May 15 2024 - US

For Sony, protecting the environment is part of its 'DNA'

For Sony, protecting the environment is part of its “DNA”
Environmental Organizations


Mathsy Kutty

Mathsy Kutty

APAC Leader

The Climate Pledge

Sony is accelerating its sustainability goals, and partnering with like-minded companies will help.

Sony is no stranger to taking on grand challenges. That goes for not only their product and technology innovations, but their sustainability commitments, too. We sat down with Keiko Shiga, General Manager of the Environment Section within the Sustainability Department of Sony Group Corporation, to ask about the company’s long history of environmental initiatives, what they’ve learned along the way, and how signing The Climate Pledge supports their ambitious plans for the future.

The Climate Pledge: We’re thrilled Sony has joined The Climate Pledge. Sony’s commitment to the environment is long. We heard your first company-wide Sony Environmental Conference was established in 1976! Please share some background on Sony’s sustainability journey over the years. 

Sony: Sony was founded in 1946 as a small electronics company with a goal “to do what had never been done before,” in the words of our co-founder, Masaru Ibuka. This spirit is embedded in our DNA, and our environmental efforts are no exception.

We have pursued environmental initiatives since the 1970s and began setting environmental principles and targets in the early 1990s. In accordance with ISO14001, we also established a unified environmental management system in 2006 to provide a framework for taking proactive measures to minimize our environmental footprint. This system covers all Sony manufacturing sites and non-manufacturing offices above a certain size, allowing us to move forward with the same set of reduction targets and plans across our diverse, global business portfolio. In 2010, we launched our global environmental plan, Road to Zero, which aims to achieve a zero environmental footprint by 2050. We were also the first Japanese company to receive Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) approval on our 2-degree aligned carbon reduction target in 2015. Additionally, since 2018, we have participated in RE100, a global initiative focused on bringing together hundreds of ambitious businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.


The Climate Pledge: Tell us more about Road to Zero and your recent decision to accelerate that goal.

Sony: In support of the Sony Group Environmental Vision, we strive to realize a sustainable society, which sustains all life on the earth for future generations, thereby ensuring that all humanity can attain a healthy and enriched life by achieving a zero environmental footprint throughout the life cycle of our products and business activities. It is this long-term goal that inspired the name of Road to Zero

The global plan has four focus points that we call “important environmental perspectives,” which include: climate change, resources, chemical substances, and biodiversity. Once every five years, we set medium-term environmental targets for each stage of the life cycle for our products, with respect to those four perspectives. One of our current medium-term targets, for example, is that we will use renewable energy in 35% or more of our business operations by 2025.

In 2022, we decided to accelerate our environmental impact reduction activities and expedite our goal to achieve a zero environmental footprint by 10 years. We are now moving forward with initiatives aimed at achieving net-zero emissions throughout the entire value chain by 2040. These revised climate targets got approval from SBTi, marking the first time this had happened for a major company in the consumer durables, household, and personal products sectors.

As part of Road to Zero, we’re currently on track to achieve our Green Management 2025 targets, which include: 1) reducing the amount of plastic and energy used by products; 2) expanding the use of renewable energy at Sony facilities; 3) enhancing engagement with raw material and component suppliers as well as contractors along the supply chain; and 4) strengthening efforts, particularly in the entertainment business, to raise awareness of sustainability issues. By 2030, we intend to switch to 100% renewable energy for electricity used at our business sites and achieve net-zero direct and indirect emissions (Scope 1 and 2) in our operations. Then, by 2035, we plan to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions during product use by 45%, achieving net-zero targets in all scopes by 2040. 

The Climate Pledge: What are some customer-facing sustainability initiatives? Tell us about your decarbonization efforts in product design and packaging. 

Sony: In our efforts to use more recycled plastics in our products, we developed SORPLAS, a Sony-original polycarbonate made from a proprietary flame retardant and materials such as water bottles and waste optical discs, which are collected from factories and markets. It’s used in a variety of Sony products like our BRAVIA TVs and also in non-Sony products. Recycled plastic used in electronics is typically only around 30% recycled content. However, our sulfur-based flame retardant produces consistently high-performing plastic, even when using up to 99% recycled content. CO2 emissions from production of SORPLAS can be reduced by approximately 72% compared to flame-retardant virgin plastic production used in the same application. SORPLAS won’t degrade much even after being recycled several times, so in the future, it’s expected that SORPLAS will be recovered and reused in new products.


For packaging, we developed Original Blended Material: a versatile material that can be used for a variety of purposes including outer boxes, inner boxes, cushions, sleeves, product protection sheets, and instruction manuals. It’s made from bamboo, sugarcane fibers, and recycled paper—all of which are available around the world’s largest manufacturing hubs in Asia. While most paper products come from mature perennial trees, plants with a long growth cycle need to be managed by humans for generations. In contrast, plants like bamboo and sugar cane grow quickly. By using the Original Blended Material, we aim to raise awareness of the environment for anyone who picks up a Sony package.

The Climate Pledge: What do you find most valuable about joining The Climate Pledge? What are you most looking forward to as part of this collective of businesses united for climate action?

Sony: Tackling climate change is a global agenda, and no one company can do this alone as we are all connected under one sky. As we have a diverse business portfolio—game and network services, music, pictures, entertainment, technology and services, imaging and sensing solutions, and financial services—we have touch points with many of the companies that gather in The Climate Pledge. We look forward to collaborating with like-minded companies.


The Climate Pledge: What’s next for Sony in the next year or two?

Sony: While we work to reach our 2025 targets, we will start to establish the next set of our Green Management targets to be achieved in 2030.

Expanding our use of renewable electricity further is one of the most important actions we will take in the coming years. In particular, we plan to expand the installation of solar panels at our site in Thailand in the imaging and sensing solutions segment, which uses a lot of energy. Additionally, in Japan, a new virtual power purchase agreement was signed last August to guarantee funding for future renewable energy projects, which Sony will lead in partnership with third-party developers.  

Sony signed The Climate Pledge on September 26, 2023. For more details on the company’s dedication to the environment, visit Sony’s sustainability site.