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INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Talks to Panasonic’s Katsumi Tomita About Greening the Electronics Industry
Inhabitat: Are your energy-saving appliances and products generally more expensive than power-guzzling counterparts? If so, are many people willing to shell out some extra cash for these more eco-conscious products?
Tomita: As mentioned earlier, energy-saving products are well accepted in the Japanese market. Consumers understand the long-term value in terms of saving running costs over time.
Inhabitat: As of now, about what percentage of Panasonic’s products are eco-friendly? Do you plan on releasing many new eco-friendly products in the next year?
Tomita: Panasonic headquarters designates products Green Products if they meet a certain environmental standard by our own assessment. This year, almost all our products are designated Green Products. Also we recognize products that achieve the highest level of performance in the industry as Superior Green Products. Globally we recognized 338 models as Superior Green Products in 2010. The sales percentage of these 338 Superior Green Products in Panasonic’s global sales amounted to approximately 10% last year. We aim to raise this percentage to 30% by the year of our 100th anniversary in 2018.
Inhabitat: Panasonic makes solar panels, fuel cells, energy saving appliances and has many recycling initiatives, but is there any part of the company that you feel still needs improvement in terms of creating a lot of pollution or e-waste?
Tomita: As we explained to you when you visited our Home Appliance Company in Kusatsu, we believe resource recycling is another important theme in addition to CO2 reduction. In 2010, we started a research and development initiative to process TV tube CRT glass into glass fibers that can be made into vacuum insulation or can be reused as recycled plastics in a new fridge. As Mr.Takami explained to you in Kusatsu, Panasonic plans to launch new products using some recycled materials in Japan next Spring and is considering launch them in overseas markets in the future.
Photos © Yuka Yoneda
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