Unravelling Aisin's futureOur company-wide challenge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
The Paris Agreement, which was reached as a new framework for global warming countermeasures, has brought increasing interest in environmental issues. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Suga’s pledge to achieve “net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050” in his policy speech is still fresh in our minds.
In this context, Aisin announced its new Group philosophy in April 2021: “Inspiring "movement", creating tomorrow.”
Executive Vice President Mizushima, who leads environmental measures, was interviewed on the kind of vision Aisin outlines and what to push ahead with, in order to leave a sustainable environment to the future.
- 1. Aisin's mission to the global environment
- 2. Toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050
- 3. Turning carbon neutrality into a business opportunity
Director・Executive Vice President Toshiyuki Mizushima
Aisin's mission to the global environment
To leave the earth as a place where everyone can live humanly into the future
Aisin has addressed environmental issues with a focus on the establishment of a “zero-carbon society, a society where people coexist with nature, a recycling-oriented society, and fundamental activities.” In terms of production, we have worked on shortening the manufacturing process and have promoted the introduction of renewable energy, including the installation of solar panels. In terms of products, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions during manufacturing as well as the use and disposal of products, we have developed and sold electrification products, such as eAxle, and clean energy-related products, such as ENE-FARM.
In addition, the new AISIN Group philosophy also has a strong commitment to the global environment.
“Response to climate change has entered an important phase. We are conducting activities with a sense of responsibility to protect children from rising sea levels and torrential rain along with global warming, and to ‘leave the earth as a place where everyone can live humanly into the future,’” said Mizushima.
Moreover, our commitment can be seen in the words “We will deliver beauty to our future earth” in our corporate principles.
“Addressing environmental issues is endless, just like making improvements. It is extremely important not only to implement such actions but also to continue them,” Mizushima stated with a serious expression.
Toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050
Accepting reforms in the business environment and accelerating the efforts of the whole Group
Carbon neutral refers to a state of which the amount of CO2 emissions during the entire life cycle minus the amount of CO2 absorption and removal is net zero. Aisin announced that it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in its environmental vision. As a milestone, the target for FY2030 was presented, and specific numerical targets were set for each of the production and product aspects. Aisin will create a scenario for each business to achieve the respective targets.
The Energy Strategy Council was set up in March 2020 as a new organization for the realization of carbon neutrality. From April 2021, the name will be changed to the “Carbon Neutral Strategy Council,” and more practical actions will be taken.
Mizushima says, “Our work involves more than 200 companies of the AISIN Group. I hope that raising the individual activities of each company to the company-wide meeting level will significantly change the contents of the activities.”
To achieve carbon neutrality, we have also been promoting CO2-free production. CO2-free production is an effort to reduce CO2 emissions during manufacturing to net zero. CO2 emissions are reduced by making the process as short as possible through technological innovation. Furthermore, Aisin strive to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by separating, capturing and reusing CO2 by means of methanation, as well as utilizing hydrogen and introducing renewable energy.
Aisin is starting production of the first CO2-free product in the electrification drivetrain unit lineup in 2021, and within 10 years, Aisin will achieve CO2-free production of all of its electrification products.
“In Europe, CO2-free production is already becoming a prerequisite for receiving orders. Our business environment is inevitably facing great changes.” Mizushima remarked with a sense of caution that if we do not accept changes and respond quickly, we will be left behind.
Turning carbon neutrality into a business opportunity
Turning risks into opportunities by heightening technology and awareness
According to Mizushima, one factor contributing to the contention that the automobile industry is in a once-in-a-century period of change is the 1.5-degree scenario of global warming, in addition to digitalization and electrification. The 1.5-degree scenario is an environmental forecast where the temperature rise from pre-industrial levels shown in the Paris Agreement is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“It has become clear that it would be difficult to maintain the global environment in a 2-degree scenario, as has been recognized globally. The level we should tackle to achieve the 1.5-degree scenario, which limits the temperature rise more stringently than the 2-degree scenario, is an order of magnitude higher,” says Mizushima.
The AISIN Group, which covers a wide range of businesses including the casting process in which a metal is melted, has to consider replacing melting furnaces using coke (solid fuel made from coal) with electric furnaces, and reusing the heat emitted during the production process. Achieving carbon neutrality entails enormous costs.
Conversely, “achieving carbon neutrality is also an opportunity,” Mizushima stated emphatically.
“Developing innovative technologies and dramatically reducing costs will lead to competitiveness, and spreading such technologies to the world will lead to new business opportunities.”
To achieve the SDGs* and carbon neutrality, raising awareness is essential for each and every employee of Aisin.
“To realize these achievements, it is important for all employees of the more than 200 companies of the AISIN Group to give higher priority to carbon neutrality in their business activities, with a common understanding and purpose. We will certainly pursue them to deliver beauty to our future earth,” said Mizushima.
*SDGs：Sustainable Development Goals