Nippon Steel Corporation

InfluenceMap Score
D-
Performance Band
34%
Organisation Score
47%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Metals & Mining
Head​quarters:
Tokyo, Japan
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Nippon Steel Corporation appears to be actively engaged on climate policy with broadly negative positions. The company has opposed carbon pricing including carbon taxes and emissions trading, and has supported a role for nuclear power and hydrogen with major exceptions. The company retains memberships to and executive positions in several key industry associations opposing climate policy.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Nippon Steel appears to have mixed top-line communications on climate policy. A report published on the company’s website in June 2021 recognized that carbon neutrality in the steel industry is “unavoidable” to achieve carbon neutrality in Japan. However, Nippon Steel President Eiji Hashimoto was quoted by the news outlet Asahi Shimbun in January 2021 as saying that “there is no prospect” of realizing Japan’s goal of zero GHG emissions by 2050. Commenting on achieving 2050 carbon neutrality, Hashimoto emphasized concern over “greenflation,” referring to cost increases due to accelerated investment towards decarbonization and declining fossil fuel production, in a statement on the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) website in January 2022. In the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) Global Environment Subcommittee in August 2020, Nippon Steel appeared to oppose climate-related regulation, stating support for “business-led” innovation over “political or economic methods.” In the same committee in January 2021, Nippon Steel called on the government to set the 2050 carbon neutrality target “as a basic principle rather than a legal objective,” citing concerns over “many uncertainties.” InfluenceMap has found limited recent evidence of explicit support for the Paris Agreement.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Between 2018-22, Nippon Steel has consistently lobbied against and expressed opposition to carbon pricing policies such as carbon taxes and emissions trading, and expressed negative positions on GHG emissions targets and the feed-in tariff (FIT). In February 2022, Nippon Steel President Hashimoto stated in the METI Manufacturing Industry Subcommittee that the “additional burden of carbon pricing,” such as carbon taxes, deprives resources for technological development and investment and “does not meet the purpose of reducing CO2,” repeating similar statements made by Nippon Steel in the METI Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Strategy Council in February 2021. In the same METI Manufacturing Industry Subcommittee hearing, Hashimoto also stated that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) has “not been effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” In a MoE hearing in April 2021, Nippon Steel accepted Japan’s 2030 GHG emissions reduction target as the government’s attempt to lead global efforts toward decarbonization, while stressing the need for further studies to determine how it can be achieved. In May 2021 however, the news outlet Nikkei reported that Hashimoto questioned the suitability of a uniform 46% target for all sectors, suggesting that it would be “irresponsible” to adopt it in his company. In a message on the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF) website in January 2022, Hashimoto requested a “drastic review of the electricity rate system,” citing concerns over increased electricity prices due to the FIT under the 6th Basic Energy Plan.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Nippon Steel has repeatedly taken a negative position on the energy transition, supporting a role for nuclear power and hydrogen with major exceptions. In the METI Basic Policy Subcommittee in April 2021, Nippon Steel President Hashimoto stated that “S + 3E (Safety, Energy Security, Economic Efficiency, and Environment) is an absolute requirement,” in addition to supporting the maximized use of nuclear energy due to “many geographical restrictions on the introduction of renewable energy” in Japan. In the same committee in March 2021, Hashimoto added that alongside nuclear power, “the use of certain fossil fuel energy is also essential.” The Vice President of Nippon Steel expressed the need for a “national strategy” to make nuclear and renewable energy affordable in an interview with Reuters in March 2021, however in May 2021, Hashimoto was quoted by Nikkei as saying that with rising electricity costs due to increased renewable energy, “there is only nuclear power.”

Nippon Steel advocates for hydrogen to reduce emissions in the steel industry, although with strong emphasis on obstacles and some ambiguity around the need to decarbonize hydrogen production. On the JISF website in January 2022, Hashimoto emphasized that “decarbonization in fields where there are no technical options, such as the steel industry, requires challenging the extremely high hurdles of technological development.” In the METI Hydrogen/Fuel Cell Strategy Council in February 2021, the company listed long-term R&D investment and the development of affordable infrastructure such as “stable supply of zero-emissions hydrogen and zero-emissions electricity” as necessary to support the “extremely high hurdles” of hydrogen reduction iron making. In a METI hearing in April 2021, Hashimoto supported increased hydrogen and ammonia in power generation, without specifying a position on their decarbonization. In February 2022, the Japan Metal Bulletin reported that in a meeting with Minister of the Environment, Hashimoto emphasized the need to develop a new production system using hydrogen, stating that “in order to leave Japan with a strong steel industry that supports the economy, it is necessary to achieve decarbonization,” although he did not specify a position on decarbonizing hydrogen.

Industry Association Governance: In its 2021 Sustainability Report, Nippon Steel disclosed that it participates in discussions on environmental and energy policies through industry associations, including “making various recommendations regarding Japan’s climate change measures and energy policies in accordance with the Paris Agreement,” but did not specify its specific policy positions. Nippon Steel has not published a full audit disclosure of its alignment with its industry associations, nor has it disclosed its membership in multiple associations.

The Nippon Steel President Hashimoto holds several leadership positions in industry associations which are negatively engaging on climate policy, including JISF and Keidanren. In addition, Nippon Steel holds prominent positions in industry associations including the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), and the Japan Coal Frontier Organization (JCOAL).

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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
40%
 
40%
 
48%
 
48%
 
63%
 
63%
 
36%
 
36%
 
61%
 
61%
 
24%
 
24%
 
46%
 
46%
 
60%
 
60%
 
45%
 
45%
 
44%
 
44%
 
48%
 
48%
 
36%
 
36%
 
47%
 
47%
 
57%
 
57%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.