Resource productivity and waste

Global Forum on Environment: Promoting Sustainable Materials Management through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)



17-19 June 2014 - Tokyo Prince Hotel - Tokyo, Japan


Dr. Ryutaro YatsuVice-minister, Ministry of the Environment of Japan

Mr. Simon Upton, Director, Environment Directorate, OECD

As Japan and the OECD celebrate the 50th anniversary of Japan’s accession to the OECD, this Forum provided a multi-stakeholder arena with OECD members and partner economies to discuss and compare recent experiences in the design and implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes. The key outcome of this Global Forum is a set of guiding principles for the use and design of EPRs.

The Forum was held over three days, with four plenary sessions spanning Days 1 and 2, four break-out sessions on Day 2 and plenary sessions on recent developments and forum outcomes on Day 3.

The Forum was jointly organised by the OECD Environment Directorate and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ), with funding from the European Union.


Video: Managing natural resources: making more with less

Case studies - Background documents

(Japanese version)


Background Speakers Logistics Useful links


Day 1 Session 1 illustrated the landscape of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) across the globe:

  • How is EPR used across the globe, which products are targeted?
  • The design and implementation of EPR policies in various countries and regions
  • Key challenges faced when designing and implementing EPR policies; what insights does the literature offer?

Session 2 looked into the key issues and lessons learned in OECD economies, with a focus on:

  • Key factors which contribute to the successful implementation of EPR
  • Challenges encountered, some responses to these challenges
  • Lessons drawn from these experiences

Session 3 discussed the key issues and lessons learned in emerging economies, such as:

  • Key factors contributing to successful implementation of EPR
  • Challenges emerging economies encounter and how they compare to those discussed in the previous session
  • Some responses to these challenges

Welcome Reception, hosted by Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ).

Day 2 Session 4 tackled the development of guidance for policymakers, with a plenary session on existing guidance documents, then break-out groups for more in-depth discussions:

  • Key guiding principles for the successful use of EPR schemes, identified based on real experience in both advanced and emerging market economies
  • Key new issues that merit more attention

Four parrallel breakout sessions addressed EPR design challenges:

  • Governance aspects
  • Economic aspects
  • Transitional issues relative to the start-up of new EPRs
  • New and emerging issues

closing plenary gathered feedback from the breakout groups in a plenary discussion, followed by a wrap-up by the co-chairs.

Day 3 The morning session aimed to engage a wider Japanese audience in a discussion of the key conclusions emerging from the first two days of the Forum; and outlined ideas for moving forward with EPR, with a focus on Asia. The afternoon offered a choice of site visits to local recycling facilities.

Background information 

The total volume of material resources extracted or harvested worldwide reached nearly 60 billion metric tonnes (Gt) in 2007, a 65% increase from 1980 and an estimated 8 fold increase over the last century. Going for green growth and establishing a resource efficient economy is therefore a major environmental, development and macroeconomic challenge today.

In this context, putting in place policies that ensure sustainable materials management building on the principle of the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - is crucial. Sustainable materials management can help both to improve the environment, by reducing the amount of resources that human economic activity requires as well as diminishing the associated environmental impacts and minimising  waste from production and consumption.

More broadly, resource efficiency policies can help to improve competitiveness, contribute to addressing resource security concerns and create growth and jobs, in addition to making an important contribution to environmental protection and resource conservation.

In many OECD countries, the concept of “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) has been an established principle of environmental policy since the middle of the 1990s. EPR is an environmental policy approach in which the responsibility of producers for their products is extended to include the social costs of waste management, including the environmental impact of waste disposal of their products.

In many countries, extended producer responsibility policies are playing an important role in supporting national resource efficiency strategies. While usually effective at transferring the financial burden for parts of waste management to the private sector, there is a risk that EPRs - when poorly implemented - may lead to sub-optimal levels of material recovery, absence of environmental incentives, excessive costs, disruption of existing material markets, as well as rent-seeking. Hence, there appears to be a significant need for guidance in the use of EPR schemes across major OECD and emerging market economies.

In order to address this need, OECD has launched work that aims to update and expand the OECD Guidance Manual for Governments on EPR that was last published in 2001, with recent country case studies and to analyse recent EPR policy experiences, from which policy guidance can be derived.



Simon Upton, Co-chair
Director, Environment Directorate, OECD

Mr. Upton is responsible for the Environmental Performance Reviews of OECD member countries, the economic analysis of policy instruments used to improve environmental outcomes and a wide range of work related to water, waste, biodiversity, climate change and chemicals. Mr. Upton played a key role in the development of the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy. 

Dr. Ryutaro Yatsu, Vice-minister, Ministry of the Environment, Japan

Ryutaro Yatsu, Co-chair
Vice-minister, Ministry of the Environment (MOE), Japan

Dr. Yatsu was appointed Vice-minister, Ministry of the Environment (MoE), Japan, in July 2013.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Yatsu served as MOE’s Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs in 2012 and Secretary-General, Minister’s Secretariat in 2010. His initial assignment with the Government of Japan dates back to 1976 at the Environment Agency, Japan.

Tomoko Ukishima

Tomoko Ukishima
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for the Environment (MOE), Japan

Ms. Ukishima was appointed Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Environment and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office, Japan, in 2013. Prior to her appointments, Ms. Ukishima served as Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Member of the House of Representatives, Chairman of Policy Research Council on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2012.



The Forum was held at the Tokyo Prince Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

3-3-1 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku
Tokyo, 105-8560, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)3-3432-1111

photo of Tokyo Prince Hotel - pool view

Related links

About OECD Global Forums on Environment

The Global Forum on Environment (GFENV) is a venue that brings together international experts from member and non member economies to share experiences and explore common policy issues focusing principally on the environmental dimension of sustainable development and its linkages with economic and social policies. Issues to be addressed in the Global Forum on Environment is shaped based on the current work of the OECD Environment Programme, by focusing on one or two priority issues on the global environmental agenda each year.


Japan: Half a century of OECD membership

‌‌‌‌color logo Ministry or Environment Japan (ENG-JAP)


This OECD Global Forum on the Environment is carried out with funding by the European Union.




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