Decarbonization Solution Green&Circular

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Last Update:2024.05.20

Providing "decarbonization solutions" through sustainability x DX, leveraging the strengths of a general trading company

Mitsui & Co. has set "Creating Sustainable Futures" as the main theme of its ongoing Midterm Corporate Strategy 2026. One of its specific business strategies is to work toward the realization of a decarbonized society. What are the aims, outline, and strengths of the company's "Green & Circular" decarbonization solutions? Mr. Yuji Mano, Managing Executive Officer and General Manager of Digital Strategy Department of Mitsui & Co.

This article has been translated, edited and processed by Mitsui & Co., Ltd. from an advertisement feature in Nikkei Online Edition that ran from March 28, 2024 to April 27, 2024. Unauthorized copying, reprinting, or public transmission of any content, including articles, photographs, and illustrations, is prohibited.

Mitsui's Unified Message Sent through In-house Media "Green & Circular

-Owned media "Green & Circular" was launched in June 2022. What is the background and overview?
Mano: Mitsui & Co. started decarbonization initiatives in the 1990s and is accelerating them in the 2020s. In the past, business divisions worked separately and there were areas of duplication and inefficiency, so we decided to create a unified message as Mitsui & Co. We therefore organized the decarbonization solutions offered by the Mitsui & Co. group and compiled them into an owned media called "Green & Circular". When we talk about decarbonization, "Green" has a strong image, but the perspective of resource recycling is also important, so we decided to use the name "Circular" in the same line.
Currently, the web site introduces about 40 solutions by reclassifying the initiatives of 16 business divisions into seven categories: "Visualize," "Optimize," "Renewable Energy," "Hydro," "Fuel," "Offset," and "Recycle". More than 100 original articles and readings, including case studies, are also included.

CO2 emissions of companies and municipalities visualized in "e-dash"

--Please introduce specific solutions.
Mano: The first major point in promoting decarbonization is visualization. Without visualization of greenhouse gas emissions, they cannot be managed or controlled. Mitsui's "e-dash" is a platform that helps companies and municipalities visualize and reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Its strength is that it is easy, accurate, and can be accompanied by the client's needs. For example, simply upload your electricity or gas bill to calculate your CO2 emissions. It can also be used for reports to public agencies.
Screen image of e-dash
Screen image of e-dash
The system has been well received for its ease of use and is now being introduced not only by large corporations but also by many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Financial institutions often propose the system to their local business clients as a tool to support decarbonization, and we have already partnered with approximately 180 financial institutions nationwide. Among them, we concluded a capital and business alliance with Mizuho Bank in February, together with its corporate venture capital (CVC) Mizuho Innovation Frontier. Leveraging our respective networks, we will support corporate initiatives for decarbonization.

Visualize emissions per product and service with "LCA Plus"

Mano: Another tool for visualization is LCA Plus. This is the first LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) platform in Japan, which started its service in August 2022. It was jointly developed with the Sustainable Management Promotion Organization (SuMPO), the only EPD (EcoLeaf) operating organization in Japan.
LCA Plus
LCA Plus
Recent trends such as the European Battery Regulation, which is expected to mandate product LCA calculations in February 2025, are rapidly increasing the need for visualization of products and services. LCA Plus can perform difficult product unit calculations in a single step, and currently more than 100 companies, mainly in the manufacturing industry, such as automobiles, automotive parts, packaging, and foodstuffs, have introduced the system. To introduce one of the most advanced use case of LCA Plus, Panasonic is using Mitsui's service to verify the calculation results that enhances objectivity for 30 products in total.

Decarbonization from "Nice to Have" to "Must Have"

--How do you see the trend toward a decarbonized society and what strengths can Mitsui utilize in this context?
Mano: Looking at the extreme weather events that are occurring around the world, the earth may have already reached a tipping point from which there is no turning back. Until recently, the corporate movement toward a decarbonized society was "Nice to Have" or "It would be nice if we could do it". Now, however, it  "Must Have," an issue that is critical to the survival of the business itself. Financial institutions, for example, are required to disclose the CO2 emissions of the companies they finance, and this trend is likely to accelerate as an indicator of the soundness of the company.
I believe that Mitsui & Co. can address these issues by leveraging its three main strengths. First, Mitsui & Co. is a general trading company with strong cross-sectional cooperation within the group. In addition, there is a strong connection between the business and digital divisions, and digital power is indispensable for visualizing CO2 emissions. Our Integrated Digital Strategy Division was created in 2020 to consolidate digital and IT (information technology) functions that were previously handled by individual departments. We are involved in all DX (Digital Transformation) initiatives for the entire group.
Yuji Mano Managing Executive Officer, General Manager, Integrated Digital Strategy Division, Mitsui & Co.
Yuji Mano Managing Executive Officer, General Manager, Integrated Digital Strategy Division, Mitsui & Co.
Last year Mitsui & Co. was selected as one of the "DX Stocks 2023" by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. We were very happy to hear the comment that the company "has a DX implementation system that is integrated with the sustainability strategy" as a key evaluation point. We will leverage these strengths to provide decarbonization solutions with a focus on "implementation."
--Please give a message to the readers of the Nikkei Electronic Edition.
Mano: Mitsui & Co. is a company with a wide range of business activities in the field of natural resources and energy. We recognize that our major role is to strike a balance between stable energy supply and decarbonization. Regarding energy transition, we are not a manufacturer, but we are engaged in various R&D (research and development) activities. Together with our diverse partners, we will promote a well-balanced transition while exploring the use of new technologies, including, of course, Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Many company representatives may be concerned that decarbonization is difficult and do not know what to do. The gateway to decarbonization is visualization. Please take a look at Mitsui's Green & Circular. You will find useful tips and tools.

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