The environment is an important management focus for the Hitachi Group, as we are working to reduce the environmental burden of our business operations and achieve a sustainable society where humankind can thrive.
Guided by Hitachi’s Environmental Vision, we are determined to reach the goals of our long-term environmental management plan, laid out in Environmental Vision 2025 and the Environmental Action Plan.
The world’s population passed the 7 billion mark in 2011 and is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050.* At the same time, worldwide GDP continues to grow. This drastic social and economic growth has led to some very serious environmental problems, including global warming caused by the rise of CO2 emissions from the increasing use of fossil fuels. Our natural resources, such as energy, water and mineral reserves, are depleting due to increased demand, while fragile ecosystems are being destroyed.
As a company engaged in the Social Innovation Business, we are committed to the prevention of global warming, the conservation of resources, and the preservation of ecosystems as the three pillars of our environmental vision. Our goal is to achieve a more sustainable society by promoting global production that reduces the environmental burden of a product throughout its life cycle. In order to realize this Environmental Vision, we created our long-term plan, Environmental Vision 2025, that looks ahead to the end of fiscal year 2025 as a key milestone.
*According to the United Nations report, World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision
targets the prevention of global warming and states our goal of helping to reduce the CO2 emissions by 100 million metric tons by 2025 through the improved Hitachi products and services. We strive to achieve a major reduction of CO2 emissions by providing our customers with low-carbon energy supply and energy-efficient products. To reach these goals, we are working to increase the ratio of Hitachi Eco-Products, which are designed to lower the burden on the environment. Also, we are continuously expanding our environmentally conscious business opportunities by working with partners in global markets.
Our Environmental Action Plan was designed to execute the measures laid out in our Action Guidelines for Environmental Conservation. This plan sets improvement targets for specific areas, to make sure that our environmental initiatives are promoted and executed in every area. Prior to fiscal year 2013, the Environmental Action Plan was a five-year plan. Beginning in fiscal 2013, to give the environmental focus a more prominent role in our management strategy, it was changed to a three-year plan, which aligns with the Mid-Term Management Plan of the Hitachi Group for the fiscal years 2013 to 2015.
As part of our initiative to reduce, as much as possible, the burden on the environment of our products and services, we develop environmentally conscious products called Eco-Products.
Eco-Products must meet the specific criteria set for the design and development of our products and services. These criteria are laid out in our Assessment for DfE (Design for Environment), where we evaluate the extent to which the environmental burden of products and services can be reduced throughout their life cycle. To promote their development, we have set targets for raising the Eco-Product sales ratio, which is the ratio of the Eco-Product sales to the total product sales.
Eco-Products that meet even more demanding requirements are designated as Eco-Products Select. We are also working to produce more of these products.
We have set targets for the efficient use of energy and water, waste amounts and chemical substance emissions. Factories and offices that show a high level of environmental consciousness, as well as outstanding results in these areas, receive Eco-Factory & Office Select certification as a way of promoting environmentally conscious production and encouraging effective environmental action. We have set targets for the efficient use of energy and water, waste amounts and chemical substance emissions. Factories and offices that show a high level of environmental consciousness, as well as outstanding results in these areas, receive Eco-Factory & Office Select certification as a way of promoting environmentally conscious production and encouraging effective environmental action.
We have been implementing our Eco-Factories & Offices Select certification program since fiscal year 2011. Certification criteria were developed for our manufacturing (factory) and non-manufacturing (office) divisions globally. (Fig. 1) To maintain and raise the level of environmental awareness in our Eco-Factories & Offices Select, certified factories and offices are re-evaluated every fiscal year to confirm that their performance continues to meet the certification criteria. In fiscal year 2013, 19 facilities obtained new certifications and 36 facilities had their certifications renewed, including Hitachi Computer Products (America), Inc. in North America.
Through their Community Action Committees (CACs), Hitachi Group companies in North America support environmental conservation and education efforts through both volunteering and providing financial support to schools and other nonprofit organizations that are engaged in environmental education and conservation activities. With these activities, Hitachi seeks to inspire the next generation to look for ways to lead more environmentally-conscious lives.