This article is sponsored by Panasonic.
When Konosuke Matsushita founded our company over 100 years ago, he created a 250-year plan for the business focused on overall social good and prosperity. In today’s business era, when enterprises are focused on yearly returns and rarely plan more than 10 or 20 years ahead, Konosuke’s forward-looking approach feels especially important.
As we march toward the halfway mark of Konosuke’s 250-year plan, sustainability remains a core tenet of our philosophy — not an afterthought but woven into the fabric of our business objectives. We know that change can’t always happen in 15 or even 30 years, but we also know that we must prioritize it each day at Panasonic.
We are applying that same forward-looking approach for business to our plans for environmental change. As the world grapples with the climate crisis and adapts to its impact, we feel it is our role not only to do our part but to take the lead within Japan and across our global reach to empower others to reduce their impact as well.
Our ambitious Panasonic Green Impact plan involves tackling both our own emissions and encouraging others to decarbonize. Panasonic aims to reduce emissions across our value chain and our customers by more than 300 megatons (Mt) by 2050, as well as to foster new circular economy ventures. As an example of our progress toward that goal, in January Panasonic achieved net zero CO2 emissions at all 14 of our global automotive facilities.
Panasonic Automotive Systems factory located in Monterrey, Nuevo León. Image courtesy of Panasonic Automotive Systems.
By measuring and monitoring data on our own emissions, developing new technologies and presenting customers with the means to be more sustainable themselves, we will reach our overall Green Impact vision.
Bringing our emissions to net zero is our primary objective, and efficiency is key — as our market share goes up, so will our CO2 emissions. We will tackle our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions through clean manufacturing as a first step to achieving carbon neutrality by FY2030, and aim to decarbonize all our global manufacturing plants by then.
In September 2021, Panasonic created a global taskforce to help accelerate the transition to zero CO2 factories by standardizing common practices and measurement across the enterprise. The taskforce’s areas of focus include energy-saving measures, expanding renewable energy use at each site and procuring renewable energy.
The next stage of Panasonic’s Green Impact plan is to ensure that we also effectively impact avoided emissions through our existing businesses by over 38.3 Mt globally by FY2025. This concept quantifies how we contribute to reducing the emissions of others. To achieve this goal, we are developing new clean energy technologies in products and solutions including pure hydrogen fuel cells, air-to-water heat pumps, vacuum-insulated glass, EV batteries and other solutions we have not yet announced.
Panasonic recognizes the importance of public-private partnerships in reducing emissions, so we are working closely with the Japanese government to track energy use and encourage customers to reduce consumption and decarbonize their grids. As a longstanding technology leader in Japan, we are using our brand position to encourage widespread sustainable initiatives and climate action, best illustrated in our development of smart, sustainable cities in Fujisawa, Tsunashima and Suita. If large enterprises such as ours take action on climate change, together we can help drive change to affect our industries toward a more sustainable economy.
We are committed to using our business resources to foster a greener economy, both in Japan and globally. We plan to not only have all factories recycling 99 percent or more of waste by FY2025 but invest in 13 circular economy-focused businesses and other sustainable ventures.
While the circular economy has value far beyond the "reduce, reuse and recycle" approach to materials, we at Panasonic recognize the value of investing in innovation, and that climate technology is an important, fast-growing sector that represents a huge opportunity. Entrepreneurship is a core value at Panasonic, and we plan to use our company’s global platform to foster innovation as a positive economic growth opportunity across our country and around the world, just as our founder’s plan intended.
While Panasonic’s Green Impact plan aims to reduce CO2 emissions, that won’t be the end of our efforts toward global sustainability. We hope to activate our influence as a legacy corporation with close ties to industry changemakers to encourage the decarbonization of society.
Last year, we joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, along with 200 of the world’s leading sustainable businesses, to work towards a net zero future. We also support the International Electrotechnical Commission, which is working to standardize global definitions and calculation methods for avoided emissions; the standardization of avoided emissions measurement is a critical tool and an important step towards global CO2 emissions reduction. We believe this effort is our responsibility as a corporation, along with our peers in technology and other fields.
As we are a corporation with significant GHG emissions, Panasonic’s duty to our customers and the world at large demands that we transform our business. We have signed on to pledges including the Low Carbon Patent Pledge (to grant free licenses to patents related to low-carbon technologies), and the Climate Action 100+ (a commitment through the United Nations by high-emission companies to reduce their impact). Panasonic is evolving its climate change efforts while disclosing them through the CDP; in 2022, we were named to the CDP "A List" for our leadership in climate change-related transparency and performance.
We have taken the principles of our original 250-year plan and developed a Green Impact plan for the 21st century that is true to our values. Konosuke‘s vision for Panasonic was not only for the business but for a society where essential resources are freely available for all. While Konosuke didn’t know about a future with hydrogen fuel cells or lithium-ion batteries, he did know that caring for our communities and the planet was to be a priority for Panasonic. We know that ESG impacts have non-financial value and matter for overall societal impact and well-being. We hope other corporations will join us in committing to their own Green Impact.