Adopting a new resolution to reduce CO2 emissions in response to the 2050 declaration
In October 2020, the Japanese Prime Minister at that time, Yoshihide Suga, made public the “2050 Carbon Neutral Declaration”. The Hitachi Construction Machinery Group has been involved in a variety of environmental initiatives before that, launching the Sustainability Promotion Group in April 2019. Although we have been putting our efforts into the promotion of sustainability activities as exemplified by our SDGs (Social Development Goals), the impact of the carbon neutral declaration was still great, and with this as an impetus, the number of opportunities to hear about construction machinery from government agencies and customers such as general contractors also increased.
Previous product development was focused on complying with emission regulations. In May 2019 before the declaration was announced, numerical targets to reduce the CO2 emissions from products by 33% compared to 2030 and the CO2 emissions from production processes by 45% compared to the same year were set, and certification was also received from SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative). However, since these targets alone will not be sufficient to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we will incorporate a variety of technologies focusing on electrification to develop construction machinery that do not emit CO2, with a new resolution being adopted to supply them to our customers as soon as possible.
The Group has been involved in initiatives to create environmental value in the 3 fields of “Creation”, “Usage” and “Challenge”. In the pursuit of these 3 goals, we believe we need to have a good understanding of how customers use our products and what they expect, and to resolve their issues and concerns.
For example, in terms of mining, major resource companies endorsed the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and started promoting initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint earlier than us. For customers to choose us, with regards to the “Creation” of products, first we will naturally have to create products to reduce CO2 emissions from the machinery themselves. Regard “usage”, it has been suggested that CO2 emissions can be reduced by making use of monitoring tools such as “ConSite”. Furthermore, under “Challenge”, we are putting our efforts not only in products but also the systems surrounding these in order to understand the issues involved in improving safety and productivity, reducing life cycle costs and so on. Besides helping customers to attain their goals, we aim to help them resolve general social issues that they will further face in future.
Creativity and imagination will be important in addressing the issues that they will further face in future. Instead of simply listening to the feedback of customers and the industry and adopting a “market-in” attitude to meet their needs, the Sustainability Promotion Group is required to understand general social issues in and conceive what actions to take to resolve these issues with an “outside in” attitude.
When it comes to decarbonization initiatives, actions on stringent laws and regulations have been taken as countermeasures against climate change in Europe. Regarding automobiles, mainstream hybrid cars in Japan will also no longer be allowed to be sold from 2035 onwards. Observing this movement, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and Ministry of the Environment in Japan etc. are also trying to create a legal framework for this. This is to uncover issues with a long-term perspective looking over the entire society while quickly latching onto such a trend. We believe the role of the Sustainability Promotion Group is to incorporate this in an accurate and timely manner within the company, and to promote initiatives by group companies in Japan and overseas acting together as one.