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Hitachi Sustainability

15 July 2021
Hans Daems, COP26 Director at Hitachi

COP26 is the Opportunity of a Lifetime: Let’s Grab it Together

Hans Daems, COP26 Director, on tackling Climate Change

I’m proud to work for a company which is built on social innovation. But with that pride comes a great sense of responsibility. We have to represent the values we stand for and play our part in building a better future.

At Hitachi we believe that if you want to be a social innovation business in 2021 you have to be a climate change innovation business. Our original company mission set in 1910 was to “contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products”. In simple terms, we want to power good in the world. Today, that means harnessing our expertise and experience to tackle climate change and that is exactly why we decided to become a Principal Partner of COP26.

Principal Partner for COP26

Through the partnership, we will champion decarbonisation and support the UK Government, which holds the COP26 Presidency. Our aim is to help achieve a society that is decarbonized, resource efficient and harmonised with nature. To achieve this, we are actively orienting our business towards the sustainable technology of the future. And we have several long-term environmental targets, including the achievement of carbon neutrality at all of our factories and offices by 2030 and an 80% reduction in CO₂ emissions across our value chain by 2050.

But it’s not about one partnership. Yes, COP26 is an extraordinary platform, but if we are to achieve our climate change ambitions, we have to collaborate with governments, cities and businesses in a collective effort to reduce carbon. If we do this, we can deliver the promise of COP26. If we don’t, we’re missing a huge opportunity.

Progress Through Collaboration

When I talk about collaboration, I mean everything from the transport infrastructure between cities, to the supply of electricity within them and mobility programmes that keep them moving in green and efficient ways.

As part of the process of becoming a Principal Partner of COP26, you must sign up to the Race to Zero. But for me that is just the start. This platform offers us great credibility and a tremendous amount of pride, but it also creates great expectations, and we need to live up to those expectations. Actions speak louder than words and we want to demonstrate our commitment – to the world, to our partners and to our employees.

We want to be known as a world class ESG business committed to carbon neutrality. And we want to highlight how Hitachi can work with partners to create solutions that help achieve the goals of the UNFCCC and mitigate the impact of global climate change.

Underpinning this is a One Hitachi approach. The challenges we face and the opportunities we have are not just around transport, or energy, or data. They are around all of these things which is why we are uniting all of our Hitachi business units behind the common cause of the environment – it’s the connector that flows across our businesses globally but also the link to the types of challenges that our clients are facing.

Social Innovation for the Next Generation

With that in mind, it made perfect sense for us to become a Principal Partner of the biggest environmental conference this century because it gives us a strategy that we can align our business around. We’ve been heading in this direction for a number of years, but now we’re driving forward with real momentum and purpose – this is going to have an impact on our lives but, more importantly, the lives of our children and grandchildren.

The net effect of the partnership and our One Hitachi approach is that it can create even stronger internal support for our corporate sustainability strategy and promote even greater employee motivation and engagement. And that will allow us to be a social innovation business for many years to come.

As I said at the start, I’m proud to work for Hitachi and proud that such an important global sponsorship for Hitachi is being driven out of Europe. But I’ll be prouder still if we can grab this opportunity to build a cleaner, greener planet for generations to come.


COP26 takes place in Glasgow between November 1-12

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