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Japan to Execs: Wear Sandals, Hawaiian Shirts to Save Energy

The Japanese government launched its “Super Cool Biz” campaign today, pushing employees to wear Hawaiian shirts, T-shirts and sandals to work in order to save electricity, WSJ reports. For years, the Cool Biz program has asked businesses to set their summer thermostats at 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The effort, along with the governments efforts to cut electricity use 15% this summer, is being promoted heavily in light of the Japan’s nuclear crisis.

But many in Japan’s staid business culture are aghast at the idea of putting their suits in mothballs (there are no guidelines for female employees). WSJ reports one official from the ministry of trade as saying, “I personally do not think it is appropriate to go out in sandals and meet people.”

While government offices are looking to get employees to follow the guidelines, the private sector, according to the article, is not so eager.

Clothing retailers, though, love the idea. One estimates the new Super Cool Biz wardrobe will cost $210.

Some interesting coverage here.

Picture credit: Greg Hirson

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4 thoughts on “Japan to Execs: Wear Sandals, Hawaiian Shirts to Save Energy

  1. The Japanese willingly offer their lives to dangerous highly intensive technical work near a failing nuclear reactor to protect their country and fellow citizens. They will selflessly bear the burden of their neighbors and help the world while suffering themselves at home (Donating to Alabama disaster relief), and they even have a philosophy dedicated to constantly improving the efficiency of every aspect of life (Kaizen). But the one thing they resist is the sacrafice of their integrity to sandals and hawaiian shirts.

    I may not understand certain aspects of Japanese culture – but damnit I have the most profound respect for Japan and her citizens. To resist a summer of casual Fridays on principal is just…. superhuman.

  2. We promote to our clients a culture of dress for the environment. Yet we see men and esp. women dressed in basically summer clothing/winter colours, in the middle of January, complaining about how cold it is in the office. Naturally, these people have a personal space heater at their desk.
    At 1.5kW each, personal space heaters at desks and the like cost employers in Canada and the northern US literally hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, never mind the emissions created as a result. All in order to look good and still be warm, in the north, in January…what a wonderful selfish culture and worse, our acceptance of it.

  3. Why wouldn’t it be appropriate to go out in sandals and meet people? Is it more appropriate to always wear ties and suits even in hot climate countries? How appropriate, confortable and sustainable is it?

    To be sustainable we have to brake the “fashion” and “I am used to” barriers and accept the need to change in every aspects!

  4. I agree with Jonathan. Fashion and low cost synthetics dominates in mind when compared to use of natural sustainable materials. If you look at safety shoes or helmets, they cover human legs and head totally with synthetics.

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