Sony recyclingSony is a company that really “gets” sustainability. Its goal: to have a zero environmental footprint by 2050. To achieve this, the company developed the ambitious Road to Zero campaign in 2010, which sets a series of specific objectives based on four environmental perspectives and six product life-cycle stages.

The environmental perspectives

  • Curbing climate change toward zero-emission products.
  • Conserving resources by reducing the amount of virgin materials used and maximizing the use of recycled materials.
  • Promoting biodiversity by respecting the natural environment through business activities and through conservation.
  • Controlling chemical substances by phasing out substances that could cause environmental risks and finding less toxic substitutes.

The product life-cycle stages

  • Research and development
  • Product planning and design
  • Procurement
  • Business operations
  • Distribution
  • Take-back and recycling
Sony’s mid-term targets for its Road to Zero campaign started in fiscal year 2011 (April 2011) and will extend through the end of fiscal year 2015 (March 2016), then new targets for the following five years will be set. Some of the specific 2015 targets:
  • 50% absolute reduction in waste generation (compared to fiscal 2000)
  • 16% reduction in incoming parts packaging waste (compared to fiscal 2008)
  • 30% reduction in annual energy consumption of products (compared to fiscal 2008)
  • 5% reduction in utilization ratio of virgin oil-based plastics in products (compared to fiscal 2008)
  • 14% reduction in total CO2 emissions associated with all transportation and logistics (compared to fiscal 2008)
  • 30% absolute reduction in water consumption (compared to fiscal 2000)
  • 10% reduction in product mass (compared to fiscal 2008)
Sony has already made strides to reduce its environmental impact around the globe. In 2007, it was the first consumer electronics manufacturer to establish a nationwide takeback recycling program in the U.S. This program allows consumers to recycle any Sony-branded product free of charge. To date, this program has recycled more than 75 million pounds of Sony products. Sony is also the only company that voluntarily collects used small-sized consumer electronics on an experimental basis jointly with a municipality, Kitakyushu City, in southern Japan. Gold, silver, bronze and palladium are removed from discarded products and are reused by Sony. For example, recycled gold was used in Sony’s semiconductor chips that were then adopted for use in Sony Ericsson’s “URBANO BARONE” mobile phone (available in Japan). For more information on Sony’s Road to Zero campaign, visit