The second approach involves developing products such that they can easily be taken apart. When a product part is no longer functional, that one part can be removed and repaired, rather than needlessly replaced. Also, different parts of the product can be removed and either reused or recycled in the manner that is best fitting for that part of the product.
The third approach is developing products such that the parts can be used in different products. The product can be returned and parts recreated from the original materials.
In a proactive move to address the issue of e-waste in India, Panasonic has initiated a scheme for voluntary ‘end of lifecycle’ (EOL) product recycling in a phased manner in collaboration with a government body called e-Parisara. As part of this scheme, we encourage consumers to give back their old and defunct products to the recycling unit. This scheme for e-waste is available in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru.
Q. What could give a bigger boost to green practices?
A. To become a sustainable initiative, green practices need to be an integrated part of the business plan of any company. Also, every promotional activity should be innovative and participative to educate the customers and stakeholders. A habitual environment awareness programme should be conducted for various stakeholders across age categories. The only key to make any green practice successful is to integrate it into the company’s business plan. Else, it will become a lip service.
Coming to Panasonic, what initiatives have you taken towards green electronics?
Panasonic had announced the ‘eco ideas’ strategy in October 2007, and our initiatives have further strengthened since then. By 2018, the 100th anniversary of our founding, we aim to become the No. 1 green innovation company in the electronics industry. To achieve this, we have made ‘environment’ central to all of our business activities and further promote our environmental sustainability management.
In India, we have created ‘eco ideas for manufacturing,’ where our factories also comply with processes for reduction in usage of water, energy, plastic and metal waste in manufacturing. Green logistics are followed to reduce CO2 emissions. There is also a training programme run for the staff on environmental initiatives.
We also follow ‘eco ideas for products,’ developing environmentally-conscious products from three aspects, such as prevention of global warming, effective utilisation of resources and chemical substances management.
Then we have ‘eco ideas for people,’ where regular environment awareness programmes are conducted for various stakeholders across age categories. Nationwide CSR programmes have also been held in schools, and through the Panasonic Global Eco Learning Program we support employees and teachers at schools to implement environment-related educational activities by arranging special factory tours and lessons at educational facilities.
Q. Your plans for the future?
A. We have established ‘green indexes’ and ‘global excellence indexes’ with specific targets to realise our vision for our 100th anniversary. We aim to become the industry’s No. 1 in green indexes as a whole, which consist of contribution to reducing CO2 emissions, contribution to recycling resources, increasing the size of the energy systems business and achieving a higher sales percentage of eco-conscious products.
By 2019 we aim to reduce our CO2 emissions by half from the estimated amount. We also aim to increase the ratio of recycled resources used to total resources used to more than 12 per cent and to increase the recycling rate of waste at plants to 99 per cent or higher.