About Our Public Relations Activity (Participation in the ICCA)

Leading the activities of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) in the field of energy and climate change

(Left in the photo)Masamichi YagishitaGeneral Affairs Department, Showa Denko K.K.
(Right in the photo)Tohru YamamotoCorporate Planning Department, Showa Denko K.K.

For two years from June 2020, Masamichi Yagishita and Tohru Yamamoto of Showa Denko's ICCA Office (at that time) respectively served as chair and head of the secretariat of the ICCA's Energy & Climate Change Leadership Group (E&CC LG). The ICCA is composed of chemical associations from across the world and Showa Denko has been participating in it as the representative of the Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA). The ICCA has five leadership groups (LGs) tasked with examining social issues faced by the world's chemical industry, including the E&CC LG. In the following, the two talk about the results and lessons learned from the two-year activities, desired participation of the Showa Denko Group in overseas initiatives and their future expectations. (The dialogue was held in a former Showa Denko conference room on May 30, 2022.)

1. About the ICCA Office

The ICCA has E&CC LG as one of its leadership groups. In May 2020, President Morikawa of Showa Denko (at that time), was appointed to be the chairman of the JCIA, the ICCA Office was established to enable the Showa Denko Group to demonstrate leadership in the E&CC LG. In addition to Yagishita and Yamamoto, who worked full-time on ICCA-related activities, Kamemura from the Production Technology Development also joined the ICCA Office while continuing to work at the Department. Yagishita served as chair of the E&CC LG and Yamamoto as the head of its secretariat for two years from June 2020, and Kamemura supported them as a person tasked with reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions from the Showa Denko Group. Employees had been seconded by the Group to external organizations such as the JCIA in the past, but this was the first time for the Group to establish an organization devoted to public relations activities under the direct control of the president.

2. About the ICCA

It is an international council composed of chemical associations from across the world. Showa Denko has been participating in this council through the JCIA. The ICCA was founded in 1989 and has been expanding its activities for the Responsible Care (RC) Global Charter and for the spread of RC activities beyond the management of chemical substances. It now includes organizations from China and India as well as from Europe, the United States and Japan. The Steering Committee manages the operation of the ICCA and there are five leadership groups (LGs) under the Committee. Showa Denko is a member of the E&CC LG, which has about 40 members, including nearly 10 core members. The E&CC LG has three task forces (TFs), including the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Task Force.

  Name of the LG Field Chaired by:
(May 2022)
1 E&CC LG Energy & Climate Change Showa Denko (Japan)
2 Plastics LG Plastics SABIC (Saudi Arabia)
3 CP&H LG Chemicals Policy & Health BASF (Germany)
4 Responsible Care LG Responsible Care ExxonMobil (United States)
5 Communications LG Communications Cefic (Belgium)

3. About the activities of the E&CC LG

The E&CC LG is engaging in the field of energy and climate change, and we conducted activities to express our science-based opinions from a neutral standpoint and share relevant information. Climate change brings with it a range of complex political and technical issues, and we worked to share the science-based views of the global chemical industry in order to gain the public's understanding, deeming it to be an important challenge.
The Carbon LCA (cLCA) TF is holding discussions on LCA. The ICCA published an executive guide titled “How to Know If and When It's Time to Commission a Life Cycle Assessment.” This publication, which was translated into Japanese, is recognized as an internationally prestigious guide in the field. The E&CC LG defined the term “cLCA” and widely introduced the meaning and methodology on behalf of the chemical industry.
The Innovations TF makes reports about the latest technology for energy and climate change. Three years ago, it published “Enabling the future” (ICCA, 2020), which summarizes the initiatives implemented by chemical companies for technological development. It classifies more than 1,000 examples and selects 17 solutions for reference by companies. The publication states that the chemical industry could be a potential impact to reduce the world's GHG emissions by 25% by 2050 through its technological contributions.
The Advocacy TF conducted activities to introduce the ICCA's policies through science-based activities or, more specifically, activities to effectively spread the use of its science-based reports. The chemical industry has been making tremendous contributions to the world while also having negative impacts. For global issues including global warming, the chemical industry wants the public to recognize the possible contributions that the industry can make for the world through technological innovation, and to this end the Advocacy TF has been conducting activities. LCA, as mentioned above, is also essential to deal with climate change and is deeply related to the advocacy activities.
The Plastics LG was urgently launched two years ago to deal with the EU's new regulations and proposals on the reduction of plastic production made by NGOs. Recently, in response to an increase in the number of proposals on the introduction of regulations that will have big impacts on the chemical industry, the LG has proactively been conducting lobbying activities.

4. Results achieved as the leader of the E&CC LG

There are roughly three achievements that we made.
First, we made an ICCA statement on the shared recognition of the chemical industry on climate change measures with the participation of members from China and India as well as from other countries and announced it in 2021. In this statement, the chemical industry declares that it will work to contribute to the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement and to the achievement of carbon neutrality by the middle of the 21st century. Companies from China and India, which used to participate in the LG's activities under associate membership, participated fully in the discussion to give the statement more weight. The company boasting the world's No. 1 sales in the chemical industry is Sinochem, and China and India are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world in terms of national population. We thought that the companies and countries thus had great influential power in the chemical industry and were therefore essential partners to promote co-creation. We now feel proud that we were able to exchange opinions and deepen mutual understanding with them in the process of making the statement and as a result adopt a new point of view to make the statement a good one. By following the necessary procedures, we have had this statement posted on the ICCA's websiteOpen new window as its climate policy statement.

Second, we implemented a project for carbon neutrality. We used to discuss carbon neutrality with a focus on how we could contribute to energy conservation in the downstream segment of the value chain (Scope 3 [downstream]) by providing heat insulating materials and LED lamps for houses as well as plastic materials for weight reduction. Moving forward, however, the chemical industry is expected to make more direct contributions in Scopes 1 and 2. During the two years, we were able to start discussing how to identify and reduce the amount of CO2 emitted from the manufacturing processes employed by the chemical industry. We will pay attention to globally major chemical products and discuss how to reduce emissions from them, including emissions from their manufacturing processes and from materials used to make them, so that we can show how the chemical industry will address carbon neutrality going forward.

Third, we made an achievement in the advocacy activity. In the E&CC LG, the purpose of the advocacy activity long remained unclear. The energy and climate change field involves various political, technical and economic issues and has many stakeholders. It is therefore difficult for the ICCA to present its shared opinions in this area and make them widely known. During the two-year term we summarized a range of opinions from a neutral standpoint and published a science-based report to further clarify the position of the ICCA.
It took a tremendous effort to lead the above three initiatives, but it was also quite meaningful for us to cooperate with our industry peers for the future of the chemical industry.

5. Future activities

Through the ICCA's activities, we were able to see how internationally influential countries and companies think, act and make decisions, which would be impossible to learn in our conventional activities. Not only as the ICCA but as Showa Denko, we participated in a range of initiatives together with top chemical manufacturers from Western countries. We believe such participation helps us grasp various things about these manufacturers, including how they think. In honing our ability to make appropriate responses, we can take a shortcut by participating in international initiatives and working alongside other participants. The two years really were a great experience.
It is also very important to collaborate with outsiders. First of all, we need to think about what issues the Showa Denko Group can contribute to by making use of its strengths. In Japan, as its public relations activities, the Group promotes co-creation with various stakeholders through various activities, receiving subsidies for technological development from the government. Outside Japan, however, we have not yet participated in any co-creative frameworks, although it is necessary for us to obtain information required for globalization. Now governmental policies and regulations are updated in a cycle of two to three years, and we might one day find out that we are falling behind global companies. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to participate in international initiatives at the earliest possible stage and promote co-creation with other companies.