Sony is now the largest multinational corporation that has announced plans to achieve a zero environmental footprint, something it intends to do by 2050.
Sony's new plans to achieve a zero environmental footprint by 2050 are corporation-wide, from electronics to films to music. Starting in 2011 and ending in 2016 (fiscal year 2015), its first phase will include several major changes. It has set mid-term targets for the six lifecycle stages of each product -- procurement, product planning and design, research and development, take back and recycling, distribution, and business operations. It clearly understands that its environmental footprint depends on both direct and indirect factors throughout the whole course of a product's life.
Sony has been working on certain environmental issues for years, and for others it is just now getting involved. Some of its mid-term targets will be based on 2008 levels and others on 2000 levels, but it is being very transparent about this. In fact, the company's whole plan is quite clear and transparent. If you visit its "Road to Zero" webpage, you can see specific FY2015 targets and what year the changes are based on. In cases (or lifecycle stages) where there are not specific quantifiable targets, Sony presents what it will be working on in that time. A link out from that page will take you to a more detailed description of its plans for the next six years.
Starting on the "Road to Zero" Journey
Achieving a zero environmental footprint is no small task. Sony seems to realize that if it is going to achieve that by 2050, it needs to do a lot of planning, evaluating and re-evaluating, as well as deciding on and implementing specific changes.
A few highlights of what Sony plans to achieve by 2016 are as follows:
It will cut the amount of waste it produces in half (compared to FY 2000). It will recycle at least 99% of the remaining waste it produces. It will reduce water consumption in its operations by 30% (compared to FY 2000). Regarding greenhouse gas emissions, it will cut them by 30% in operations (relative to FY 2000) and 14% in logistics (relative to FY 2008). It will reduce incoming parts packaging waste 16% (relative to 2008). Additionally, it will conduct biodiversity impact assessments and promote biodiversity programs.
In general, Sony has set goals regarding four environmental perspectives: 1) curbing climate change; 2) conserving resources; 3) controlling chemical substances; and 4) promoting biodiversity.
Sony's History as an Environmental Leader
We are sure to see more and more multinational companies making pledges to become "carbon neutral" or to achieve a zero environmental footprint (even broader). With Sony's history of environmental responsibility, it is no surprise that it is one of the first to set this lofty goal.
In Europe, Sony's sites reduced their CO2 emissions from electricity use and facility heating approximately 93% between fiscal years 2000 and 2009. Sony Europe is a founding member of the 'European Recycling Platform' (ERP). And in the US, "Sony Electronics (SEL) was the first consumer electronics manufacturer to institute a nation-wide Take Back Recycling Program in 2007 through which consumers can recycle any Sony-branded product free of charge."
Sony's 2015 greenhouse gas emissions and power consumption per product targets have already been reviewed and approved by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a renewal of Sony's "Climate Savers Programme" commitments (something Sony has been a part of since 2006).
Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation says: "We are fully committed to putting our innovative spirit and technological expertise to use to help solve environmental challenges... We will work aggressively to meet the ambitious targets we are setting for ourselves and, at the same time, establish a model for others in our industries to follow."
Its experience in this field will likely help it in efficiently and effectively achieving its future goals. Although, in some cases, its 2016 targets will include successes from the previous 10 years, I think that the company was already working on this is a testament to its dedication to the matter rather than an effort to appear green but not do anything about it.
Looks like Sony should probably be added to our list of "Highly Profitable Companies with a Strong Green Gene".
via Sideways News