Panasonic has opened its fifth “eco ideas” factory in the Asia Pacific region – the company’s latest initiative to showcase best practices in sustainable manufacturing.
The new Panasonic Vietnam Group facility, located at the Thang Long Industrial Park, sets benchmarks – or eco ideas – for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions, waste management and recycling, and chemical substance usage.
In fiscal year 2012, for example, the group expects to reduce its CO2 emissions per unit of production by 5.6% through measures including high-efficiency lighting and an inverter air-conditioning system.
The technologies and electronics products being assembled at the site are also intended to be models of energy efficiency, compliant with the European and Vietnam Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives.
Panasonic Asia Pacific committed several years ago to establishing at least one eco ideas factory in each country where it operates manufacturing sites by March 2013. It’s part of Panasonic’s quest to become known as the top “green innovation” company in the electronics industry by 2018.
Similar sites include the Refrigeration Devices Company in Singapore, Home Appliances in Thailand, Audio Visual Components Networks Company in Malaysia, and Lighting Company in Indonesia. A factory in India is scheduled to be open by December 2012; two more sites are in the works for next year.
Panasonic is organizing factory tours of these sites with the aim of raising community awareness of the need for more sustainability manufacturing practices throughout the region – in particular it hopes to reach 200,000 students across Asia Pacific by March 2013.
In Vietnam alone, the company has already been involved with educational outreach to more than 7,700 students.
“Environmental deterioration is prevalent not only in Vietnam, but also in many other parts of the world,” says Shinichi Wakita, general director of Panasonic Vietnam Group. “The choice is ours to reduce the impact of this alarming trend and ensure environmental sustainability. eco ideas and eco activities have been a core focus in Panasonic since 2007. We hope through the ‘eco ideas’ factory and eco activities being conducted, Panasonic is able to play an effective role in changing mindsets and driving individuals to assume greater environmental responsibility in their communities.”
Says Nguyen Xuan Linh, vice chairman of the Hanoi Industrial and Export Processing Zones Authority:
“Panasonic has demonstrated its strong commitment in contributing to the country’s efforts in environmental protection. Indeed, the newly established eco ideas factory is a prime example of a manufacturer taking stewardship of its processes and products to mitigate any detrimental environmental impact. We hope such efforts will spur even more manufacturers to do the same.”
Panasonic’s eco ideas mantra encompasses a wide range of initiatives, including the development of technologies to support a zero-carbon lifestyle and the adoption of sustainable business practices across the entire company.
Aside from using the eco ideas factories as a form of public advocacy, the company is also spearheading the creation of a sustainable “smart town” in Japan on the vacant lot of its former factory site in Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The project, which will show off various technologies that could aid in smart urban development, is scheduled to open in March 2014.
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