Trade & Industry towards Carbon Neutrality | EU-Japan Online Conference | 30th June 2021

Japan and the EU share the objective of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Both implement policies and support investments towards this goal, building the foundation for a sustainable green growth. Innovation in clean technologies and their successful commercialization are needed for modern and competitive economies.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2018 creates an open trade zone covering over 600 million people and a third of the global value of goods and services. This agreement reaffirms the shared commitment of the EU and Japan to sustainable development. As such, it can contribute to promoting trade and investment between Europe and Japan, in industrial solutions for a decarbonized society.

Businesses from both sides already work together in a number of sectors contributing to decarbonization, such as renewable energy, hydrogen or clean mobility. This cooperation can be expanded, to the benefit of an accelerated, cost-effective, large scale deployment of low-carbon industrial solutions in the EU, Japan and other regions.

Building on the strength of bilateral trade, and leveraging the effect of EU-Japan cooperation on regulations and standards, the event will focus on technologies and sectors that are key to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 in the EU and Japan: renewable energy, hydrogen, clean mobility, and the raw materials required by these industries.

It will aim at facilitating the exchanges of experiences between business representatives from the EU and Japan about the potential opportunities associated with green growth, on both markets and on the global scene.


Moderator: Ms. Teri Schultz, international TV and radio reporter, podcast host.


Session 1: “Renewable energy: decarbonizing the economy at the source”

Renewable energy is one of the main solutions to decarbonize the economy. Its development requires that both demand and offer grow, in a virtuous circle. Initiatives such as RE100, joined by large businesses from Japan and Europe, are contributing to enhance and consolidate corporate demand. In addition, non-discriminatory trade and investment are powerful drivers for lowering costs and for disseminating technologies.  

Taking stock of the current trends related to renewable energy, our speakers will reflect on the key factors to the development of economically viable international supply chains, and the role that trade between Europe and Japan can have in accelerating the deployment of renewable energy. They will also illustrate how the renewable energy industry can help decarbonize all other industries.

Session 2: “Hydrogen: a new vector to store and distribute low-carbon energy”

To be used in vehicles, buildings and factories, renewable energy needs to be transported and stored. Hydrogen, when produced from renewable sources, is increasingly seen as a solution to transport clean energy across countries, and to store it near consumption sites. In this session, experts will highlight the latest trends: how hydrogen can contribute to a low-carbon industry in the world, in Japan and in Europe. And how can international trade of hydrogen be organized to facilitate the adoption of this energy vector as a tool for truly decarbonized economies?

Q&A: “Clean energy for clean industries, transports and buildings”

Interactive session with the 6 speakers from Sessions 1 & 2.

How can the EU and Japan work together for an accelerated contribution of renewable energy and hydrogen to decarbonized industries, transports and buildings in Europe, Japan and other regions? How do the efforts of Europe and Japan in this regard fit in the global landscape?

Session 3: “Transport: towards zero-emission mobility”

Decarbonization of the transport sector will be key in the shift to a low-carbon society. Key technologies range from battery-powered electric vehicles, to new approaches to public transport such as mobility-as-a-service, and to the new materials required for the manufacturing of vehicles. Renewable hydrogen can also play a role in the decarbonization of certain modes of transport. 

This session will focus on the example of the automobile industry: how do car manufacturers worldwide, in Europe and in Japan transform their long-established fossil-based models and introduce new technologies to produce low-carbon vehicles? What is the role for international standards to ensure interoperability between systems, thus creating economies of scale and efficiencies through international trade? In particular, what contribution can we expect from the bilateral trade between Europe and Japan in the automotive sector? How can the EU-Japan trade agreement contribute to accelerating the reductions of greenhouse gases emissions of cars?

Session 4: “Raw materials for decarbonized economies”

Solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, smarter grids, smarter vehicles… Many technologies required for the transition to decarbonized economies need non-renewable raw materials, such as rare-earth metals. By definition, these materials are available in limited quantities, and extraction is problematic due to the high environmental impact. Furthermore, the scarcity of critical raw materials is exacerbated by restrictions to exports and other measures distorting international trade.

In this session, experts will discuss which strategies guarantee sufficient availability of the required raw materials, and how their extraction and recycling can be managed to ensure the lowest environmental impact on the full lifecycle of products. 

Q&A: “Zero carbon over the full lifecycle of goods and services”

Interactive session with the 6 speakers from Sessions 3 & 4.

From raw materials extraction to the end-use of technologies such as zero-emission vehicles, how do the European and Japanese industries position themselves on the global scene, towards a truly decarbonized lifecycle of goods and services?  How does a circular approach contribute to a more virtuous model? How can multilateral or bilateral trade rules facilitate the establishment of low-carbon supply chains? What possibilities for joint action by the EU and Japan to promote fair access sources of raw materials?

The moderator will ask questions received from the audience and her own questions, with the objective of highlighting the connections between the topics covered by the two previous thematic sessions. She will also guide the discussion towards highlighting the potential development of trade and industry exchanges between the EU and Japan in these sectors.


Information & Registration

  • Date: Wednesday 30th June | 9:00-11:30 CET / 16:00-18:30 JST
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Language: English and Japanese with simultaneous interpretation
  • Registration is free

More about the companies and organizations

European Commission

Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE)

This department of the European Commission is responsible for the EU Commission’s policies and agreements on trade with countries outside the EU. It negotiates bilateral, regional or multilateral agreements with third countries and monitors its implementation. The EU has recently signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, allowing to lay down common high standards along shared values on which further economic exchanges are conducted. | More about the Directorate General for Trade

Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)

The Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs works to ensure an open internal market for goods and services and help turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by mostly supporting SMEs and enforcing industrial property rights. | More about Directorate General for GROW

Directorate General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA)

The Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA) is responsible for formulating and implementing EU climate policies and strategies to turn the EU into the first climate-neutral continent in 2050. It contributes to greening finance, ensures the dissemination of climate action into the EU and Member States policies and budgets, and participates in international negotiations on climate. It aims to tackle global warming at EU and international level. | More about DG CLIMA

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI)

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is in charge of economic and industrial development and administration related to mineral and energy resources. The Bureau for Industrial Science and Technology policy aims to build an open innovation system to enhance Japan’s industrial technology capabilities. Besides, the Bureau for Trade Policy is involved in the overall management, formulation, implementation of affairs concerning international cooperation in the field of trade and economy. | More about the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry


BloombergNEF is a leading provider of strategic research on the pathways for the power, transport, industry, buildings and agriculture sectors to adapt to the energy transition. Analysis, data and research produced by the BNEF are widely used by journalists and policy makers from around the world. | More about BloombergNEF

Enel Green Power

Enel is a Roma-based multinational company, one of the world’s leading integrated power utilities. It is the first private power network operator globally, has one of the largest global customer base and is the largest private player in producing energy from renewable sources. Enel Green Power is the Enel Division dedicated to the development and operation of renewable energy plants. Enel Green Power is present in 32 countries worldwide and manages more than 1.200 power plants, mostly in Europe and in hydroelectric. | More about Enel Green Power

Kansai Electric Power Company

The Kansai Electric Power Company engages in the business of electric power, heat supply, telecommunications and gas supply services, mainly in the Kansai region of Japan. The company also develops international activities; it has participated in a total of 20 projects in 12 countries, including wind power in Europe. It was established in 1951 and employs around 18.000 people. | More about Kansai Electric Power Company

International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE)

The IPHE, established in 2003, is an international intergovernmental partnership currently consisting of 19-member countries and the European Commission. Its objective is to facilitate and accelerate the transition to clean and efficient energy and mobility systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies across applications and sectors. This partnership provides a forum for sharing information to accelerate the cost-effective transition to the use of hydrogen and fuel cells in the economy. | More about IPHE

Hydrogen Europe

Hydrogen Europe brings together diverse industry players, large companies and SMEs, who support the delivery of hydrogen and fuel cells technologies. It represents the European hydrogen and fuel cell sector, with more than 260 member companies and 27 member national associations. The objective of Hydrogen Europe is to enable the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel for Europe’s low carbon economy. | More about Hydrogen Europe

Japan Hydrogen Association

Japan Hydrogen Association was launched in december 2020 to promote the formation of a hydrogen supply chain and global partnerships in the hydrogen sector. The JH2A will make policy proposals to the government, undertake international collaborations with other related organizations, conduct research and analysis. It currently gathers 195 companies, organizations and local governments. | More about JH2A

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm advising world’s leading businesses, governments, and institutions. It provides industry practice solutions, functional practice solutions and managerial solutions. Founded in 1926 in London, it operates additional offices in more than 65 countries worldwide with over 30.000 employees. | More about McKinsey & Company

BMW Group

BMW Group is a German world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles which also provides premium financial and mobility services. The company’s production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries, and a workforce of more than 120,000 employees. BMW Group Japan established in 1981 provides financial services and acts as a wholesaler by importing and distributing BMW Group vehicles. The partnership signed with Toyota Motor in 2011 led to the production of jointly developed models in 2019. | More about BMW Group

Toyota Motor Europe

Toyota Motor is a Japanese multinational founded in 1937, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world based on 2020 unit sales, and the largest listed company in Japan by market capitalization. The company is the global leader in sales of hybrid electric and in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Toyota Motor started operations in Europe in 1963. Toyota Motor Europe now employs over 25000 people, overseeing the sales and marketing of vehicles and managing Toyota’s manufacturing and engineering operations in the region. | More about Toyota Motor Europe


The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization founded in 1961 which fosters world trade by bringing together representatives from governments, parliaments, international organisations, business and labour, civil society. It provides a forum to share best-practices, exchange experiences, set international standards, and advice on public policies. | More about OECD


Umicore is a Belgian global leader in clean mobility materials and recycling founded in 1989. The company focuses its R&D efforts and commercial activities on clean technologies such as control catalysts, materials for rechargeable batteries and recycling. It has 50 production sites and 15 R&D technical sites worldwide with over 10.000 employees. | More about Umicore

Sojitz Corporation

Sojitz Corporation is a general trading company, engaged in a wide range of businesses globally, including buying, selling, importing, and exporting goods, manufacturing and selling products, providing services, and planning and coordinating projects, in Japan and overseas. The Group also invests in various sectors and conducts financing activities. The broad range of sectors in which Sojitz operates includes those related to automobiles, plants, aerospace, medical infrastructure, energy, mineral resources, chemicals, foodstuff resources, agricultural and forestry resources, consumer goods, and industrial parks. It was founded in 2003, and operates worldwides with its nearly 20.000 employees. | More about Sojitz Corporation

Supported by

This event is organized with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the organizer and speakers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Organized by

EU Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

Climate neutrality