A global photography competition has been launched by corporate accountability group Action Speaks Louder as part of their campaign to battle tech giant Canon and their associated think tank, Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) on the issue of sustainability including emission reduction and renewable energy targets.
Entry to the competition is free for all and open until 23:59 (Japan Standard Time) on February 28, 2023 at the competition webpage linked here. The organizers are asking entrants to submit powerful photographs that would inspire humanity to take better care of the planet. The campaign encourages everyone to use the hashtag #CamerasDontLie to join the movement by posting images and comments about nature, the environment or any climate crisis-related issues.
Shortlisted entries and winners will be announced in early March to coincide with Canon’s annual shareholder meeting. The winning image will be featured on a billboard in Times Square, NYC as well as on the group’s digital media platforms.
Members of the international judging panel include Celina Chien (ecologist, photojournalist, and actor), Hisham Akira Bharoocha (Brooklyn-based artist), and Naoki Ishikawa (photographer and writer). Supporters of the campaign include Yumiko Sakuma (New York/Tokyo-based writer and activist), Rick Grehan (activist and founder of imageMILL, the first sustainable branding agency in Japan), and Lillian Ono (activist, model, and podcast host).
The goal is to pressure Canon into a public response to the campaign.
Action Speaks Louder (“ASL”), an Australian non-profit company formed in 2021, wants to pressure Canon into making a public statement that the company does not support views expressed by the CIGS which ASL says are “anti-science and pro-fossil fuel”. The non-profit also demands that Canon commit to a 100% renewable energy target as well as advocate for the rapid energy transformation in Japan.
Several data points used by the group to fuel the campaign are supported by a Transition Asia (“TA”) publication released in November 2022, which stated that Canon’s 2030 emissions reduction target had been lowered in 2018 compared to where it was set in 2008 (source: TA Canon Climate Report). Transition Asia is a Hong Kong-based non-profit company founded in 2021 working to accelerate East Asian corporate climate action.
The TA report also states that Canon committed to a 4.9% renewable energy target for 2023 while other industry peers committed to a 100% goal by 2030 or 2050. Peers such as Fujifilm and Ricoh commited to 50% by 2030. Nikon commited to 30% by 2030. Lastly, leading the way by committing to 100% by 2030 was Sony. Fujifilm, Ricoh, Nikon, and Panasonic commited to 100% by 2050 (source: TA Canon RE Peer Ranking Report).
Transition Asia’s aforementioned data on Canon’s targets cites Canon’s sustainability reports as well as CDP climate reports (as submitted by Canon). CDP is a not-for-profit running a worldwide disclosure system for companies and their environmental impacts.
Canon Global’s 2022 Sustainability Report stated that their 2030 goal was to aim for a 50% emissions reduction in 2030 compared to levels measured in 2008 which was also their goal according to their 2018 sustainability report. Their net-zero CO2 emissions goal for product lifecycles is 2050 (source: Sustainability Report 2022).
On renewable energy results in the 2022 report (which reviews 2021 data), they state that total worldwide renewable energy consumption by Canon Group companies increased approx. 6% in 2021 over 2020 (source: Sustainability Report 2022). Canon failed to hit their 2020 target of 85,300 MWh as set in 2015 and reset their target in 2021 aiming for 4.85% renewable energy consumption in 2023 (source: CDP Reports, 2022, 2021).
In their FY2022 (ended Dec 31, 2022) financial report, Canon states the improvements made on their emission reduction schedule have beat their initial targets (source: FY2022 results). However, Transition Asia calls into question Canon’s emissions reduction ambition by modelling their own forecast for the company which leads to their conclusion that the results by 2030 would fail in reality to meet the targets set by the tech leader (source: TA Canon Climate Report).
When the research was published by Transition Asia in November 2022, Action Speaks Louder called on Canon to clarify the emission reduction targets that reports had referenced.
Canon is one of the world’s most influential brands and has the capacity to catalyse real climate action. But the reality of Canon’s promotion of climate denial coupled with its appalling record on clean energy would shock its customers. This competition aims to harness the creativity of photographers around the world to challenge Canon to be the sustainable company it markets itself as. – Action Speaks Louder, Executive Director, James Lorenz
To find more information about Action Speaks Louder, head over to their website here. The group is also active on Instagram and Twitter. As of today, there is no known statement from Canon Global but the ASL team will continue to compaign for a public response.
- Transition Asia Reports: Analysis of Canon’s New 2023 Targets, published November 2022. Taking Stock of Japan’s Digital Camera Manufacturers’ RE Ambition and Action, published November 2022.
- Canon’s sustainability reports and archives: link.
- Canon financial reports and investor relations newsroom: link.
- CDP reports: link.
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3 thoughts on “NEWS: Global Photography Competition Aimed At Raising Awareness of Canon’s Sustainability Practices”
Thank you for this. As much as I love the gear reviews and other stuff, this is 35MMC’s most important article. Hopefully with some pressure, Canon will up their game and start looking after our planet a little better.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ellis, hopefully they (and everyone else too) do!
As important as climate change is, this is just the tip of the ice berg (pun alert) as we will be seeing more corporate entities backtrack on their original climate goals, as deadlines near. This is inevitable, as long as there are two standards at play that divide the global political landscape.