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.
Inhabitat: Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Panasonic?
Tomita: My title is Manager of the Communication Team in Corporate Environmental Affairs Division, Environmental Planning Group. My role in this organization is to communicate about Panasonic’s corporate environmental affairs initiatives outside the company through trade shows and other public forums, the Internet, environmental reports and more.
Inhabitat: Last month, you outlined for us Panasonic’s 100th anniversary vision to become the number 1 green innovation company in the electronics industry by 2018. When and why did your company decide to make that its #1 goal?
Tomita: This company vision was decided and announced officially by our president, Mr. Fumio Ohtsubo in January 2010. Global environmental issues, including global warming, are problems of great urgency. As a responsible corporate member of society, Panasonic regards these matters as extremely important. The company’s future growth will be achieved in line with what we can contribute to the environment.
Inhabitat: Panasonic is a gigantic company with many resources available to it. However, shifting the entire focus of a corporation and the mindsets of 366,937 employees is a humongous undertaking. Was there some kind of financial analysis done assessing what kinds of future benefits turning the company towards a greener focus would have before it was decided or was it obvious to management that green products were the wave of the future and therefore the best possible decision?
Tomita: In the effort to achieve a sustainable society, any company that is not prioritizing environmental initiatives will not survive. Panasonic decided to place environmental factors at the core of all of our corporate activities. My division, Corporate Environmental Affairs Division, has not been directly involved in the financial analyses; such analyses would be the function of our corporate planners. However, the decision to pursue this vision was made at the very highest levels by Mr. Ohtsubo.