The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Nissan supports zero-emission vehicles

As a leading global automaker, Nissan seeks to contribute to the transition towards a sustainable mobility society  Tweet This! by reducing vehicles’ environmental impact throughout their lifecycle, offering effective green products and technologies and, also, by promoting the widespread use of zero-emission vehicles, which produce no CO2 emissions during operation.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Nissan published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Nissan tries to go beyond producing and selling zero-emission vehicles to help put the necessary infrastructure in place, to ensure these vehicles are more widely used. In order to support zero-emission vehicles Nissan took action to:

  • promote quick chargers
  • support customers in operating their EVs
  • collaborate with other companies to promote the use of EVs

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Nissan identified a range of material issues, such as fuel consumption/product CO2, economic sustainability, renewable energy, product, sales and service quality. Among these, supporting zero-emission vehicles stands out as a key material issue for Nissan.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Nissan engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement




·         Customer service interaction

·         Contact through dealers

·         Websites

·         Showrooms

·         Motor shows

·         Events

·         Safety driving forum

·         Customer surveys

·         Media (TV, magazines, social media)

·         Owners’ meetings

·         Vehicle maintenance

·         Mailing service



·         Direct contact (including whistleblowing system)

·         Intranet

·         Internal events

·         Interviews

·         Surveys

Suppliers and Dealers


·         Suppliers conference

·         Dealer conventions

·         Business meetings

·         Direct contact

·         Briefings

·         Corporate guidelines

·         Websites

·         Dedicated portal site

Shareholders and Investors



·         Direct contact with IR team

·         Shareholders meetings

·         Financial results briefings

·         IR events

·         IR meetings

·         Website

·         Annual Report

·         Mailing service

Governments, Industrial Associations and Business Partners ·         Direct contact

·         Joint research

·         Studies

·         Automotive and non-automotive organizations (Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, WBCSD, etc.)

·         Roundtables

·         Working groups

·         Conferences

·         Events

·         Assistance via foundations

NGOs and NPOs


·         Direct contact

·         Philanthropic activities

·         Partnerships

·         Donations

·         Disaster relief activities

·         Events

·         Assistance via foundations

Local Communities ·         Direct contact to local business facilities

·         Local events

·         Plant visits

·         Conferences

·         Sponsoring

·         Traffic safety awareness campaigns

·         Assistance via foundations

Future Generations ·         Direct contact

·         Philanthropic programs

·         Plant visits

·         Endowed courses

·         Events

·         Assistance via foundations

·         Websites

Media ·         Contact with PR team

·         Press conferences

·         PR events

·         Press releases

·         Interviews

·         Mailing service

·         Websites

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Nissan carried out interviews with both internal and external stakeholders.

What actions were taken by Nissan to support zero-emission vehicles?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Nissan reports that it took the following actions for supporting zero-emission vehicles:

  • Promoting quick chargers
  • Quick chargers, which can charge batteries from a minimum charge up to 80 per cent capacity in approximately 30 minutes, are a key part of the necessary infrastructure for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Nissan launched its quick chargers in 2011 and in the following year improved them to make them quieter and the connector easier to use, also enabling on-the-spot payment. In addition, Nissan encourages local governments, public and commercial facilities and others in Japan to install quick chargers and continuously increases the number of Japanese Nissan dealerships with quick chargers, which stood at 1,800 as of March 2017.
  • Supporting customers in operating their EVs
  • In Japan, through the Nissan Zero-Emission Support Program 2, Nissan makes it more convenient for customers to operate their EVs. A set monthly membership fee offers them unlimited access to nearly all quick-charging points in Japan, decreasing running costs by reducing the cost of charging EVs at home. In the United States, Nissan offers the “No Charge to Charge” program, providing free access to selected charging stations for two years with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF. Since March 2017, the program is running in 51 cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
  • Collaborating with other companies to promote the use of EVs
  • Nissan jointly established, with other Japanese automotive manufacturers, a new company, Nippon Charge Service (NCS), to promote installation of chargers for electric-powered vehicles (including EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles). The participating companies aim to provide a convenient charging network service, enabling drivers to charge their vehicles anywhere with a single card. In Europe, Nissan joined forces with companies in the energy industry and others to install quick chargers compliant with the CHAdeMO protocol. Nissan is also collaborating with BMW, to promote the spread of EVs and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) by boosting the number of quick-charging stations that can be used by vehicles from both companies.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is:

Disclosure 302-5 Reductions in energy requirements of products and services

Disclosure 302-5 Reductions in energy requirements of products and services corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Nissan, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:




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