In August Ethical Consumer searched the Rakuten website global.rakuten.com for its environmental policy. A report on CSR Activities dated 2016 was found. This contained accounts of a range of CSR projects the company had undertaken but nothing about the company's own environmental performance and targets for the future.
An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on its environmental performance and set targets for the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified targets, demonstrate that the company had a reasonable understanding of its main impacts, be dated within the previous two years and be independently verified.
Rakuten had none of these, therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting.

Reference:

CSR Activities 2016 (14 August 2018)

In August 2018 Ethical Consumer viewed the Rakuten's website and 2016/17 annual report which stated that the organisation had completed a "state of the art data centre". Any organisation where streaming is a large part of its offering would be heavily reliant on data centres.

Greenpeace stated in 2017 that "The energy footprint of the IT sector is already estimated to consume approximately 7% of global electricity. With an anticipated threefold increase in global internet traffic by 2020, the internet’s energy footprint is expected to rise further".

Therefore any company using data centres was expected by Ethical Consumer to have a policy addressing its energy usage. Companies which used 100% renewable were considered to have a positive policy. Due to the fact that the Rakuten's made no mention of where it sourced the energy for its data centres it lost half a mark under Ethical Consumer's climate change category.

Reference:

https://global.rakuten.com/ (14 August 2018)

In August 2018 Ethical Consumer searched the Rakuten website but could find no evidence of a policy on toxic chemicals such as PVC, phthalates and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). The company produced e-readers.
As a producer of electronics Ethical Consumer believed this policy was a necessary part of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility reporting. Rakuten therefore lost a whole mark under Pollution and Toxics.

Reference:

https://global.rakuten.com/ (14 August 2018)

In August 2018 Ethical Consumer viewed Rakuten's website global.rakuten.com for the company's conflict minerals policy. It had no published conflict minerals policy. The company manufactured e-readers.
Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The minerals in question are Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) and are key components of electronic devices, from mobile phones to televisions.
Ethical Consumer expected any company manufacturing electronics to have a policy on the sourcing of conflict minerals. Such a policy would articulate the company's commitment to conflict free sourcing of 3TG minerals and its commitment to continue ensuring due diligence on the issue. The policy should also state that it intended to continue sourcing from the DRC region in order to avoid an embargo and show evidence of membership or financial support to organisations developing the conflict free industry in the region.
As a result the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating and lost a whole mark under the following categories Habitats and Resources and Human Rights.

Reference:

https://global.rakuten.com/ (14 August 2018)

The Guardian online, www.theguardian.com, reported in April 2014 that the Japanese online retailer Rakuten had agreed to end all online sales of whale and dolphin meat by the end of April 2014, after the international court of justice ordered Japan to immediately halt its annual whale hunts in the southern ocean.
Rakuten said it had asked sellers to cancel sales of whale meat products on its website “in accordance” with the ICJ ruling. Monday’s verdict in the Hague, however, did not cover whale meat sales in Japan, which were legal, or the country’s slaughter of a smaller number of whales in the north-west Pacific and in its own coastal waters.
When Ethical Consumer checked on the status of this story in August 2018, Rakuten had reportedly agreed to end elephant ivory sales, according to Humane Society International, but no news reports corroborating this could be found. Therefore the company was considered not to have changed it stance since 2014.

Reference:

Exclusive: Barcelona must use new £200m Rakuten sponsorship deal to battle ivory trade (14 August 20