How Hitachi drives business efficiency and sustainability
IEC Global Visions recently interviewed Naoya Takahashi, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer* of Hitachi Ltd., a leading global electronics company. Takahashi underlined the need to explore systems to create a more sustainable society. To achieve its ambitious target of reducing 100 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions annually, Hitachi globally promotes better use of resources, recycling and energy conservation throughout its factories and businesses as well as by suppliers. Its active participation in the IEC helps the company build the standards that it needs to roll out the most efficient technologies globally. The company participates in 29 IEC TCs (Technical Committees) and SCs (Subcommittees).
Clear action plan
Hitachi has an ambitious environmental plan that will help it to reduce carbon emissions by 100 million tons of CO2 annually by 2025 in Japan alone. To achieve this target, Hitachi has identified eight action points that allow the company to increase resource efficiency throughout the product life cycle. They include overall weight reduction, resource recycling, energy efficiency and environmental conservation.
Every product has a life cycle plan that includes the design, material procurement, manufacturing, shipping, maintenance and end-of-life recycling. To make its environmental activities more effective, the company has developed a self-evaluation system that helps it to quantify progress of individual business units towards the pre-defined action goals. Regular assessments allow the company to identify weaknesses and where improvements are needed for the next fiscal year.
Helping suppliers to become more environmentally friendly – and more competitive
Hitachi also encourages its suppliers to reduce their burden on the environment. This not only results in the conservation of resources through product miniaturization and a reduction of energy consumption and packaging materials, but also helps suppliers reduce their fixed costs and increases their competitiveness.
Top down and bottom up
Hitachi as a whole is engaged in this effort, improving the efficiency of facilities and manufacturing equipment. Every business and employee is engaged in helping the company to achieve this mission. Even simple things, such as slightly raising room temperatures or ensuring that lights turn off automatically, are important.
Waste is no longer waste
Hitachi is also exploring new avenues of product recycling. There are a lot of useable materials, including rare and precious metals, to be found in waste and garbage hills. Not only is it irresponsible to waste precious resources, but their uncontrolled storage is also potentially dangerous.
Takahashi underlined his belief that only by looking at the whole system and all its elements is it possible to create a more sustainable society.
Involved in standards that impact Hitachi business
Asked why Hitachi participates actively in the IEC standard setting process, Takahashi answered: "Using standards is not only a question of following established practices because they have been adopted and are already in use. Hitachi wants to actively participate in global standard setting for any standard that is related to Hitachi products and activities. We want to make certain that our technologies are taken into consideration. Our contribution to the IEC has a direct impact on our business and our active participation allows us to develop enterprise and new business opportunities. Cooperating in the standard setting process also allows us to achieve faster the standards our industry needs to operate globally."
Hitachi participates actively in 29 IEC TCs and SCs.
*title at the time of interview
About Hitachi, Ltd.
Kabushiki Kaisha Hitachi Seisakusho was founded in 1910 and established on 1 February 1920. With Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, Hitachi is today a leading global supplier of technology and services in the areas of power systems, rail, industrial and social infrastructure, urban planning and development, information and control, information and telecommunication, defense, and battery systems.
As of March 2011, Hitachi had a capital of 409 129 million yen and employed 32 926 people.