lie climate photography competition

VIEW

OUR REPORTS

 
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Canon increasingly isolated on renewable energy compared to Japanese industry peers

 
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CANON’S CLIMATE DECEPTION IN THE FRAME

EXPLORE MORE ON OUR BLOG

 
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CANON APPEARS ON TRACK TO MEET ITS CLIMATE GOALS (FOR NOW). HERE’S WHAT THEY NEED TO DO NEXT.

 
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OP-ED: CANON GOT ME INTO PHOTOGRAPHY. NOW I’M CUTTING THEM OFF.

READ ABOUT IT IN THE MEDIA

PetaPixel

Exclusive: Canon refutes climate denial accusations

READ
The Guardian

Thinktank linked to tech giant Canon under pressure to remove ‘dangerous’ climate articles

READ
PetaPixel

Photo contest pressures Canon to stop spreading climate misinformation

READ
La Repubblica

Canon e Samsung sotto accusa, tra negazionismo climatico e greenwashing

READ
PetaPixel

Canon called out for climate denial on a billboard in New York’s Times Square

READ
Gizmodo

See stunning photos of how climate change is altering our world

READ
Metro

Photography competition raises awareness of climate denial – with alarming images

READ

OUR PRESS RELEASES

 
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New analysis reveals Canon out of the picture in renewable energy race

 
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CANON’S INSTITUTE OF CLIMATE DENIAL EXPOSED

 
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GLOBAL CLIMATE PHOTOGRAPHERS COMPETITION LAUNCH PHOTOGRAPHERS DEMAND CANON END SUPPORT FOR CLIMATE DENIAL

 
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WORLD’S LARGEST EVER CORPORATE CLIMATE RETREAT? REPORTS INDICATE CANON INC CUTS EMISSION TARGET BY 50%

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