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Hitachi Sustainability

15 July 2021
Alistair Dormer, Chief Environmental Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.

Business Advocacy is our Next Step in the Race To Zero

Alistair Dormer Hitachi Environment 2

We are in a crucial window of global diplomacy in between the so-called Biden Summit in April and the G7 in June. It was why I was pleased to be involved in the recent B7 Climate Leaders Summit hosted by the CBI in the UK. The real value of events like this in my view is not the moment but the momentum.

Alistair Dormer Speaking at B7 Climate Leaders Summit

The summit hosted the B7 group of business associations from G7+ countries and acts as the voice of business ahead of this year’s summit in Cornwall.  Speakers included COP26 President Alok Sharma, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and a host of global business leaders. It’s aim, to demonstrate how business leadership can promote free trade, create a race to the top on net-zero and strengthen global resilience.

As far as I’m concerned, that starts with us. As a Principal Partner of COP26 and a social, purposeful business, we need to do much more than put our own house in order. Green technology in a digital world is a real engine for growth and it’s an exciting time to help cities, governments and companies cut carbon whilst accelerating our own potential as a climate change innovator.

And let’s not forget that delivering net zero and being commercially successful go hand in hand. If you look at the performance of companies that have a strong ESG rating over the last five years, their share price has consistently outperformed companies that have a lower rating.

We’re starting to see governments make bolder commitments. Recently, Japan almost doubled its target for cutting carbon emissions, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga saying Japan would aim for a 46% cut by 2030. In the US, President Biden has introduced a $2 trillion plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure with a major focus on green energy and decarbonisation, and the UK has enshrined a new target in law to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035. Governments are laying solid foundations, by providing the right environment and committing to the right infrastructure for business they can shape a better future for all of us. It’s time to start building.


Sustainable technology of the future

At Hitachi, we are actively orienting our business towards the sustainable technology of the future. But we can’t do it on our own. If we are going to build a cleaner, greener future, we need every area of society to step up and embrace net zero. For business, there are huge opportunities, particularly around smart energy, mobility and industry. The role of Hitachi is to help unlock these transformational business benefits through our cross-sector experience and expertise in digital innovation.

Sustainable technology and digital innovation

We need other businesses to join with us in committing to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. Of course, we can bring our experience and expertise to the table, but I see our role as much more far-reaching than that. We need to play our part to actively rally support from businesses, cities, regions and investors – this is how we can turbo-charge a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates vital jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

By pooling our collective resources, we can help governments, cities and companies reduce their environmental impact and add value. Our personal environmental targets include the achievement of carbon neutrality at all of our factories and offices by the fiscal year 2030 and an 80% reduction in CO₂ emissions across our value chain by 2050. To achieve these goals, we must transform our business and the best way to do that is through innovation and powerful partnerships –.

Our recently published Mid-Term Management Plan spells out the opportunity we see in front of us. Our business vision is to achieve sustainable growth through our social innovation business, resolving social issues and management issues through digital technologies. In a broad sense, you won’t be surprised to hear that we see the environment as a key growth area in our four major markets (Europe, Asia, Japan and North America). But what does this actually mean? In a sentence, by supporting the electrification of social infrastructure through our digital innovation products – this can be anything from digital grids to HVDC electric power transmission systems, or from green mobility to our overall EV strategy.

Digital grids and HVDC electric power transmission systems

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. This is where our co-creation approach can really make a difference. For example, we’re currently right at the heart of Optimise Prime, the world’s largest commercial electric vehicle trial to date. We’re collaborating with Royal Mail, Uber, UK Power Networks, Centrica and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks in a three-year trial that will inform the UK government on how best to develop its EV infrastructure. And last month we announced a partnership between Hitachi ABB Power Grids and GE with joint IP around technologies to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions for high electricity transformers and switchgears. There are many more opportunities out there.

So, let’s take this moment and turn it into momentum. To do that, we need governments and municipalities to develop the right funding model and correctly apportion the risk where it can best be managed. With that in place, I have no doubt that the private sector will step up to partner good projects for green infrastructure, which will enable companies like us to help deliver the future sustainable world that we all desire.

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