Environmental Management

Policy and Basic Concept

We strive initiatives to conserve the global environment to be a top management priority for us. This is under recognition that the business activities ITOCHU performs in Japan and overseas (e.g., the provision of various products and services, the development of resources, and business investment) are closely connected to global environmental problems.
Therefore, we established the Global Environment Department (current Sustainability Management Division) in 1990 ahead of other trading companies.
We are ensuring compatibility of both offense and defense — offense to promote environment conserving business and defense to take a precautionary approach to environmental and social risks — based on our environmental policy. The aim of this is to fulfill our corporate mission of “Sampo-yoshi.” We are also engaged in global corporate management and activities with a constant awareness of global environmental problems.

We reorganized and integrated our conventional environmental management structure into a structure to promote sustainability in line with the revision to this policy in April 2018. We have built and are maintaining and operating an efficient environmental management system in accordance with the ISO14001 standards.

Refer to: The ITOCHU Group Environmental Policy

Structures and Systems

ITOCHU was the first trading company to acquire ISO14001 certification in 1997 and is working to continuously improve its sustainability promotion system. We recognize that our business activities can have an impact on the global environment and society and so are looking to take a precautionary approach to environmental and social risks. To that end, we have built a sustainability management system to assess in advance the impact in regards to new investments in particular together with the products we handle. Under this system we formulate targets every year for items related to environmental and social risks, environment conserving businesses, saving energy, saving resources, GHG emissions reduction and other climate change related risks. We then assess and analyze the progress, and we move through the PDCA cycle to reliably achieve our targets.

Refer to: ITOCHU’s Sustainability Promotion Structure

ISO 14001 Certification of the ITOCHU Group

Group companies subject to ISO 14001 certification of ITOCHU Corporation
  • ITOCHU Corporation
  • ITOCHU Automobile Corporation
  • ITOCHU Metals Corporation
  • ITOCHU Taiwan Corporation
Number of companies in ITOCHU Group that have acquired ISO14001 certification

86 out of 558 companies (15% of the entire group)

Number of business sites in ITOCHU Group that have acquired ISO14001 certification

1,034 out of 4,615 business sites identified (22% of the entire group)

External Audits

ISO14001 certification
EMS 657977 / ISO 14001

ITOCHU undergo an ISO14001 certification review every year by the BSI Group Japan K.K. (BSI). We underwent the maintenance audit recently in November 2022. The latest registration certificate is valid until December 23, 2024.

Internal Audits

We conduct internal sustainability audits every year based on ISO14001. In FYE 2023, we audited all 49 departments (including in the form of a self-check for 27 departments). Members of the Sustainability Management Division constitute the audit team and conduct them with emphasis on compliance audits. The implementation of internal sustainability audits over half a year leads to a precautionary approach to environmental and social risks.


Assessment of Sustainability Risk in Products We Handle

ITOCHU deals in a wide variety of products on a global scale. Therefore, we believe it is vital that we assess the impact on the global environment of each product, our environmental related laws and regulation compliance situation, and our relationships with stakeholders. Accordingly, we conduct our own sustainability impact assessments on all our products. We use LCA* analytical techniques from the procurement of raw materials concerning the applicable product to their manufacturing process, use and disposal. These analysis assessment items include those related to climate change (e.g., the decrease in tropical rainforests, desertification and global warming) to assess such related risks. If the results of these assessments show that the impact on the global environment will be greater than a specific score, we formulate various regulations and procedure manuals with the applicable product being subject to priority management and specific education programs.

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): This is the technique to assess the impact of one product on the environment in all stages of its lifecycle — from raw materials to manufacture, transportation, use, and disposal or reuse.

Investigations into the Actual Conditions in Group Companies

We have continued to visit and investigate group companies having relatively high environmental impacts since 2001. The aim of this is to prevent environmental pollution by these group companies. We have investigated a total of 296 offices over the past 22 years up to the end of FYE 2023. We assess companies in these investigations by investigating their factory and warehouse facilities, their situation of drainage to rivers, and their compliance with environmental laws and regulations in addition to holding an engagement interview with their management regarding their response toward environmental challenges including climate change.

Sustainability Risk Assessments on New Investment Projects

For business investment projects that ITOCHU undertakes, the impact of the project on society and the environment, as well as the state of governance of the investment target are evaluated in advance using the ESG Checklist for Investment — a checklist that must be submitted when entering into new business investment projects. For example in relation to the risk of climate change, it includes information on energy consumption and GHG emissions. During FYE 2023, there were 57 applications of ESG Checklist. For projects that require expert knowledge, we make request to external expert to conduct investigations in advance. The project is then only undertaken upon confirming that there are no problems in the results of those investigations.

ITOCHU Europe Green Finance Framework

ITOCHU Europe Plc (ITOCHU Europe) published its Green Finance Framework in March 2019 and raised its first green loan of EUR150Million from banks including Mizuho Bank through ITOCHU Treasury Centre Europe Plc, ITOCHU’s group finance vehicle for Europe and the Middle East. This is the first green finance procured by any of the Japanese trading companies. ITOCHU Europe Green Finance Framework was independently reviewed by Sustainalytics and is used for investments in energy efficient projects, renewable energy projects, etc.

Refer to: ITOCHU Europe Green Finance Framework[Open in a new window]

Environmental Education and Awareness

We provide various educational programs to encourage employees to conduct environmental conservation activities. In addition, we hold environmental law and ordinance seminars and global environmental problem awareness seminars for group employees. Through these initiatives, we are striving to improve environmental awareness over the entire ITOCHU Group.

Seminars and Training Sessions

We proactively hold seminars and training sessions. The aim of these is to thoroughly inform ITOCHU Group employees about environmental related law and ordinance requirements and to raise their compliance and environmental awareness.

Inquiries from Inside and Outside the Company and Our Response to Them (FYE 2023)

Inquiries from outside parties
  • 4 from government authorities
  • 62 from companies (Business partners: 13, media: 2, finance: 7, others:40)
  • 3 from industry associations
  • 15 from NGOs
Requests for submission of ISO14001 certification copy


Serious environmental accidents, troubles, lawsuits or penalties in our company


Issuance of USD-Denominated Senior Unsecured SDGs Bonds

ITOCHU has decided to issue US$500Million Senior Unsecured Bonds due 2026 to raise funds for projects that contribute to SDGs (the “SDGs Bonds”). To issue the SDGs Bonds, ITOCHU has established the SDGs Bond Framework in alignment with the Green Bond Principles, 2018, the Social Bond Principles, 2020 and the Sustainability Bond Guidelines, 2018 as administered by ICMA (the International Capital Market Association). And it has obtained an external evaluation (second party opinion) from Vigeo Eiris (MOODY’S ESG SOLUTIONS FRANCE SAS) for the conformity of our Framework with principles such as the Sustainability Bond Guidelines.

Refer to: ITOCHU’s SDGs Bond (Sustainability Bond)