Cool Biz campaign

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The Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MOE) began advocating the Cool Biz campaign in summer 2005 as a means to help reduce electric consumption by limiting use of air conditioning. This idea was proposed by then-MOE minister Yuriko Koike under the Koizumi cabinet.


According to the Environment Ministry, central government ministries were to set air conditioner temperatures at 28 °C until September. The Cool Biz dress code advises workers to starch collars so they stand up and to wear trousers made from materials that breathe and absorb moisture. Additionally, workers are encouraged to wear short-sleeved shirts without jackets or ties. Many workers, though, were confused about whether they should follow the new stipulations—many came to work with their jackets in hand and their ties in their pockets. Even those who liked the idea of dressing more casually sometimes became self-conscious during their commutes when they were surrounded by non-government employees who were all wearing standard business suits. Many government workers said they felt it was impolite not to wear a tie when meeting counterparts from the private sector.

All of the government leaders practiced Cool Biz. Prime Minister Koizumi was frequently interviewed without a tie or jacket, and this produced a significant advertising effect.

Result of Cool Biz Campaign[edit]

On October 28, 2005, the MOE announced results of the Cool Biz campaign.[1] The MOE conducted a web-based questionnaire survey on the Cool Biz campaign on September 30, 2005, covering some 1,200 men and women randomly extracted from an Internet panel recruited by a research company. Survey results indicate that 95.8% of respondents knew Cool Biz, and 32.7% of 562 respondents answered that their offices set the air conditioner thermostat higher than in previous years. Based on these figures, the ministry estimated that the campaign resulted in a 460,000-ton reduction in CO2 emission, the equivalent volume of CO2 emitted by about 1 million households for one month.

Some companies including Toyota request their employees not to wear jackets and ties even when meeting with business partners.

The results for 2006 were even better, resulting in an estimated 1.14 million-ton reduction in CO2 emission, the equivalent to the CO2 emissions by about 2.5 million households for one month.[2] The ministry has also stated that it intends to continue encouraging people to set summer office temperatures at no lower than 28 °C as well as to work to have the Cool Biz concept take permanent root in society.

On July 2009, the Cabinet Office announced results of a new questionnaire survey, which indicates that 91.8% of respondents knew Cool Biz campaign, and 57% of them put the campaign into practice.[3]

Economic results[edit]

While Cool Biz spread energy savings to all businesses, the necktie business suffered. They claim that summer sales have dropped 36% since 2005, and have asked the Environment Minister to end the campaign.[4]

On the other hand, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) analyzed that the Cool Biz campaign increases replacement demand for clothing and generates positive macroeconomic effects on the GDP by 18 billion yen on summer 2005.[5] Dai-ichi life research institute inc. announced that The total economic effect is more than 100 billion yen on 2005.

Warm Biz[edit]

During winter 2005, there was talk on many of the major news networks of promoting a Warm Biz style for winter, suggesting that people wear waistcoats, knit sweaters, and lap blankets. Warm Biz was not endorsed by the Japanese government at first. The food industry eagerly promoted this campaign by selling foods that warm people up, such as Nabemono.

However, the electric utility industry had little enthusiasm for the campaign. Since fossil fuel heating is popular in northern part of Japan, Warm Biz had little effect on electric consumption. Thus, Warm Biz is more often referred in an environmental conservation context since fossil fuel heating releases more carbon dioxide than air conditioners do.

Super Cool Biz[edit]

Following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the shutdown of many nuclear power plants for safety reasons led to energy shortages. To conserve energy, the government recommended setting air conditioners at 28 degrees Celsius, switching off computers not in use, and called for shifting work hours to the morning and taking more summer vacation than usual. The government then launched a "Super Cool Biz" campaign[6] to encourage workers to wear outfits appropriate for the office yet cool enough to endure the summer heat. Polo shirts and trainers are allowed, while jeans and sandals are also acceptable under certain circumstances.[7] June 1 marked the start of the Environment Ministry's Super Cool Biz campaign, with "full-page newspaper ads and photos of ministry workers smiling rather self-consciously at their desks wearing polo shirts and colorful Okinawa kariyushi shirts."[8] The campaign was repeated in 2012.[9]

Cool Biz outside Japan[edit]

The South Korean Ministry of Environment and the British Trades Union Congress have promoted their own Cool Biz campaigns since summer 2006.[10][11] The concept also inspired the United Nations to launch the "Cool UN" initiative in 2008.[12]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]