Dec 19, 2023
Generating Sustainable Impacts / Feature Story
Panasonic Holdings Uses COP28 Discussions, Exhibition to Broaden Global Understanding of Avoided Emissions
The 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 through December 13, 2023. Against the backdrop of the growing number of extreme weather events taking place worldwide, COP28 became a forum for discussing climate change countermeasures, and was notable for marking the conclusion of the first five-year global stocktake (GST)—a mechanism for assessing global progress toward the three goals adopted under the Paris Agreement during COP21 (2015).
At last year’s COP27, Panasonic Group participated in a seminar on the significance of avoided emissions, introducing the background and objectives of Panasonic GREEN IMPACT (PGI) and explaining the significance of, and issues related to, avoided emissions. Panasonic joined other speakers in discussing how to establish a method for accurately measuring avoided emissions to ensure transparency and credibility and position the concept as an opportunity for meaningful evaluation of corporate behavior. By participating in seminars and exhibiting its autonomous distributed energy solutions at COP28, the Group sought to raise awareness among various stakeholders of its philosophy and initiatives while accelerating collective efforts to implement globally necessary environmental activities and contribute to the realization of a decarbonized society.
Taking the stage in support of global standards for avoided emissions
During the conference, Group senior executives spoke at seminars hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). With the aim of realizing a decarbonized society, the Group participated in discussions on rules for the development and diffusion of Japanese technologies that can contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and on the significance of avoided emissions and the need for international standardization. The Group believes that tighter regulations and practical technologies and innovations can accelerate the decarbonization of society, but recognizes that promoting innovation requires the creation of an environment in which technologies are properly evaluated in terms of avoided emissions.
Yuki Kusumi, Representative Director, President & CEO, Group CEO, Panasonic Holdings Corporation, participated in this session as a presenter and panelist, providing an outline of the Group’s approach to climate change under PGI, innovative Panasonic solutions that promote the shift to renewable energy, and the Group’s continuing efforts to develop global standards for avoided emissions.
“Today, there is a global method for calculating the volume of emissions. However, there is still no established measure for avoided emissions,” said Kusumi. “Therefore, since last year, Panasonic has joined many discussions on the significance of avoided emissions for society and the need for their standardization in international conferences. To our pleasure, the G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué was issued this May, clearly expressing the need to encourage corporations to accelerate innovation.”
Under PGI, the Group is leveraging innovative GX products and solutions—from advanced air-to-water (A2W) heat pumps and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) to hydrogen fuel cells and perovskite solar cells—to help customers and society advance toward decarbonization. “To help decarbonize society, Pansonic is firmly resolved to maximize avoided emissions in all businesses based on collaboration with our customers and partners worldwide. Through these GX efforts, Panasonic truly wants to help realize the ideal society which our founder envisioned 90 years ago,” said Kusumi.
Hirotoshi Uehara, Executive Officer in charge of Quality & Environment and CS, Panasonic Operational Excellence Co., Ltd. participated in the second panel discussion for this session, which focused on the essential steps for extending the use of avoided emissions in the financial sector.
Uehara explained that the Group believes achieving fairness and comparability through standardization is the key to promoting the adoption of avoided emissions as an evaluation metric by financial institutions, and described the three actions that Panasonic is taking to drive this process.
Action 1 is international standardization in pursuit of fairness. Uehara introduced how Panasonic is promoting the development of guidelines for disclosure and evaluation of avoided emissions as a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and METI’s GX League while supporting International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) efforts to introduce a global standard for avoided emissions in 2024.
Action 2 is collecting case studies based on a common framework to promote comparability. Uehara stressed the importance of comparability within industry sectors as a means for developing case studies that can then be used by the financial industry for evaluation.
Action 3 is proactive disclosure by companies of avoided emissions. Uehara encouraged participants to read Panasonic’s Sustainability Databook, which from this year includes data on avoided emissions.
“Avoided emissions have a high degree of uncertainty in calculation method and have not been internationally standardized yet,” said Uehara. “However, based on the guidance of WBCSD and GX League, as well as discussions at the IEC, Panasonic managed to disclose our avoided emissions transparently together with the calculation method. This is a big challenge for us, but we will continue to report [our] progress as a sign that we are accelerating business transformation and growth that contribute to CO2 emission reduction.”
Earlier this year, Uehara spoke at the GGX x TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) Summit held in Tokyo in October, explaining that avoided emissions measure a company’s contribution to resolving the biggest social issue of climate change—CO2 emissions—and that this, in turn, leads to the decarbonization of society as a whole.
Exhibiting at Japan Pavilion for a fifth consecutive conference
As has been the case with previous conferences, COP28 also included an exhibition area for pavilions set up by participating countries, regions, and international organizations. The theme for the Japan Pavilion, hosted by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE), was “Together for Action” and represented an integrated approach of Decarbonization x Circular Economy x Nature Positive to achieve a sustainable society. A total of 14 companies participated in the exhibition.
The Group’s Independent Distributed Energy Solution exhibit at COP28 focused on the technologies that make PGI possible: power generation solutions such as perovskite solar cells, green hydrogen production, and pure hydrogen fuel cells and storage devices. Panasonic’s Energy Independent and Distributed Solutions uses energy management technology to integrate power generation devices and energy storage devices to achieve local production of CO2-free energy for local consumption. Furthermore, even in the event of natural disasters, which are expected to increase due to climate change, this solution is capable of supporting everyday activity by backing up and supplying electricity within the affected area.
Perovskite solar cells: Support efficient installation in places previously considered unsuitable (such as the windows and walls of buildings and apartments) to generate renewable energy.
Green hydrogen generation device: Produce hydrogen via a water electrolysis system using surplus solar power. Also play a role in regulating renewable energy supply.
Pure hydrogen fuel cell: A network of connected pure hydrogen fuel cells that use hydrogen to generate electricity on demand.
Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS)
The concept of “contributing to the decarbonization of society and safe and secure lifestyles through Energy Independent and Distributed Solutions” was visualized through demonstrations of the “Create,” “Use,” and “Utilize” initiatives.
What is an appropriate assessment of environmental measures?
The global stocktake, or GST, is a mechanism for comparing and assessing the progress being made on each country’s goals and climate change measures. This year marked the conclusion of the first five-year GST since the signing of the Paris Agreement, so COP28 provided an opportunity to accelerate both the progress made to date and future action relating to mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, transfer and other factors.
The gaps identified by the GST should not only be filled by increased regulation and ambitions, but also by practical technologies and innovations, and achieving this objective requires discussion and collaboration among various stakeholders, including governments, private companies, and international organizations. “We truly expect the concept of avoided emissions to be embraced globally,” said Kusumi, who added: “I strongly believe this will drive the world to focus on energy transformation.” Panasonic Group is committed to promoting its mid- to long-term PGI environmental vision while working in close cooperation with its social and global partners to realize a decarbonized society.
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