How Japanese Companies and Individuals Are Embracing SDGs

Insights and Actions from Next Level

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What are SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 interconnected global goals established by the United Nations in 2015.

These goals aim to address pressing challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, and peace and justice. The SDGs provide a comprehensive blueprint for a sustainable future, emphasizing the need for collective action from all sectors of society.

One notable development was the formation of a Green Alliance between Japan and the European Union in 2021. This partnership aims to enhance technological cooperation and support the implementation of renewable energy projects, underscoring the vital role of international collaboration in achieving SDGs​​ (Climate Action)​.

SDGs Are for Everyone

While it’s easy to assume that achieving SDGs is primarily the responsibility of large corporations and governments, the truth is that every individual and organization has a role to play. The goals are designed to be inclusive, encouraging contributions from every level of society. This means that small businesses, community organizations, and even individuals can make significant impacts.

Japan’s Commitment to SDGs

Japan Skytree

Japan has demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving the SDGs, with initiatives at both corporate and individual levels making substantial contributions to sustainability. According to the Sustainable Development Report 2024 published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Japan ranked 18th out of 167 countries in achieving the UN’s SDGs. This is an improvement from Japan’s ranking of 21st in the previous year’s report.

However, unlike Europe, Japan does not have a financial reporting obligation similar to the CSRD, which mandates comprehensive sustainability disclosures. Despite these challenges, Japan is making strides in various areas to enhance its sustainability practices.

Here’s how:

Individual Level

On a personal level, Japanese citizens are making strides toward sustainability:

  • Recycling: Japan has one of the highest recycling rates in the world. Citizens diligently sort their waste into various categories, ensuring that recyclables are properly processed.
  • Energy Conservation: Some households are adopting energy-saving measures, such as using energy-efficient appliances and minimizing electricity usage during peak hours.
  • Sustainable Lifestyles: There is a growing trend towards minimalism and sustainable living. People are increasingly aware of their consumption patterns and are choosing to buy locally produced, sustainable products.

Corporate Level

Japanese companies, both large and small, are increasingly integrating SDGs into their business strategies. According to a survey by Nikkei, in 2022 around 21% of publicly listed Japanese companies have responded to the SDGs Management Survey. While this indicates a growing awareness and engagement with SDGs, there is still significant room for improvement and broader adoption. Many companies are beginning to recognize the importance of sustainable practices and the benefits they bring, but further efforts are needed to fully integrate SDGs across the entire business sector​ (Nikkei)​​ (IGES)​.

Big Companies

  • Toyota has updated its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, advancing its previous target by 15 years. The company is investing heavily in hydrogen fuel cell technology and expanding its range of electric vehicles.
  • Sony has accelerated its environmental goals, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 instead of 2050. Additionally, Sony plans to use 100% renewable energy by 2030, a decade earlier than initially planned. The company focuses on renewable energy, efficient resource use, and reducing CO2 emissions.
a car parked in a parking lot next to a traffic cone

Small Business Initiatives

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Japan are also joining the sustainability movement. They are implementing energy-efficient solutions, ethical sourcing, waste reduction programs, and engaging in community-based sustainability projects.

What We Do at Next Level

At Next Level, we have embraced several sustainable practices to contribute to the SDGs:

  • Paperless Operations: We strive to minimize paper usage and choose sustainable products.
  • Renewable Energy: In 2023, we switched to Hachidori, a power company providing 100% natural energy with low environmental impact.
  • 1% for the Planet: As a member of this program, we donate 1% of our annual sales to environmental causes. In 2024, we supported organizations like Ocean Generation, Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty, More Trees, and Mirai no Mori.
  • Earth Day Events: Since 2022, we have hosted annual Earth Day events featuring guest speakers and panels from sustainable companies or those providing sustainable services. These events aim to raise awareness and promote sustainable practices.
  • Community Involvement: We actively engage in local sustainability efforts. For example, we regularly participate in clean-up events in Minato-ku, contributing to the cleanliness and well-being of our community.
  • Sustainable Partnerships: At Next Level, we emphasize working with sustainable companies, both clients and suppliers. To ensure alignment with our values, we require them to submit an ESG Questionnaire or CSR Questionnaire when we first engage with them.

These initiatives reflect our commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement in our environmental impact.

The Benefits of Embracing Sustainability

Adopting sustainable practices offers numerous benefits:

  • Cost Savings: Increased efficiency can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Enhanced Brand Reputation: Sustainability initiatives can enhance brand reputation and attract eco-conscious customers.
  • Healthier Work Environment: Implementing sustainable practices can foster a healthier work environment.
  • Future-Proofing: Contributing to global sustainability goals helps create a better future for all.
Sustainable marketing

Every individual can contribute to sustainability by making small, impactful changes in their daily lives. Simple actions like reducing energy consumption, recycling, using public transportation, and supporting sustainable brands can collectively make a significant difference.


In summary, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires the collective effort of all sectors of society, including small businesses and individuals. By implementing sustainable practices, we not only contribute to a healthier planet but also enjoy numerous benefits.

At Next Level, we are committed to driving green transformation and offer consulting services to help other businesses embark on their sustainability journeys.

We aim to inspire those we interact with—whether through our support for 1% for the Planet, organizing impactful events, or conducting CSR questionnaires—to pursue sustainability on an even larger scale. Our hope is that our efforts will encourage others, potentially much bigger than us, to take bold steps toward a sustainable future.

For more information on how we can assist you in your green transformation, please contact us!