In emerging and developing nations, many regions face societal issues including those of poverty, energy, education, food supplies and medical care. Likewise, developed nations face issues such as declining birthrates, aging demographics, environmental problems and outdated infrastructures.
As a global corporation with operations throughout the world, Panasonic uses its people, solutions, capital and other management resources to cooperate with local communities, NPOs and NGOs, and government and international organizations to create opportunities for solving these issues. Panasonic is committed to creating a “Better World”, one step at a time.
An estimated 1.32 billion people throughout the world live without electricity. In the rural areas of developing nations, the primary source of cooking fuel and lighting is often kindling, animal feces, kerosene or similar sources, and deaths caused by smoke inhalation outnumber deaths due to causes such as malaria or tuberculosis, with 1.9 million lives lost in this way every year*. In addition, the labor required to maintain fuel sources such as these contributes to fewer educational opportunities for children and to environmental problems such as deforestation. (*WHO, 2010)
In response, in 2012 Panasonic implemented a plan to donate solar lanterns to NGOs and international organizations operating in areas without electrical power such as in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Plans are to donate 100,000 such lanterns by the 100th anniversary of our founding in 2018. In addition, after donation we plan to monitor use of the lanterns and improvements to quality of life so as to better the products and promote their use in other regions.
Environmental issues are an urgent problem, surpassing the framework of nations and industries and affecting the entire world. With business operations in regions throughout the world, Panasonic works with its many stakeholders, including local governments, business partners, Group employees and employee families, to implement a range of conservation activities.
In 2013, together with the Forestry Administration of China, Panasonic launched the Panasonic China Public Forestation Project in the Inner Mongolia region of China. By planting trees along the border of desert areas, the project is expected to improve local ecologies and control sand drifts.
In order to solve global environmental issues, it is important that people fully understand the gravity of the situation, and that we take a long-term approach to solving these issues. Aware of this need, Panasonic pursues environmental education on a global scale, imparting the importance of the environment and of individual action to the children who carry our future on their shoulders.
For instance, Panasonic employees serve as teachers in our Global Eco Learning Program. Focusing on educational materials developed in-house, the program features a variety of fun learning opportunities, including field trips to local factories and showrooms. Approximately 1.27 billion children in 51 countries have participated in the program to date (as of January 2013).
Additionally, in 2011 we entered into a strategic partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, geared towards raising awareness and conservation of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and promoting environmental education via the Young People’s World Heritage Education Program. Focusing on three areas - young people’s education, communication and technological support - we provide ongoing support for environmental education programs such as field trips for children to historic sites and “eco diary” contents, the creation of television programs focusing on World Heritage sites, and the provision of video equipment.
Utilizing the skills and experience acquired by Group employees during the course of their work, Panasonic operates the PIVoT (Panasonic Innovation Volunteer Team) program, working with NGOs in emerging nations in Asia and elsewhere to help solve a variety of pressing societal issues. The program seeks to put Panasonic’s business experience to work in three major areas: the environment and energy, education, and healthcare. Volunteer efforts are built on a total approach, with volunteers stationed on-site to carry out detailed investigations and implement relevant plans. Additionally, as many problems cannot be fully understood until feet are on the ground, we use teleconferencing, social networking and similar services to share information with staff worldwide and further improve efforts.
At Panasonic, each and every employee is a global citizen. Accordingly, we plan to continue implementing a variety of initiatives geared towards solving societal issues and improving local communities.