Jun 19, 2023
Meet Our People and Partners / Feature Story
Communicating Sustainability: Expressing Purpose and Value Across Countries and Cultures
The Sustainability Imperative
Sustainability is an increasingly more vital prerequisite for corporate success, and companies worldwide are striving to embed sustainable practices within their operations. A crucial component of this endeavor is effectively communicating the purpose and value of sustainability initiatives to a company’s stakeholders, wherever they are in the world. Panasonic Newsroom Global sat down with six brand and marketing representatives from across our global organization, asking them to share their strategies for and experiences with advancing sustainability and enhancing brand value within their regions.
Regional Insights: Local Perspectives on the Panasonic Brand
Panasonic North America
As a purpose-driven company with a reputation for manufacturing durable, high-quality products, the Panasonic brand is viewed favorably in North America. However, our offerings here have shifted from everyday products for the home to solutions that power society, and younger audiences are less familiar with the Panasonic brand. To nurture greater awareness among Gen Z audiences, we have developed communication campaigns that relate to issues and causes they care about most and introduce the steps Panasonic is taking to help address them. Sustainability and well-being are two great examples of this.
Focusing on sustainability, Panasonic is the number one electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer in the U.S. and filling a critical need for the domestic supply chain in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Our commitment to making more efficient and higher performing batteries is helping drive the EV evolution that is poised to reduce carbon emissions in a big way. In addition, Panasonic has partnered with innovative companies, such as Redwood Materials, that process recycled EV batteries for the raw materials we use in our manufacturing. Circular supply chains like this are key to enabling a more sustainable future.
Panasonic Asia Pacific
The APAC region is a melting pot of social and cultural backgrounds, and each country is at a different stage of economic development. This means that the brand perception of Panasonic varies depending on the country, product category, and market segment.
Panasonic provides a diverse range of products and solutions in the region, and is generally considered a well-established, respected, and reliable brand. Brand recognition, awareness, and affinity are higher among older generations. Complementing its contribution to local economies through manufacturing and employment activity, Panasonic also engages in a variety of CSR initiatives and environmental campaigns. Demonstrating its commitment to society and the environment helps to enhance the brand’s reputation and credibility, and promotes brand loyalty among customers and employees, particularly those who value social and environmental responsibility.
From December 2022 to February 2023, Panasonic Vietnam conducted its Live Green and Wellness with Gen G campaign to provide opportunities for young people to learn, experience, and be inspired to lead a green lifestyle. Other Panasonic initiatives in Vietnam include Live Wellness, Contribute Green with Panasonic, a reforestation program that will contribute to Vietnam’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by planting one billion trees nationwide, and Panasonic for a Green Vietnam, another tree-planting initiative that recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
In Malaysia, Panasonic partners with a local company specializing in low-carbon communities to encourage residents of Kuala Lumpur to properly segregate waste, leading to a higher rate and better quality of recycling.
The Panasonic brand in Europe is influenced by its heritage and longstanding success in consumer electronics. Many people know Panasonic’s TVs and LUMIX cameras, and quite a few are familiar with Panasonic shavers. In the B2B sector, customers and business partners associate Panasonic with heating & cooling, professional AV, and Toughbooks (laptops), but some of our smallest components are now making a big difference for European carmakers and other manufacturers.
When it comes to sustainability, Europe is quite advanced. Sustainability is driven not only by national governments or the European Union, but also by ordinary people who are keenly interested in environmental programs—this is especially true for young people, who worry that if we don’t act today, then their lives and those of their children will be in danger tomorrow. As Panasonic Europe employees, but also as citizens of Europe, we are motivated to ACT when it comes to sustainability. Panasonic’s global focus, as expressed by Panasonic GREEN IMPACT, is perceived as both very welcome and vitally important—especially by customers. Within the greater Panasonic organization, I see our responsibility as both expressing this urgency to our colleagues around the globe and encouraging them to take action. It’s great to see projects like Panasonic’s RE100 installation with PV, hydrogen fuel cells, and battery storage as well as the Energy Management System. Green action makes me proud of Panasonic.
In India, Panasonic is a Japanese brand with a great legacy—a brand that has earned goodwill by offering quality products. But we are a country of young people—more than 50 percent of the population comprises millennials and Gen Z. So when it comes to category association (like washing machines and refrigerators), awareness of Panasonic is lower among these age groups. As the most active voices on social media, influencing change and driving trends such as sustainability, young people are an important demographic for our brand communication.
We are pursuing a Panasonic brand image that is young, vibrant, driven by innovation, and committed to sustainability. Our program on environmental conservation is focused on four key pillars of our sustainability journey—responsible e-waste management, plastic management, energy conservation, and tree planting. Since this initiative was introduced in 2019, we have planted over 300,000 trees and are committed to planting more this year. Our commitment to younger generations also includes leveraging renewable energy technology to address and resolve challenges in our communities. For example, this year we are planning to distribute 1,000 solar lanterns to children in underserved communities to enable them to study during frequent blackouts. Our manufacturing processes are also helping drive the sustainability agenda; technologies like ECONAVI and nanoe™ help us build sustainable products that support energy savings and provide healthy indoor environments.
Panasonic China & Northeast Asia
In 1978, after founder Konosuke Matsushita promised to fully support the modernization of China, Panasonic started doing business here with home appliances; today, we are expanding into a wide range of sectors, including living spaces and B2B businesses. Due to this history of commitment, the Panasonic brand continues to enjoy broad recognition and trust among stakeholders in China. My impression is that Panasonic has become a representative Japanese brand known for a deep product lineup and excellent quality.
Sustainability is a challenge for every market, and we are no exception. Preservation of the natural environment has become a social issue in China, and consumers are now paying closer attention to companies and brands that are taking practical steps to contribute to creating a brighter, viable future. Our communication activity helps raise awareness of the initiatives that Panasonic is actively promoting in this market to help solve environmental problems. These range from Zero CO2 factories to practical application of hydrogen fuel cells and EV devices.
In Brazil, Panasonic is perceived as a high-quality and reliable brand. The Brazilian consumer still associates the brand with brown goods such as electronics and audio visual devices, a category in which Panasonic was a strong player for many years in the regional market. Today, our goal is to build the same high-impact awareness and identification with the white goods category and ESG initiatives through our Panasonic GREEN IMPACT campaign.
The Brazilian consumer, especially the younger generation, expects brands and companies to commit to making the world a better place. Here at Panasonic Brazil, we are proud to have several sustainable initiatives relating to our operations. When it comes to our products, we consider the socio-environmental impact generated throughout the lifecycle, from suppliers and manufacturing through consumption and disposal. Our Green Factory in Extrema, Minas Gerais, was the first in Latin America to receive the Zero CO2 Emission Seal from Japanese headquarters. In addition to focusing on reducing water consumption during production, our washing machines have the lowest water consumption in their category and can even recycle bathwater. Turning to energy savings, 90% of our refrigerators carry the national regulatory bureau’s A+++ energy efficiency seal. Finally, Panasonic supports the national project for ecological disposal, which helps reduce irresponsible dumping of large appliances and promotes the circular economy; when buying a new product, consumers can request collection of the old one, which is then returned to the production chain as raw material.
Adapting the Brand for a Sustainable World
These interviews with communication colleagues from six different regions have provided valuable insights into the strategies employed to promote brand value through sustainability. Tailoring sustainability initiatives to address specific regional challenges is crucial for success. By empowering communities, supporting local businesses, and contributing to solving environmental issues, Panasonic will continue to pursue sustainable goals attuned to the specific needs of individual countries, regions, and cultures.
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