INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Talks to Panasonic’s Katsumi Tomita About Greening the Electronics Industry

by , 08/07/12
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A Panasonic fuel cell energy generation system.

Inhabitat: While we’re confident that the people at Panasonic care about the environment, there is clearly also a business-related reason for the decision to focus on making greener goods. Do you feel that companies who are not shifting their focus towards sustainable products are missing the boat?

Tomita: I am not in the position to talk about the situation of other companies. However, speaking for Panasonic, we can say that for a company like ours it might not be possible to survive over the mid- to long-term without eco-responsible products or specific environmental initiatives.

Inhabitat: Where do you think you stand in the green electronics game as of now? You have so many environmentally conscious, energy-saving products that it seems like you might be ahead of many other electronics companies in this aspect – do you think that is the case?

Tomita: Compared to our direct competitors, I am confident that Panasonic is ahead. It’s not just us saying that, too. We have been recognized in the top ranks among companies for our performance in this area by third parties like the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Carbon Disclosure Project and independent rankings.

Inhabitat: At your presentation last month in Japan, you mentioned that Panasonic will be implementing CO2 reduction quotas for its employees where if they do not reduce the amount of CO2 that is expected of their departments, it will be reflected in their salaries. Could you explain this system to our readers? In your experience, does this type of performance-based pay system generally work?

Tomita: Panasonic Corporation is made up of several division companies. Our headquarters uses various criteria to evaluate each division company’s performance and reflect this in terms of compensation. Ordinarily, for us and other companies, those criteria include sales, profit and other indicators of the actual business. Panasonic’s particular innovation is to add the achievement of CO2 reduction by each division company to the traditional factors in performance evaluation criteria. I believe this is a fairly unique approach in this industry as I have not heard of other such examples in the electronics business.

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