Panasonic is pointing us towards a greener future in mobility and business operations

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For Panasonic, achieving carbon neutrality goes far beyond its own offices, employees and day-to-day operations. The company’s environmental vision and initiatives, known as Panasonic GREEN IMPACT impacts suppliers, supply chains and, most importantly, the more than one billion people who use Panasonic products every day.

By designing more energy-efficient products that require less electricity to operate, Panasonic says it can significantly reduce the amount of emissions customers miss when using their products. Reducing overall energy consumption will help make homes, cities, mobility and supply chains more sustainable and is an integral part of the company’s long-term environmental goals.

Continuous improvement and innovation in product design began some time ago for the company. In 1997 – long before global warming became a pressing environmental issue – Panasonic launched an ambitious joint venture with Toyota to design and manufacture rechargeable batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Since then, it has built a tremendous reputation as a partner to automakers around the world, supplying integrated battery components and electronics for electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids.

But Panasonic’s GREEN IMPACT initiatives go beyond electric vehicles to encompass consumer products in housing, home appliances, connected devices and even solutions for adjacent B2B industries. The race to achieve climate neutrality across all operations is well on, company executives said at a recent industry event, Panasonic – Pilot Net-Zero.

Business transformation: First steps towards a greener office

Johannes Spatz, President of Panasonic Industry Europe, explained Panasonic’s GREEN IMPACT initiatives within its European operations. The president, who oversaw a review of offices and subsidiaries in the region, said CO2 emissions were falling thanks to new green solutions such as LED lighting, photovoltaic systems and electric vehicle fleets. Energy monitoring systems have also been installed in some buildings to measure the electricity consumption of heating, air conditioners and lighting.

“We started to calculate the CO2 footprint on an annual basis and analyzed Panasonic’s energy consumption at several European sites. We then embarked on significant energy reduction and energy management activities based on our analysis. Continuous measurement allows us to see what impact we’re having and that’s really encouraging,” Spatz said.

Panasonic’s carbon analysis also showed that the majority of carbon emissions come indirectly from the transportation and distribution of its products, as well as the electricity used to power those products after purchase. As such, continuous improvement and innovation in product design is essential to achieving Panasonic’s GREEN IMPACT plans over the coming decades.

“The amount of carbon dioxide emitted indirectly through the use of our products by our customers is approximately 86 million tonnes, which represents the majority of our total emissions. So we need to take a holistic approach to reducing emissions – there is no business transformation without product innovation,” said Spatz.

Product innovation: leader in components for electric vehicles

Product innovations, favorable government incentives and the rising cost of diesel are driving an increase in demand for electric vehicles in Europe. Markus Lienkamp, ​​research director at the Technical University of Munich, said new electric car volumes exceeded diesel car volumes in Western Europe for the first month of December 2021. He predicts that as battery prices are falling, “we’ll just see all new vehicles as battery electric vehicles (BEVs)”.

These trends are good news for a company that has been supplying the mobility market for more than four decades. Today, Panasonic is a key supplier of critical components and electronics, including VE Relay, on-board inductors and film capacitors – an automotive component that changes the voltage between the battery system and the motor. These technical innovations ultimately contribute to creating new, more sustainable mobility solutions for society.

Collaborative innovation: Supporting adjacent industries

Panasonic’s technical innovations also have many applications in adjacent industries, such as smart agriculture.

A young team of students from the public research university, ETH Zurich, has developed a solution to manage weeding and promote sustainable agriculture. The start-up, Rowesys, has built a battery-powered robot equipped with cameras and sensors that can autonomously monitor crops, identify and remove weeds. Panasonic Industry supports the team with its high-precision sensor portfolio and engineering knowledge.

“Our goal is to make the robot completely autonomous so that it can move around the field and make decisions for the farmer. Fewer inputs means fewer chemicals and fewer human hours,” said Pascal Lieberherr, project manager at Rowesys.

The autonomous robot reduces reliance on agricultural chemicals, such as herbicides that damage crops, soil quality and the wider environment. With accurate results and long-lasting batteries, Rowesys hopes the autonomous robot will be able to work in fields around the clock, further reducing the burden on aging farmers.

As industries face increased pressure to become cleaner, Panasonic’s energy efficient solutions and product innovations continue to play an important role for many organizations and sectors in the transition to zero emissions. The company’s GREEN IMPACT mission to reduce emissions and contribute to a sustainable future for all is just beginning.

To watch the full panel discussion at the Panasonic – Driving Net-Zero event, Click here.

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a global leader in developing innovative technologies and solutions for a wide range of applications in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive and B2B industries.

The company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, operates 522 subsidiaries and 69 associated companies worldwide and reported consolidated net sales of 54.02 billion euros (6,698.8 billion yen) for the year ended March 31, 2021.

Committed to seeking new value through collaborative innovation, the company uses its technologies to create a better life and a better world for its customers. Learn more about Panasonic: https://www.panasonic.com/global.

By Annabel Murphy

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