In July 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed Rakuten Kobo’s website for the company's environmental policy or report. It stated on its website that “Rakuten recognizes and respects our dependence on the environment. From the broad range of products sold on Rakuten Ichiba to the travel destinations promoted on Rakuten Travel, all our businesses depend on the richness of our natural environment. This is why Rakuten is committed to reducing its environmental impacts, conserving the environment and protecting nature in all our operations.”
In July 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Environmental Report for Rakuten Kobo which had no date but referred to its environmental impacts relating to greenhouse gas emissions, resource management, biodiversity and the environmental impacts in its supply chains. This report did not contain any future targets.
Rakuten Kobo’s website stated that the company would have “100% renewable electricity for Rakuten Group, Inc. controlled offices, data centers and fulfillment centers by 2025.” Alongside this, Rakuten Kobo provided a pie chart which showed the current energy consumption in MWh of renewable and non-renewable energy use.
Accompanying this information, the company stated that “The environmental data indicated on this page for 2019 have been third-party verified.” Ethical Consumer viewed the “LR Independent Assurance Statement” which stated that “Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Limited (LR) was commissioned by Rakuten Corporation to provide independent assurance on its environmental and social data within its Corporate Report 2019”.
Ethical Consumer deemed a strong policy to include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
Whilst Rakuten Kobo Inc. did demonstrate that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, had a report dated within 2 years and was independently verified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Limited, it only had one reduction target. Therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.
Rakuten Kobo sustainability webpage (19 July 2021)