Jan 19, 2024

Generating Sustainable Impacts / Feature Story


CES 2024: Panasonic Highlights Progress on Carbon Neutrality and Circular Economy Initiatives

CES 2024, among the world’s most influential consumer technology events, took place from January 9–12, and for a 56th consecutive year, Panasonic Group was there. An old friend of CES since the first event in 1967, this year the Group kicked off its activity in Las Vegas with a press conference on January 8 that showcased how its latest products and technologies can provide comprehensive well-being for people, society, and the planet under the theme “Create Today. Enrich Tomorrow.

Environmental Perspective Takes Center Stage

The press conference opened with a demonstration by Dr. Hirotoshi Uehara, Quality & Environmental Lead at Panasonic Operational Excellence Co., Ltd., of Silky Fine Mist—an environmentally-friendly technology for immersive special effects, outdoor cooling, surface sanitation, and industrial applications that surpasses traditional misting or fogging technologies by using simple tap water rather than special liquids or dry ice and leaves no residue.

Silky Fine Mist is a perfect example of how the Group is positioning the environment squarely at the center of every aspect of its business—from sustainable energy solutions to practical initiatives to promote a circular economy business model to efforts to make better use of natural resources.

Photo: Uehara on stage during the Silky Fine Mist demonstration

Uehara on stage during the Silky Fine Mist demonstration

Even as governments set carbon reduction goals, corporations must be the forerunners leading the way if these goals are to be achieved,” Uehara told the audience. “We also have a responsibility to make people’s lives better while reducing their carbon footprint. At Panasonic, we believe the defining issue of the coming decades will be ‘How do we make it possible for consumers to live well, feel well, connect well, and move well while living in harmony with our planet and living with a clear conscience?’

“Today, even as we gather here at CES and celebrate a new year, the world is at an inflection point. The science is clear: we must accelerate our efforts toward meaningful change in our use of energy, and we must do so now. If we do not, the consequences will be dire,” he said.

Circular Economy Initiatives Emphasize Commitment to Sustainability

The Group’s vision for the future proposes to address this issue by sticking to what it does best: providing great products that enrich people’s lives. Panasonic is promoting carbon neutrality and a circular economy business model that reduces environmental impact by developing products that do more with fewer resources and are a source of re-usable materials from which future products can be made.

Uehara was joined on stage by Megan Pollock, Vice President of Branding and Strategic Communications, to introduce the CES audience to products that reflect these sustainability and circular economy initiatives.

Photo: Uehara and Pollock on stage

“One of these is kinari—an exciting alternative to conventional plastics manufacturing,” explained Uehara. “While plastics make our modern lifestyles possible, they are a well-known pollutant. Kinari is a more sustainable substitute, made from up to 85% cellulose fiber, a recyclable and biodegradable material.” Kinari uses renewable resources—including cedar, coffee grounds, and even beer brewing byproduct—that are typically thrown away. “This is already a huge step up from traditional plastics. But our engineers are hard at work developing kinari into a 100% biodegradable material, including its binding agents,” Uehara said.

Panasonic Pursuing More Effective Use of Resources and Energy

Uehara then turned to the Bio CO2 crop growth technology, a newly developed product that uses a photosynthetic microorganism to transform atmospheric CO2 into plant growth-promoting molecules to stimulate crop photosynthesis-related metabolisms and enhance yields by 40 percent or more—demonstrating how Panasonic is addressing the world’s growing need for foodstuffs while taking a circular approach to carbon neutrality.

“Humanity must reduce carbon dioxide-emitting activities in manufacturing and power-generation, but in the meantime, we must also mitigate CO2’s impact,” said Uehara. “One way is to use carbon for good. This Bio CO2 transformation technology is a process that turns carbon dioxide (in the air) into a liquid that can be used to accelerate crop growth. Bio CO2 tech solves two problems at once: feeding those in need with better crop yields, and effectively utilizing CO2.

Panasonic understands that humanity’s quest to achieve carbon neutrality means not just transitioning to renewable energy, but also making more effective use of the energy being produced. “Even as more energy comes from renewables, much of it is lost before it can be utilized,” explained Uehara. “We are developing Distributed Energy Resource Management, or DERMS, technology to reduce energy loss and increase efficiency.” DERMS will manage the generation and provision of locally sourced green energy to customers, optimizing household appliances and EV charging/discharging to help users save energy, improve grid balance, and smooth the transition to EVs. “Our Cybersecurity Monitoring feature will also protect power systems, detecting attacks and helping avoid disastrous power outages,” added Uehara.

Products That Reduce Environmental Impacts Show Why Less Is More

The Group is already making great strides toward realizing its environmental vision with its circular economy business model. Many products feature an extended lifecycle and reduce their impact on the environment by serving multiple functions; others are manufactured using recycled materials; and still more are made—or will be made—in carbon neutral factories. Michelle Esgar, Director, Marketing & Experience at Panasonic Consumer Electronics, took the stage to introduce the latest product innovations that demonstrate the Group’s commitment to sustainability.

“We’re excited to introduce you to our re-imagined, luxurious home-shaving device that has already grown wildly popular in Japan—the Palm Shaver. A shaver that feels so natural in your hand, you’d think it is an extension of yourself,” said Michelle. The Palm Shaver is a compact, five-bladed shaver with a body made from NAGORI®, a sustainable material created from sea minerals; the combination of NAGORI® materials with a significantly reduced form-factor reduces plastic usage by 40 percent when compared to Panasonic’s conventional grooming products. “Palm Shaver is a daily reminder that choosing Panasonic shavers shows you care about your personal well-being and the well-being of our planet.”

Photo: Michelle Esgar on stage

“The Palm Shaver is not the only Panasonic grooming device designed with sustainability in mind. Last year, we introduced the innovative MultiShape modular personal care system, featuring a single rechargeable base and a variety of attachments to meet your every grooming need. By eliminating the need for separate motors, batteries, and adapters in the MultiShape, we save approximately 60% of resources compared to traditional grooming products.” Panasonic unveiled new skincare attachments for the MultiShape at CES 2024, broadening its coverage of the diverse needs of customers.

Enriching Tomorrow by Creating Today

Two years, ago, Panasonic Group chose CES as the venue to introduce its PGI environmental initiative to ensure that its message of decisive, responsible action would reach global stakeholders, and the Group continues to leverage the annual event to update audiences on the progress being made.

Panasonic GREEN IMPACT (PGI) is the Group’s commitment to achieving both a better life for people and a sustainable global environment. By reducing its carbon footprint, helping reduce emissions across society, and realizing a circular economy, the Group can ensure that its actions have impact.

“We unveiled the Panasonic GREEN IMPACT vision in 2022 here at CES. This vision seeks to make an impact of 300 million tons in reduced CO2 emissions through our business by 2050,” explained Uehara. “Today, we can proudly report on the recent results of this vision. We have brought 31 of our factories and sites to carbon neutral operations. We have reduced our own emissions to the tune of 9.39 million tons, and have achieved 37 million tons of avoided emissions as of March 2023.”

Photo: Uehara and Pollock on stage

Avoided emissions are CO2 emission reductions that occur outside of a company’s value chain. For Panasonic, they refer to emissions reductions that customers and society have been able to achieve through use of the Group’s products and services. “We’ve deployed a variety of innovations, technologies, and digital solutions to achieve 37 million tons,” said Uehara. “These include EV batteries, air-to-water electrification, energy-saving goods, heat-exchange ventilation and more. Some of these innovations are on display at our booth. Please come by and have a look!”

The Group positions addressing and resolving global environmental issues as its top priority, and we have chosen CES as the place to demonstrate how our efforts are generating positive results,” explained Alex Ikenouchi, Global PR Office, Corporate PR Center, Panasonic Operational Excellence Co., Ltd., who was responsible for organizing the press conference. “We wanted attendees to come away with the feeling that Panasonic is a company that is tackling global environmental issues head-on.”

Photo: Alex Ikenouchi

Alex Ikenouchi

“This year, the topics we highlighted relate to CO2 emissions and circular economy. In addition to the reduction achieved by the company’s OWN IMPACT initiatives during the previous fiscal year, we were able to demonstrate concrete progress in the area of avoided emissions, which represents our CONTRIBUTION IMPACT—that is, CO2 emissions reductions by other companies and society made possible through the use of Panasonic products and solutions,” he continued. “Being able to report the 37 million tons of avoided emissions achieved in the previous fiscal year as well as our ongoing efforts to achieve international standardization of avoided emissions is proof that our actions are generating measurable outcomes.

“Turning to circular economy, the focus was on communicating our efforts to resolve global environmental issues through circular economy and effective resource utilization, so we explain how our kinari and Bio CO2 transformation technologies and our innovative new products and solutions are representative of ongoing efforts to promote resource reduction, reuse, and recycling. We hope that Panasonic’s press conference and exhibits effectively communicated how what we are creating today truly has the power to enrich tomorrow.”

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