Epson Establishes "Environmental Vision 2050"
Seiko Epson Corporation has established a long-term environmental direction, Environmental Vision 2050, that will help chart the course of the company’s environmental activities through to the year 2050.
Environmental Vision 2050
Recognizing that the Earth’s carrying capacity*1 is limited and believing that everyone must share responsibility for reducing environmental impacts equally, Epson is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% across the lifecycle of all products and services by the year 2050. At the same time, as a member of the ecosystem Epson will continue to work towards restoring and protecting biodiversity*2 together with local communities.
Epson has set the following four key conditions in order to work towards achieving Environmental Vision 2050:
1. Reduction of CO2 emissions by 90% across the entire product life cycle.
2. Inclusion of all products in the resource reuse and recycling loop*3.
3. Reduction of direct CO2 emissions by 90%, and elimination of global warming gas emissions other than CO2.
4. Restoration and preservation of biodiversity as a member of the ecosystem, together with local communities.
Background and approach
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Assessment Report, declared that global warming is unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in temperature is very likely a direct result of human activity. Epson takes this message from members of the international scientific community seriously and believes that in order to mitigate climate change, including global warming, humankind must immediately begin to rethink and alter the entire range of activities that contribute to climate change.
Climate change is said to be caused primarily by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (of which CO2 is the most important) in levels exceeding the Earth’s natural capacity to absorb them, resulting in a large and growing imbalance. To restore the balance, CO2 emissions must be reduced to within the Earth’s absorptive capacity. To assure the continued survival of humankind, we must act now to mitigate climate change and to halt the decline of the ecosystems that support life.
Based on this understanding, Environmental Vision 2050 provides a guide to how Epson’s business activities should be carried out in the future. With Environmental Vision 2050 a cornerstone of Epson’s business management, all employees at all Epson sites will move forward with unity of purpose to turn the vision into reality.
According to the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report, the Earth can absorb an estimated 11 billion tons of CO2. Epson, which has incorporated the principle of equitability*4 in Environmental Vision 2050, believes that since every human being has already surpassed their individual CO2 allotment within the Earth’s absorptive capacity, each and every one of us must strive to reduce emissions. Based on this thinking, Epson will be limited to CO2 emissions in 2050 that are 90% less than the current level across the entire product lifecycle - in every process from the manufacture of parts by suppliers, to the disposal, collection and recycling of products at the end of their useful life.
The 90% reduction of CO2 is extremely ambitious and is not something that can be achieved as a natural progression of actions to date. However, in light of the looming environmental crisis, it is clear that we can no longer postpone taking action. Therefore, instead of forecasting goals, Epson has used a method known as “backcasting*5” to determine a vision of where the company wants to be in 2050.
The path towards the goals of Environmental Vision 2050 is not yet clear, but that was also true back in 1988, when Epson became the world’s first manufacturer to publicly declare a commitment to eliminating ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – before it even began studying the technological feasibility of doing so. Engineers from across the organization joined forces to successfully eliminate CFCs from the company’s operations in October 1992, more than a full year ahead of schedule. With this same drive and determination, Epson will steadily advance toward Environmental Vision 2050 by bringing its storehouse of technology and experience to bear, and by seeking the opinions and cooperation, as well as a shared sense of urgency, from suppliers, local communities, customers and other stakeholders.
Initiatives for the coming decade
During the next 10 years, Epson will pursue four actions geared toward achieving the goals of Environmental Vision 2050:
1. Reducing CO2 emissions at the component manufacturing stage.
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.
2. Developing a business model in which end-user products have a longer service life and are ultimately 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.
3. Halve cleanroom energy usage by mobilizing an expert project team.
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. This team will assure that energy is used for the shortest duration possible, and only in the space and amount necessary. The company will further reduce energy use through cleanroom consolidation.
4. Carry out reforestation and environmental initiatives with active employee involvement.
Epson will enlist the cooperation of local governments and NPOs/NGOs in creating reforestation programs 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 changes in areas such as academic views or elevated stakeholder interest in environmental issues. Initiatives will thus gradually evolve to allow the company to maximize its potential.
Bringing in an objective, third-party perspective
Epson sought the expert opinions and advice of independent advisors during the development of Environmental Vision 2050. Moving forward with this plan, Epson will utilize the objective input of an outside advisory board in its managerial decision-making, particularly in Japan and Europe, to address themes in areas beyond environmental initiatives, such as strategies and action plans.
For more information on Epson’s Environmental Vision 2050 please click here.
*1 Carrying capacity
The amount of human activity and substances that degrade or pollute the environment that can be supported without impairing the environment. In Environmental Vision 2050, carbon dioxide is cited as a representative environmentally harmful material, and the environmental carrying capacity is assumed to be the capacity of the Earth’s natural environment to support it.
Also known as biological diversity; the existence of diverse forms of life in a given ecosystem. The Convention on Biological Diversity defines this term as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.”
*3 Resource recycling loop
A system in which the input of new resources is gradually reduced by repeatedly reusing and recycling resources used in earlier products.
Criteria for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits and burdens. It is also used in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Among the closely related words are “fairness” and “justice.” Environmental Vision 2050 was created in conformance with the principle of equality, one of the principles for ensuring equitability, so that emissions per person are distributed or allocated evenly.
A planning technique in which a desired outcome or goal is envisioned and planned before the scenario for achieving the outcome or goal is devised.
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