The State of Sustainability in Japan 2021

How consumers think and act, and how brands can stay one step ahead


A comprehensive study

A series of in-depth interviews with Japanese brand leaders revealed a shared belief that sustainable business practices would inevitably become ubiquitous – yet many are struggling in this endeavour. In response, we set out to conduct Japan's most comprehensive research study into consumer engagement with sustainability, aiming to uncover findings related to three key questions:

1. What does sustainability mean to Japanese consumers and how much do they care?

2. How much do Japanese consumers know or care about brands level of sustainability?

3. How can brands stay competitive in their own approach to sustainability?

Get the report

Download the 75-page report, or pick up a print copy from our office in Nakameguro.

Toyota Woven City

5289 research participants

3 case studies: Toyota, L'Occitane, Patagonia

10 brand leader interviews

75 page report


Sustainability is by no means new to Japan. Renowned for traditions like Mottainai (minimising waste), Osusowake (sharing of goods or profit), and Sanpo Yoshi (business that benefits buyer, seller and society) and with more longstanding businesses than any other country in the world, in some senses Japan has long been ahead of the game.

Yet now, as the world faces up to ever more urgent and complex challenges, a broader, global and integrated idea of sustainability is becoming commonplace, and Japan finds itself falling behind global standards. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are lauded by experts, and gaining traction with brands and consumers alike, present a more complex and comprehensive framework.

Japan currently ranks 17/166 in terms of global SDG performance, but improvement areas are clear: gender equality, climate action and conserving life on land and below water. Other notable sustainability challenges for Japan include managing the super-ageing population, decarbonising energy generation, reducing plastic waste and curbing food loss.

Our sustainability practice

We've worked a range of brands on their sustainability challenges across Japan and globally. Get in touch with our team to see how we can help your business:

James Hollow

James Hollow
Founder / CEO

How might we better understand our customers and employees, so we can take action on sustainability initiatives?

Read the full report to drive your organisation forward on sustainability.


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