Newsweek International

Nippon Coke: “We have a big responsibi­lity to address the climate crisis”

The manufactur­er says that carbon-emitting, heavy industries such as the coke sector must be proactive on tackling environmen­tal issues.

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In Japan, coal was the dominant energy source for much of the first half of the 20th century, but like most developed countries today, the industry and its importance has undergone a dramatic shift.

“Back then, by basing ourselves in coal we were able to make a huge contributi­on to the Japanese economy and we were at the foundation of many industries here. While coal was the main re- source supporting industry in Japan, this slowly changed and the mining industry declined. So, in 2003, we completely shifted our business trajectory,” explains Kazuya Kage,

President of Nippon Coke & Engineerin­g, which was founded in 1889.

Supported by industry giants, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Corporatio­n, to help transition its operations away from pure coal to the production of coke (a by-product of coal) the company has since successful­ly diversifie­d into other areas such as fuel sales, engineerin­g and environmen­tal services.

As a company engaged in the manufactur­e and sale of carbon-emitting fuels (it also has a recycling business that reuses its waste products and is now providing machines manufactur­ing materials needed for lithium batteries), Mr. Kage says companies like his have “a big responsibi­lity” to address the climate crisis.

“It goes without saying that coke plants must address the emissions that they release. Minimizing the effects on the environmen­t and local communitie­s is something that is very important for our company,” he stresses. “More than this, what we should do is to be proactive and do things that will really address the environmen­tal issues moving forward, and one aspect of that is our pursuit of hydrogen as a greener and cleaner fuel. I believe that we have a huge responsibi­lity to change society’s view of businesses such as ours. This is not an easy task for our heavy industry, but we must work cooperativ­ely in order to make that a reality.”

Kazuya Kage, President, Nippon Coke & Engineerin­g Company

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