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sustainability

How TOUGHBOOK devices are a sustainable solution to your everyday life

Written by Nick Miller, Regional Sector Manager, Enterprise Sector UK & Ireland at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

How TOUGHBOOK devices are a sustainable solution to your everyday life

Every year, UK households throw away over 1.2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste – the equivalent of 150,000 double-decker buses; enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices are designed to buck the trend of ‘disposable’ electronics, being durable and resilient to the knocks and drops that put paid to so many devices. But our sustainable credentials run much deeper.

In June 2017, Panasonic announced its new Environment Vision for 2050, the year by which the UK Government has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Panasonic’s Environment Vision 2050 covers a wide range of initiatives and objectives but it can be summed up in one simple goal: to make the energy we create exceed the energy we use, both within the company and in the products we sell.

We want TOUGHBOOK customers to be confident that they are buying a product that is sustainable, not just in its durability but in the principles behind its manufacture and the benefits it brings to society – in short, supporting our brand promise to contribute to “a better life and a better world”.

Here are five areas in which we are pursuing that goal.

 

1 Energy and emissions

Panasonic has approximately 250 production facilities worldwide. By increasing efficiency within those facilities, eg using automation and robots, smart energy management and more energy efficient components, such as LED light bulbs, we are making a sizeable difference. We have cut our CO2 emissions by 170,000 tonnes globally and six of our factories are already running at net zero.

By 2030, we aim to have expanded the concept of Zero CO₂ Emission Factories to all our manufacturing sites around the world. This will be achieved through a combination of energy saving measures, electricity generation from renewable sources and some carbon offsets for emissions which cannot be avoided.

Energy consumption applies to our products as well as our manufacturing processes, so as well as innovating the way our factories run, we are developing technologies for enhanced product energy performance.

At the same time we are helping to promote the generation of clean energy from renewable sources, expanding our energy-generation and storage businesses as well as contributing to social systems such as a hydrogen society, to increase the amount of clean energy generated. Most recent figures show that we have created 78,000MWh of renewable energy.

 

2 Waste and recycling

The world’s mineral resources are in danger of depletion as demand grows. With much of the UK’s electronic waste going to landfill, valuable commodities are being buried in the ground where they serve no purpose and can even pollute the soil and water courses.

We are working on various initiatives to reduce the quantity of new materials used in manufacturing our products to a minimum, and cutting right back on the amount of old product  and manufacturing material that goes to waste. Recycling plays a major part in this. We are working to salvage the plastic, copper, steel and other precious metals that make up the bulk of today’s electronic products and recycle them to make new ones.

In 2015 Panasonic achieved a recycling rate of over 99%. Our ultimate goal is 100% and to achieve this we are pursuing creative ways to deal with our waste. We follow the 3 R's rule of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

One way we are reducing the amount of waste we produce is through an ongoing programme of minimising the amount of packaging we use, while being sure that our products will not be damaged during transportation.

An example of reuse is at our manufacturing plant in Cardiff, where, rather than sending perfectly good cardboard boxes for recycling, we have developed a relationship with a local company that specialises in the reuse of boxes.

All materials that can't be effectively reused are collected and sorted (electrical parts, metals, plastics, cardboard etc) and shipped to specific recyclers. Materials that are not of sufficient quality to recycle but are suitable for waste to energy conversion are shipped to a specific plant which generates electricity from waste.

We have set up facilities to collect old waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), including batteries and toner cartridges, that would otherwise go to landfill. This is then recycled and the costs involved are paid for by us and companies like us who are selling new products. If you are a consumer in the UK or Republic of Ireland and want to know where you can take your old electronic products for recycling, visit: http://repic.co.uk/consumers/ or http://www.weeeireland.ie/.

 

3 Water conservation

According to the Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum in January 2015, water crisis is listed as the top risk with the highest global impact. Panasonic is taking measures to conserve water resources, both in the way our products operate (eg washing machines and dishwashers) and in the way we manufacture them.

We are working to reduce the volume of new water we use in our production processes, and the volume of waste water we discharge, by recovering and recycling waste water using advanced water purifiers.

4 Pollution from chemical substances

In order to prevent air, water and soil pollution in the areas around our factories, we are making improvement to our production methods with the aim of reducing the amount of chemical substances we use in our manufacturing processes.

By identifying chemical substances contained in our products, evaluating the impact on people and the environment and voluntarily discontinuing the use of chemicals that pose a risk, we are constantly working to provide safe and secure products.

 

5 Biodiversity

At COP26 in Glasgow, biodiversity was formally recognised as a key factor in the environmental agenda, with the preservation of natural resources and the conservation of animal and plant life being a vital influence to the ecology of the planet.

At Panasonic we are committed to promoting biodiversity in three key areas: 1 By developing more products that contribute to biodiversity conservation; 2 By promoting green procurement; and 3 By using green areas at our business divisions to contribute to conservation.

 

Enabling the sustainable future

Beyond these key areas, we are using our technological knowhow to help advance the cause of sustainable living. We are actively involved in developing green energy solutions, such as heat pumps, solar energy, energy storage and management and hydrogen fuel cells. We are also helping to pioneer energy efficiency programmes, like smart cities, smart mobility and multigenerational living.

When you buy a TOUGHBOOK, you’re not just getting a device that is built to last, you’re buying in to a concerted programme of protection for the planet all the life it sustains.

Find out more about our TOUGHBOOK Product Range

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