Event Recap: BLCC Japan’s Road to Carbon Neutrality Webinar


The Road to Carbon Neutrality Webinar hosted by the BLCC in Japan (BLCCJ) on 13 July 2021 saw approximately 80 attendees. The three speakers from TotalEnergies, Umicore and Solvay explained how their organisations aimed to contribute to Japan’s plan to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. BLCC members from Hong Kong were invited to participate; we warmly thank our colleagues in Japan for this great opportunity to attend!

First Speaker – Philip Olivier (TotalEnergies)

Philip Olivier, Country Chair at TotalEnergies International S.A. Japan Branch, began by stating that TotalEnergies aimed to diversify and move away from its primarily oil-based production. He presented TotalEnergies’ 2030 roadmap, displaying their goal of increasing renewable energy production to the point where oil only accounted for 35% of their total production by 2030, opposed to 55% in 2019; they also aim to increase their renewable energy output from 7 gigawatts in 2020 to 100 gigawatts in 2030, primarily through solar and offshore wind facilities. Over the next decade, TotalEnergies intends to invest 60 billion dollars into renewable energy. 

To illustrate their plan for reducing carbon emissions in Japan, Olivier went into detail on TotalEnergies’ current progress in decarbonising all of their operations in the EU and US. He also announced plans for further investment into nature based solutions. 

To conclude, he noted that despite both Europe and Japan both making declarations to become carbon neutral by 2050, the latter’s increase in renewable energy fell behind the former. He cited the main challenges in Japan being the lack of suitable land for renewable energy plants and issues regarding transportation of energy between the main Japanese islands. 

Second Speaker – Fabrice Stassin (Umicore)

Fabrice Stassin, Director of Government Affairs Electromobility Projects at Umicore, began by introducing Umicore as a global materials and recycling group, a leading supplier of key materials used in batteries and portable electronics, and the world’s leading recycler of complex waste streams containing precious metals. 

Stassin described the method through which Umicore intended to make batteries more widespread but also more efficient. He said that Umicore has an advantage when it comes to their ability to decarbonise mobility, due to them being uniquely integrated into the battery value chain. Stassin listed Umicore’s many facilities in Belgium, Germany, Poland, South Korea and mainland China to illustrate his point. 

He mentioned that with the demand for batteries increasing to over 2,600GWh by around 2030, the industry faces challenges in decarbonising all the materials used to produce the batteries. Stassin promptly described three main ways Umicore plans to face these challenges: increasing energy density, increasing the energy and resource efficiency of production processes, and recycling materials is the sustainable option to address the criticality of battery materials. However, he acknowledged the substantial investments necessary to overcome the complexity of these solutions. 

Third Speaker – Kazumasa Imoto (Solvay)

Kazumasa Imoto, President of Solvay Japan, introduced Solvay to attendees, describing it as a science company that improves daily life through its many technologies. 

Imoto-san detailed Solvay’s reasoning behind the focus on green hydrogen, enthusiastically explaining the different forms of hydrogen, the ways they are developed, and the technological maturity level required to achieve production. He intricately but efficiently communicated why out of the four types of hydrogen, green hydrogen was the key to meeting sustainable climate goals. Elaborating, he listed the many other applications of green hydrogen that may help achieve carbon neutrality. 

Solvay’s presence and activities throughout the value chain was key to their carbon emission reduction initiatives, Imoto-san added. He brought up Solvay’s previous trona mining operations that created a huge cavity under the ground, stating that this large cavity could be used to produce sustainable energy. 

He presented and explained the three key challenges to achieving sustainable energy production: driving the switch to green energy by providing incentives and constructing infrastructure, reducing the cost of green power while being able to produce sufficient quantities, and reducing the total cost of ownership for green hydrogen production. Mentioning the importance of needing to accelerate the trend of renewable energy, Imoto-san described how Solvay’s carbon composite material and their access to specialised materials will enable cleaner applications and ultimately cleaner energy production in Japan. 


Throughout the event, the three speakers thoroughly explained the manner in which their organisations aimed to eliminate their carbon emissions in Japan, whilst providing insights into the various technologies and challenges relevant to achieving their sustainability goals. Following the main presentations, there was a question and answer session, where multiple attendees communicated with the speakers through the Zoom chat, asking questions and engaging in thought-provoking discussions.