Outside Expert Comments on Daikin Group CSR (June 2012)
Research Chief, Head of ESG Research Center, Center for the Strategy of Emergence, The Japan Research Institute, Limited
Conducts industry surveys and corporate assessments on CSR with a focus on environmental issues. Provides corporate information to financial institutions to serve their decision-making regarding socially responsible investment and environmental investment. From March 2005 to May 2009 was a Japanese expert on the ISO 26000 Working Group. His published works include Introduction to Environmental Management (2009, Nikkei Publishing Inc.), The Evolution of Environmental Risk Strategy Among Financial Institutions (2011, Kinzai Institute for Financial Affairs, Inc.), and No Time to Waste! Energy and Carbon Management (2012, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun)
I have provided a third-party opinion on the Daikin Group's CSR activities described in this report and on the way the Group disclosed relevant information, from the perspective of a provider of corporate information to financial institutions to serve their decision-making regarding socially responsible investment.
When I was a child, air conditioners were a luxury. Air-conditioned trains were a joy to ride, and going into an air-conditioned department store was like stepping into a different world. At that time, we couldn't imagine a home with air conditioners in every room.
Today, air conditioners are an absolute necessity for older people's homes. Even local governments urge citizens to use air conditioners set at the proper temperature and humidity.
In Japan, there are an increasing number of sweltering-hot days and nights, while at the same time we are being pressed to save as much energy as possible. How will the Daikin Group think and act in response? Can it change its course to deal with this new reality? This is a crucial point in thinking about the relationship between private enterprise and society.
The heat dispensed by air conditioners contributes to the heat island effect. There's no denying that air conditioners make things comfortable for the user. However, air conditioners impact the environment, and they impact other people besides the user. So a company's biggest responsibility to society is to continually strive to decrease this impact in any way possible. There was once a car manufacturer president who said that the more of his company's cars were on the road, the cleaner the air would be. This is what we are talking about.
This report talks about the issues of increasing air conditioner demand, global warming, and ozone layer depletion due to CFCs. Daikin is very convincing when it talks about developing and spreading the use of high-quality and energy-efficient air conditioners, and choosing refrigerants with less environmental impact.
In relation to this, I have three requests for Daikin. First, since air conditioners are essential to protecting people's health, I would like Daikin to make it possible for the elderly and the needy to enjoy air conditioning. Inexpensive air conditioners are no longer just necessary for people in developing countries. Second, besides simply selling air conditioners in emerging countries, Daikin should educate consumers in matters like keeping heating and cooling temperatures just right and not too hot or too cold. As part of this, Daikin should get into the facilities management business or collaborate with facilities management companies. Third, instead of its current target of contributing to CO2 emission reductions by spreading the use of inverter air conditioners in developing countries, Daikin should focus on reducing emissions through sales worldwide, and work to reduce emissions despite the uncertainty of such a goal.
I hope the Daikin Group will be a world leader in responding to these requests. That way, 100 years from now, children will say, "Long ago people strove to make air conditioners a product essential for our survival," instead of saying "People long ago harmed our environment by using more and more air conditioners."
This opinion does not express a view on whether this report represents, in all material respects, matters measured, calculated, and prepared in accordance with environmental reporting guidelines generally accepted.