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2014 Vol.3
Widespread awareness of Global Environmental Problems in Communities

Local Bottom-Up Efforts Concerning Environmental Management


A certain amount of time will be necessary before the new concept of natural capital comes to be widely accepted as part of the standards followed in socioeconomic activities in Japan. Also, much trial and error will be necessary concerning who promotes the concept and how the promotion is actually conducted. With regard to global environmental problems, businesses have already been established in areas such as recycling and energy conservation. In addition, these problems are widely considered as important factors in decisions, as seen from the prevalence of the concepts of corporate management, environmental CSR, and environmental accounting, as well as from the implementation of business models including emissions trading. However, there have been many efforts and extensive trial and error from when environmental problems were first recognized as global-scale problems based on experiences of pollution during the period of rapid economic growth to when these problems became the subject of public awareness and a widely considered issue in socioeconomic activities. Only in recent years have global environmental problems been widely recognized by the public. Considering examples of efforts made by local governments and industry groups regarding global environmental problems, this paper provides an overview of local countermeasures to these problems and new trends in managing such efforts. One can see that environmental problems are widely recognized as important factors in decisions. On the one hand, local governments are increasingly trying to support proactive, voluntary efforts by the public and industry; on the other hand, industry and the public appreciate the environment and try to make relevant efforts without excessively relying on support from the national and local governments. The concept of natural capital is expected to be further accepted by society and to become part of the universal standards for its activities. In this process, the concept must be widely incorporated in local voluntary efforts, and training must be provided in a wide range of fields to those who will promote the concept.