We recently invited Professor Yukari Takamura of the University of Tokyo's Future Vision Research Center to speak at our Komaki Plant on the topic of "The World Towards Carbon Neutrality in 2050: Companies in the Midst of Change”
I'm sure you've seen or heard about "carbon neutral" recently, not only in your company, but also in newspapers and on TV.
Carbon neutral, or "zero greenhouse gas emissions as a whole," means that the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas "emissions" should be reduced to practically zero by subtracting the amount of "absorption" by forests and other sources from the total amount of "emissions.
To be honest, I was feeling that many people, including myself, were losing sight of the true nature of carbon neutrality, as the term "carbon neutral" was walking on its own.
Amid such confusion, Professor Takamura, a leading expert on environmental issues who has held important positions in many committees of the government and ministries, accepted our request to give us a lecture despite her extremely busy schedule.
Her friendly personality and ability to speak at our level really deepened our understanding of how companies should deal with carbon neutrality, I believe.
Why are we aiming to become carbon neutral in the first place?
The background is the issue of the climate crisis, which is being exacerbated by human social activities.
It is said that if global warming continues at this rate, it will lead to various critical situations such as floods, rising sea levels, water and food shortages, and loss of ecosystems, and we are already facing some of them.
Moreover, the insurance and financial industries in various countries have begun to demand the governments to take actions to prevent the risk of economic loss, and the pressure of investors toward corporations has also had a significant impact.
Once the goal is set
"Our future will not be an extension of our current society."
These words had the strongest impact for me in her lecture.
To tell the truth, the goal of "becoming carbon neutral by 2050" is not an easy one to achieve.
However, clarifying the target (goal) is the first step to reach it according to her message.
And once the goal is set, she said, we will be able to find issues and come up with solutions. I felt that this is the same work that we always do in our company.
Actually, we always start tackling the issues as soon as we find them.
As part of our efforts so far, we have set a 2022V goal of reducing CO2 emissions in our business activities, and we have also begun to address the issue of carbon neutrality.
For example, the "reduction of electricity consumption by mold heaters using thermal insulation paint" has an energy-saving effect of 16%, and by expanding this project globally, it is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 3,000 tons/year (forecast for FY2021) in the Sumitomo Riko Group.
At the financial results press conference in May of this year, when asked about our efforts to decarbonize, I answered that we are considering using the thin-film high heat insulating material "FINESULIGHT", which was developed and announced last year, in our factories.
This is one of the measures our Group is taking for carbon neutral.
I strongly believe that the use of FINESULIGHT as a heat insulator in manufacturing sites that generate heat in various ways will greatly contribute to heat management and, ultimately, energy management.
Our customers have already adopted this product at their manufacturing sites, and it was recently featured in a newspaper.
A New Goal for Carbon Neutrality
The movement toward carbon neutrality is spreading among companies.
Of course, our customers are also requesting it to us.
It is such a difficult goal that we cannot achieve it unless we are tightly united.
We already know that extending conventional energy conservation activities and accumulating what we can do will not work to solve this issue anymore.
As was mentioned in the lecture, I think it is important to set a big goal and think about what we should do to achieve it by back-casting.
As I have mentioned many times in the past, it is important to “Create a corporate culture that responds flexibly to change without being bound by past concepts”.
Professor Takamura said, "If we can look to the future and respond well to change, we can reduce the impact and protect jobs. And measures toward carbon neutrality will become a business strategy to increase corporate value.
What I strongly hope is as follows;
*As a global citizen, our company will fulfill its responsibility to solve these social issues,
* We will become a company that stakeholders can understand and trust us through our implementation of our missions.
And I really wish this article in my blog will encourage our dear employees to take an interest in these issues as your own.