Jun 01, 2023

Generating Sustainable Impacts / Feature Story


Panasonic Makes “Green” Go Global Through Panasonic ECO RELAY for Sustainable Earth

Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, once said, “The basic purpose of an enterprise is to work to improve life in the community through its business, and profit is important insofar as it allows the enterprise to fulfill its fundamental mission.”

True to these words, at the Panasonic Group, each and every employee is encouraged to commit to making a social contribution, directly dealing with social issues in ways that are different from manufacturing and other core businesses.

“The basic purpose of an enterprise is to work to improve life in the community through its business” — Konosuke Matsushita

Faced with pressing global environmental issues, Panasonic Group is more than ever committing itself to realizing a more sustainable global environment through Panasonic GREEN IMPACT (PGI) and other Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

One such example is Panasonic’s global CSR initiative for the environment, known as ECO RELAY. These employee-led, community-based activities include community ocean and river clean-ups, conservation of satoyama (woodland areas near human settlements that conserve biodiversity), and nature education programs.

This year, leading up to Earth Day 2023 on April 22, several regional offices and companies took on ECO RELAY activities in their respective regions. This article takes a closer look at the initiatives conducted in North America, Middle East and Africa, and Taiwan.

North America: From Local Communities to Country-Wide Virtual Events

On April 18, 2023, more than 40 employees from Panasonic North America’s New Jersey location joined together for a park clean-up at Branch Brook Park to help plant trees, fix the gardens up after the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, and remove over 600 pounds of trash. “It was really a wonderful day where I got to meet many people who are new to me,” said Jamie D, one of the employees at Panasonic North America who participated in this event. “It definitely made me feel happy and proud to work at Panasonic.”

Photo: Participants at the Branch Brook Park cleanup, conducted in New Jersey, USA in the runup to Earth Day

Participants at the Branch Brook Park cleanup, conducted in New Jersey, USA in the runup to Earth Day

This isn’t the first sustainability event the New Jersey branch has hosted. Every year it conducts a variety of volunteer activities, such as river clean-ups and electronic waste (E-waste) events. Panasonic North America also hosted a virtual event on April 21 that saw 26 employees from across the company participating in the creation of climate change “conversation cards” (flashcards) to be given to students to raise awareness of climate change and its effects on the Earth.

“It definitely made me feel happy
and proud to work at Panasonic.”

These types of events have a great impact on local communities, but also on Panasonic employees, too. Jason Nieh, Senior Associate in Community Engagement and Operations at PNA shared his thoughts on the events: “Most importantly, it’s a contribution to society. Just living it out, is just so important, it connects us to the whole mission of Panasonic.” With people working from home or only going into the office once a week, these types of events are a great opportunity to connect Panasonic employees to their colleagues.

Taiwan: Grow More Trees, Save the World

Since 2010, all Panasonic Group companies in Taiwan have been involved in ECO RELAY beach cleanup and tree-planting activities. Over the years, a total of 5,933 participants have collected and cleaned more than 22 tons of garbage from Taiwan’s beaches, and a total of 4,910 participants have planted 21,800 trees.

“The Group’s ECO RELAY activities raise awareness of the environment between parents and children, and provide practical educational opportunities for children by learning tree-planting methods and techniques,” said Shu-Hui Ni, General Manager of Corporate Strategy & Public Relations Center at Panasonic Taiwan Co., Ltd. “While its products continue to create a more comfortable, energy-saving, and healthy lifestyle for society, the Panasonic Group in Taiwan continues to protect the global environment by taking the first step in ECO RELAY activities, which allow us to make a positive contribution to our future lives and society.”

“ECO RELAY activities allow us to make
 a positive contribution to our future lives and society”

This past March, over 300 employees from seven affiliated companies participated in a tree-planting event hosted by Taoyuan City Government at Longgang Wanping Park. An estimated 1,000 participants worked together to plant nine arbor trees and 1,000 shrubs.  “I got a lot out of this tree-planting activity,” said one Panasonic employee. “Since this was my first time participating, I needed expert guidance on how to plant trees, dig holes, how deep to dig, how to make sure roots are firmly buried in the soil, and how much watering to do. I was very happy to have the opportunity to participate in activities to grow soil and create forests through tree planting.”

Photo: Longgang Wanping Park was the site of Panasonic Taiwan’s tree-planting event

Longgang Wanping Park was the site of Panasonic Taiwan’s tree-planting event

UAE: Be Part of the Solution, Not the Pollution

Over in Dubai, UAE, Panasonic Middle East and Africa partnered with Companies for Good for an event in which 64 Panasonic employees and their families went on a mangrove kayak tour, planted mangrove trees, and participated in a beach clean-up on February 25.

A whopping 175kg (385 pounds) of debris was removed and 170 mangrove trees were planted at Al Zorah Nature Reserve, contributing to the UAE government’s pledge to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030. Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa FZE Senior HR Generalist Vanessa Say said, “It was a unique and humbling encounter with Mother Nature. Everyone happily engaged because there was this sense of social obligation.”

“ECO RELAY activities are a unique initiative for bringing employees together to breed organizational citizenship behaviors, building a greater sense of identity with the business they work for,” said Honey Sanadhya, Manager of Brand Experience, Corporate Communications Division who organized this event. “We aim to continue doing such engaging activities to further build corporate citizenship and sustainability efforts in our region.”

“ECO RELAY activities are unique initiatives
for bringing employees together”

Photo: Panasonic Middle East and Africa employees and their families cleaned up beaches at the Al Zorah Nature Reserve

Panasonic Middle East and Africa employees and their families cleaned up beaches at the Al Zorah Nature Reserve

Panasonic’s 25-Year-Long Green Streak

Initiatives like Panasonic ECO RELAY for Sustainable Earth and Panasonic GREEN IMPACT are an expression of Panasonic’s commitment as a global entity, to contributing to establishing a sustainable global environment and society for generations to come.

In fact, ECO RELAY is backed by Panasonic’s long history of involvement in environmental activities. The Group’s initial commitment to green action began with volunteer activities organized by Panasonic’s labor unions; these activities eventually grew and evolved into collaborations between the unions, the Group, and alumni.

In 1998, the Love the Earth Citizens’ Campaign (LE Campaign), the predecessor of Panasonic ECO RELAY, was started to encourage employees and their families to engage in activities at home and in their communities under the belief that it takes green-minded employees to manufacture truly green products. Since then, business sites worldwide have been working with employees to plan and implement environmental activities together with adults and children from their local communities.

In 2010, this initiative was renamed Panasonic ECO RELAY for Sustainable Earth.

“We decided to develop ECO RELAY on a global scale because even though CSR activities were being conducted in individual countries, we felt that a single, unified activity would promote global togetherness as an organization,” said Naoyuki Tada, CSR & Citizenship Office, Panasonic Holdings Corporation.

“A single, unified activity would promote
global togetherness as an organization”

Activities were partially interrupted by the pandemic; however, now that COVID restrictions are being relaxed around the world, Panasonic is once again focusing on its global efforts at a time when the threat to Earth and its biodiversity looms ever larger. “We are currently working with Panasonic organizations in more than 12 countries and regions that are promoting ECO RELAY as part of their CSR activities,” said Tada.

Moving forward, Panasonic will continue promoting the ECO RELAY campaign across the world, envisioning a day when all employees can come together and do something to give back to the planet.

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