Eco-Rail Certification Launched to Promote Greener Trains in Japan

Eco-Rail Certification Launched to Promote Greener Trains in Japan

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has launched an "Eco-Rail Mark" program as a means to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the distribution sector. The program aims to encourage companies to shift to rail transportation and help raise consumers' awareness of environmental action in this field. The first certification was awarded at a recent meeting of the Eco-Rail Mark Management and Certification Committee.

The advantage of switching to rail transportation is that it can reduce CO2 emissions to about one-eighth of the amount generated by transporting the same loads by truck. Certified companies are allowed to use the Eco-Rail Mark on their products, in product catalogs and on other materials to inform consumers of their environmental initiatives. Most people have been unaware of these activities so far. The Eco-Rail Mark also helps promote environmental consciousness among consumers, and provides them with additional information for selecting products.

There are two categories of Eco-Rail certification, one for products and the other for companies. A product brand can be Eco-Rail certified if the proportion of rail transport is 30% or more for goods that travel over 500 or more kilometers on land. For a company to be certified, it must use railways for 15% or more of its total product shipments.

Nine companies (mostly food and beverage manufacturers) and one product (mineral water) were chosen at the first certification meeting. The ministry intends to issue four more calls for certification applications by the end of fiscal 2005.