A group of leading global and Japan-headquartered businesses have issued a call on the Japanese government to significantly increase its ambitions for renewable energy, on its pathway to decarbonization.

More than 50 companies from the RE100 initiative, including Google, AstraZeneca, Nestlé, Ricoh, Panasonic and Nikon, have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga calling for a increase in the country’s target to 50% by 2030, more than double the current goal. RE100 is a global initiative led by the Climate Group and in partnership with CDP, bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.

In October, Suga announced the launch of a major new sustainability commitment for the country, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. While applauding the new commitment, the companies argue that more needs to be done on the clean energy front on the road to decarbonization, and in order to help businesses in the country achieve their own renewable energy goals.

In the letter, the companies state:

“Increasing the 2030 renewable energy target to 50% from 22-24% in the Strategic Energy Plan would send powerful market signals to help jumpstart a green economic recovery. It would also reduce exposure to fossil fuels, which carry hefty price volatility and geopolitical risks. Finally, offering greater corporate access to more abundant renewable energy will help businesses achieve their climate goals, which often align with Japan’s climate vision.”

The companies note that the share of renewable energy in use by RE100 companies is much lower in Japan at only 14%, relative to other countries, such as the UK at 91%.

The letter suggests policies and initiatives to help accelerate the availability of renewable energy in Japan, including strengthening the grid, and enabling offsite corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Aleksandra Klassen, RE100 Senior Impact Manager at the Climate Group, said:

“Many major businesses in Japan want to embrace clean energy, but the high costs of renewables and limited availability often remain the biggest stumbling blocks to them making the switch. As RE100 members make clear, now is the time for the Japanese Government to be bold in its energy policy and commit to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. This will help drive forward Japan’s green economic recovery and pave the way for a clean energy future for businesses and consumers alike.”