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Consumers Are Racking Up Rewards in Japan by Buying Green

Purchases of energy-saving appliances and other steps to reduce consumption are earning points that can be used on goods or investments. 

Inside a convenience store in Tokyo.

Inside a convenience store in Tokyo.

Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Japan is rewarding people who reduce their climate impact through everyday decisions like participating in ride shares, buying energy-saving home appliances or declining single-use plastics.

The initiative is part of a wide-ranging government program to support dozens of retailers like e-commerce giant Rakuten Group Inc. and shopping mall operator Aeon Mall Co. that are expanding loyalty point schemes to incentivize customers to make greener buying decisions. People can use those earned credits toward things like online purchases, airline mileage points or even, in some cases, investments.

“We hope to encourage people to make positive and proactive behavioral changes,” Environment Minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi said on Tuesday, during the announcement of the effort