During a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, Akihiko Sakai, Executive Officer, Corporate Strategy Office, Seiko Epson Corporation, unveiled the company’s Environmental Vision for the next generation. Speaking on the eve of the European Green Week, Sakai outlined an ambitious multi-part program to address some of the most pressing environmental concerns facing the global community looking towards 2050 and how Epson intends to tackle them over the next 10 years.
Specifically, among the goals introduced today, was a plan to significantly reduce the company’s CO2 emissions across the lifecycle of products and services, ensure that all products are either reused or recycled, and take an active part in biodiversity projects.
Epson has set four key conditions in order to work towards achieving Environmental Vision 2050:
- Reduction of CO2 emissions by 90% across the entire product life cycle.
- Inclusion of all products in the resource reuse and recycling loop.
- Reduction of direct CO2 emissions by 90%, and elimination of global warming gas emissions other than CO2.
- Restoration and preservation of biodiversity as a member of the ecosystem, together with local communities.
During the first 10 years, Epson will pursue four actions geared toward achieving the goals of Environmental Vision 2050.
Reducing CO2 in parts manufacturing (designs that save energy and resources)
Parts account for the highest percentage of CO2 emissions in the lifecycles of our products. Therefore, to mitigate environmental impacts stemming from parts, Epson will conduct fundamental reviews at the product design phase to shrink parts sizes and weights and to reduce part counts. At the same time, Epson will enlist the understanding and cooperation of suppliers in realigning production centers and overhauling distribution and logistics.
Developing a business model in which end-user products have a longer service life and ultimately are returned to Epson
In addition to extending the service life of its products, Epson will seek to build a business model that enables an efficient resource cycle. Among the areas to be examined will be product reuse, leasing and rentals.
Mobilising an expert group to cut cleanroom energy use in half
Cleanrooms are the single largest source of direct CO2 emissions at Epson, accounting for the release of approximately 300,000 tons of this gas. Therefore, Epson will put together a team of experts from product manufacturing, basic facilities and other relevant departments to promote the development of technologies that will limit cleanroom energy needs, by assuring that energy is used only at the times, in the spaces, and in the amounts necessary. The company will further reduce energy use through cleanroom consolidation.
Assisting employee reforestation and environmental activities
Epson will enlist the cooperation of local governments and NPOs/NGOs in creating reforestation programs for which Epson employees can volunteer their time, in line with the needs of the communities in which Epson operates. Epson will also gather ideas from employees and provide assistance for environmental preservation programs in which they can participate.
This 10-year plan will be a company-wide effort. Epson will take a flexible approach to its planned initiatives, adapting them as needed to any changes in academic views on environmental issues or elevated stakeholder interest in environmental issues and so forth. Initiatives will thus gradually evolve so as to position the company to maximize its potential.
"Epson is sending a clear signal to the world that we are serious about tackling global issues. Our aim is to reduce CO2 emissions within the lifecycle of our products and services by 90% by the year 2050 compared with current levels, in order to keep emissions below the Earth's CO2 absorption capacity. We would like to invite other members of the printing and imaging industry, to match or better our targets. That’s the only time we would be happy to come second best” said Akihiko Sakai.
He added: “We are sending an invitation for all industries to join us in finding concrete ways to tackle the problems of global climate change. It is the responsibility of all those in positions to do so to alter their behavior in order to reduce their burden on the environment. It is not a matter of whether or not we can achieve these goals. We all know that failure would have dire consequences and is simply not an option”.
In the area of climate change, Epson's 2050 vision calls for the reduction of direct CO2 emissions by a staggering 90%, , and to completely eliminate the company’s emissions of other greenhouse gases. Epson will achieve this reduction through a focus on the reduction of clean room CO2 usage which represents 40% of all company emissions at the moment.
Epson technical innovation is a key contributor to substantial energy savings as the energy consumption of inkjet printers has been reduced by 73% over the last four years and as much as 90% in the last 10 years for projectors. The unique Micro Piezo inkjet technology developed by Epson for its life-long print heads reduces the amounts of voltage and current required and thus significantly reduces energy consumption.
The same technology is used to reduce the amount of raw material for e.g. chips and other electronic components production. This is a first step towards tackling the resource depletion the world will soon face and which can already be observed by the immense increase in raw material prices in the past few years.
Even if the rise in temperature could be restricted to just two degrees, global warming could potentially mean the extinction of 25% of all natural species. This is why Epson will also focus on protecting biodiversity; we cannot accept that 25% of all natural species will be lost. Epson has been undertaking reforestation and forest protection initiatives for several years. These are being carried out in various locations around the globe, such as Indonesia, Philippines, Portugal and Germany. Protecting forests and other valuable ecosystems will help preserve biodiversity.
Since Epson’s Environmental Vision 2050 poses some very serious challenges, requiring approaches and solutions that are entirely new and which may cause drastic changes within the company’s organization, an advisory board of experts will be created in both Japan and Europe. The aim of having an environmental advisory board is to benefit from the independent advice of experts regarding the scenarios, processes and methodologies necessary to realize Epson’s long-term vision. This process has various phases which will influence the composition of the board. In turn, Epson will share its own research findings on how to reduce emissions and raw material depletion with other companies wishing to improve their contribution to a better world.
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