Environmental Upgrading or Downgrading? The Solar and Wind Power Value Chains in Japan

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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 triggered the deepest global recession in decades. The post-pandemic recovery will hinge upon sustainable economic growth across the world, and the energy sector is undoubtedly one of the key areas that most business activities rely on. Notably, while many businesses were hit hard by pandemic-related restrictions, the renewable energy industry has been operated effectively and is more resilient than other sectors. This suggests that the development of renewable energy is not only a business opportunity in the post-pandemic world but also a necessity for a sustainable future. In the renewable energy industry, however, Japanese firms lag behind foreign firms. By drawing upon the concept of “environmental upgrading”, this paper examines Japanese firms’ positions in the renewable energy market, their strategies and the challenges they are facing. Focusing on solar power and offshore wind, it also considers how Japanese firms could respond to new business environments and contribute to sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event16th Vaasa Conference on International Business - University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
Duration: 17 Aug 202118 Aug 2021
Conference number: 16


Conference16th Vaasa Conference on International Business
LocationUniversity of Vaasa
Internet address


  • Renewable energy
  • Environmental upgrading
  • Solar power
  • Offshore wind
  • Sustainability
  • Japan

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