With 110 years of history behind us, we’re proud to be a social, purposeful business. But if we are to be true to that promise, we must embrace the challenges ahead of us with the same Hitachi spirit.
As we move into COVID recovery mode, our next challenge is very clear – we have to take action on climate change. And for business, the best way to do that is to join the Race to Zero.
The Race to Zero
If you’re part of the Race to Zero, you’re part of the movement for a cleaner, greener world. And if you’re not, you risk falling behind in more ways than one. Delivering net zero and being commercially successful go hand in hand. You only need to look at share prices over the last five years – companies with a strong ESG rating have consistently outperformed those with a lower rating.
So, how is Hitachi lining up in the Race to Zero? Well, firstly we believe our original mission – to “contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products” – is as relevant in 2021 as it was back in 1910. It remains a good fit with the way we run our business today. Our Social Innovation Business is on a mission to power good in the world – combining information technology, operational technology and products to develop solutions to answer some of the world’s biggest challenges, creating social, environmental and economic value. In line with this ambition, we use our business to solve environmental challenges such as reducing CO2 emissions by working to improve the energy efficiency of products and services.
The Next Chapter
The way forward is something we have assessed in great detail in our latest Mid-Term Management Plan. We see it as the next chapter in the Hitachi story and, if we get it right, the opportunity in front of us is huge. With the right support from businesses, cities, regions and investors, we can support a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates vital jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
As you would expect, our Mid-Term Management Plan identifies the environment as a key growth area in our four major markets (Europe, Asia, Japan and North America). We are starting to see renewable energy becoming the dominant source – this is creating additional complexity which is where a business like Hitachi can really add value. Our smarter systems and smarter technology can help businesses navigate the way forward 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.
Co-Creating with Partners
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 in front of us.
Our Role in a Sustainable World
There is so much at stake and, as a Principal Partner of COP26, we need to lead the way. Yes, we must do the right things for Hitachi and accelerate our own potential as a climate change innovator.
By playing our role we think we can also help to galvanise others so that business and governments can work in partnership to accelerate the transformation we need to achieve our climate ambitions.
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 our clients unlock these transformational benefits through our sector experience and our expertise in digital innovation.
The Global Picture
And as we head towards summer, it feels like we’re really gathering pace in the Race to Zero. In recent weeks we’ve seen some great progress both at the Global Leaders Summit on Climate in the US and more recently the B7 Climate Leaders Summit hosted by the CBI in the UK.
Governments are starting to make bigger, bolder and more inclusive 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, the EU has launched its European Green Deal plan to make its economy sustainable, 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 – as a result, business has never had a better opportunity to shape the future. It’s time for us to grab that opportunity.