Global warming is now an urgent issue that we humans are facing. The Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that there is no scope for doubt on the progression of global warming and that delay in mitigation policy would result in an average temperature increase of 2℃ or more, rising sea levels, and the frequent occurrence of heavy rains, droughts and other extreme weather events from 2030.
Under these circumstances, Panasonic is working to reduce the CO2 emitted both from the products themselves as well as during production. In particular, because electronic products consume more energy during use than during production, Panasonic focuses on product development that fully utilizes energy-saving, energy-creation and energy-storage technologies.
One typical example of such development of energy-saving products is ECONAVI. ECONAVI is a function that uses sensor technologies to identify wasteful power consumption in home appliances and automatically save electricity. Panasonic now offers 25 home appliances with the ECONAVI function to customers in 92 countries including China, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East, and Europe.
As for emissions during production, we are engaged in Green Factory (GF) activities that aim to reduce our environmental impact to as close to zero as possible in all Panasonic factories worldwide. As part of these activities, we have introduced energy management systems in about 300 factories across the globe, and are reducing energy consumption through visualizing energy usage conditions and results of reduction measures.
In addition to these measures, we are also rigorously promoting CO2 reductions through various activities in logistics and at offices, together with our partners.
With rapid economic growth advancing worldwide, matters relating to resources are gaining higher social attention and concerns. Sourcing new resources and materials not only impacts our global environment, but could also cause depletion of mineral resources and sharp increase in material prices.
Bearing the responsibilities as a manufacturing company, we are working on various initiatives to reduce as much as possible the quantity of new materials used. One such initiative is the use of recycled resources based on the concept of "Product to Product." We take out plastics from products such as televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing/drying machines at the end of their lifecycle, and recycle them into materials to be used in various household appliances. In addition, recycled metals are used as housing material. The Eco Cap Activity is also carried out, where empty plastic bottles are collected from employees, and the caps are recycled into plastic by a partner company to be used as a material for refrigerators.
In addition to these activities, we are pursuing zero waste emissions by reducing final disposal to an absolute minimum. For example, we developed an original technology to recycle scrap resins generated and discarded during molding processes at factories, so that the recycled resin could be used as a part for digital cameras. In this recycling method, we developed a technology to prevent property deterioration by adding a moderate amount of additive according to the type of resin. This has increased the ratio of recycled resins contained in molded materials from the usual 20%-30% to 50%.
We will contribute to materializing better living standards and a sustainable society through continued promotion of Recycling-oriented Manufacturing.
Ninety-eight percent of the water on Earth is seawater. Of the remaining 2% freshwater, and excluding glaciers and other inaccessible water sources, the amount of water available in lakes, rivers, and shallow underground water is only less than 0.01%. At the same time, the global population continues to increase rapidly. Water usage is surging due to diverse lifestyles in advanced nations and urbanization and industrialization in developing countries. It is feared that two thirds of the global population will experience water shortages in 2025.
With this background, in order to secure household, industrial, and agricultural water necessary to form and maintain an abundant living environment, Panasonic is taking measures to conserve water resources both in products themselves and in production activities.
For instance, one such initiative is enabling dish washers and dryers to wash with one-eighth the volume of water used when washing by hand*. This was made possible by comprehensively analyzing the water usage, improving flow control and volume limit functions, and incorporating washing and rinsing cycles that efficiently circulate water.
In our production processes, we are working to reduce environmental impact by using less volume of new water and discharging less volume of wastewater, by recovering and recycling wastewater. As one example, Panasonic Technopark in India has materialized a system that recycles the water used in the factory 100%. It contributes to the conservation of groundwater with other advanced technologies, aiming for sustainable recycling of water resources.
Used in home appliances and other household products, chemical substances support our affluent and convenient lifestyles in many ways. At the same time, however, because some chemical substances have a harmful impact on humans and the environment, it is important to manage chemical substances from the product development and manufacturing stages, taking into account the influences on people's health and the environment during usage by the customer as well as after disposal.
Based on this recognition, Panasonic complies with relevant laws and regulations of each country and engages in business activities in line with its basic policy of reducing the impact of chemical substances throughout the product's entire lifecycle-from material procurement to production, use by the customer, and disposal.
Panasonic works to identify chemical substances contained in products. By evaluating the impact on people and the environment, and by voluntarily discontinuing the use of chemical substances in the case they pose a potential risk, Panasonic aims to provide safe and secure products.
In addition, in order to prevent air, water, and soil pollution in the local area of its factories, as well as to prevent adverse effects on neighboring residents, Panasonic is working to reduce the amount of chemical substances used at its factories by improving production methods.
Our social activities are founded on natural blessings (ecosystem services), including soil, air, water, plants, and animals. Nature is built upon a delicate balance of life, and it is essential to conserve biological diversity in order for us to pass these blessings on to the next generation.
Panasonic is committed to properly understanding the impact of its business activities on biodiversity as well as contributing to conservation. Specifically, Panasonic promotes initiatives in the following three key areas: (1) Products: Increase products that contribute to biodiversity conservation; (2) Procurement: Promote green procurement for wood toward sustainable utilization of forest resources; and (3) Land Use: Use of green areas at business divisions to contribute to biodiversity conservation.
In the area of Products, a system to objectively assess the contribution to biodiversity by products has been built jointly with an international NGO, and is applied in product manufacturing at Panasonic. Also,items relating to biodiversity have been added in our Green Product accreditation criteria, and we voluntarily assess the relationship between materials, functions, and biodiversity.
In the area of Procurement, Panasonic consulted extensively with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan, formulated the Panasonic Group Green Procurement Guidelines for Wood, and is promoting material procurement with consideration for biodiversity.
In the area of Land Use, the biodiversity of green areas in Panasonic business sites was evaluated to develop mechanisms that not only conserve rare local plants and animals but give local wildlife organic connections with space to live and breed.
Panasonic will continue to cooperate with local governments, environmental NPOs, and specialist organizations to conserve biodiversity.