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Shiseido Makes Eco-Friendly Moves

Shiseido is stepping up its environmental efforts with goals to reduce CO2 emissions at its plants and develop sugarcane-based polyethylene bottles.

TOKYO — Shiseido is stepping up its environmental efforts.

The Japanese beauty giant is working to improve its ecological profile with consumers by cutting back on its CO2 emissions, developing sugarcane-based polyethylene bottles, eliminating some forms of wasteful packaging and even recycling old sales consultants’ uniforms.

Shiseido is aiming to reduce its CO2 emissions at its plants in Japan and abroad by next year, Mayumi Onoue, senior manager of Shiseido’s environmental affairs group, said Thursday. The company plans to cut its emissions at its domestic plants by 15 percent compared with 1990 levels and by 10 percent at its foreign plants compared with 2007 levels.

On the packaging front, Shiseido is working with Brazil’s Braskem and Toyota Tsusho to develop the polyethylene bottles and tubes. The company is planning to start using the new material, which is carbon neutral when incinerated, in its packaging come 2011.

Shiseido is becoming more aware of its ecological image after losing considerable ground in Nikkei Business Publications Inc.’s annual Eco Brand Survey, which was released in July.

The survey, conducted through an Internet-based questionnaire, looks into how environmental efforts of Japanese companies are received by consumers. Toyota came in at number one for the third year in a row. Shiseido came in at number 104, down 38 slots from its 2007 ranking of 66. Its rivals fared a bit better. Lion came in at 25, up from its previous spot at 45, while Kao dropped to 28 from its 2007 ranking of 20.

“We didn’t get this result because we didn’t tackle environmental issues, but because we didn’t appeal to consumers about what we do for the environment,” Onoue said.