Within the 17 SDGs established by the United Nations, “concrete measures to address climate change” are attracting increased attention day by day. This naturally includes climate change measures created by countries around the world, and many companies within the business field are promoting carbon neutrality and the use of renewable energy. Such trends have expanded to supply chains, and climate change measures have now become an essential corporate activity.
Under such conditions, Murata Manufacturing (hereinafter, “Murata”) is undertaking various climate change measures across the entire group. In this interview, we spoke with Atsushi Katsuma and Mai Fujiwara from the Environment department about the background and detailed initiatives for promoting climate change measures across the entire Murata Group, including plant facilities and equipment.
1. Climate change measures increasing in importance within a continuous cycle of social value and economic value
As introduced in “Murata’s Value Creation through SDGs,” Murata has positioned SDGs as a management strategy guideline aimed at improving corporate value and market competitiveness. Among those SDGs, the importance of climate change measures is increasing day by day, and the initiatives also continue to “evolve” and “deepen.”
Fujiwara: “In the past, Murata's products and technologies have been well-received, but the number of customers emphasizing the process through which products are created has increased in recent years. As a company that is engaged in the manufacturing industry, Murata believes that undertaking climate change measures such as reducing CO2 emissions is extremely important when viewed in terms of both social value and economic value. In addition, the company has focused its efforts on establishing clear targets and formulating concrete realization plans such as joining the international environmental initiative ‘RE100’ in 2020 and earning an SBT certification for greenhouse gas reduction targets through ‘SBTi’ (Science Based Targets initiative) in 2022.”
Katsuma: “Undertaking climate change measures leads to improvements in corporate competitiveness and trust. Furthermore, based on the company's standing in the industry, I also feel that it is important that Murata is showing that it is actively taking the initiative to implement such measures. In 2018, Murata joined JCLP (Japan Climate Leaders’ Partnership) and is engaged in activities that go beyond the scope of the company such as making proposals to the government aimed at the realization of a decarbonized society. We are conducting business with a conscious intention to improve all of society by emphasizing the importance of climate change measures inside and outside of the company.”
Fujiwara: “Murata's goal is to become the best choice for customers by undertaking climate change measures in anticipation of expanding choices for energy procurement methods in each area. At the same time, we believe that Murata's mission is also to contribute to the environment, society, and cultural development as stated in our philosophy and ‘Innovator in Electronics’ corporate slogan.”
Katsuma: “As we continue to advance energy creation and energy conservation at our plants, many things are required such as the installation and addition of new, advanced equipment. The Environment department communicates the company-wide policies regarding climate change measures from a corporate perspective to the Environment departments at more than 50 sites around the world and coordinates with them while striving to reduce our environmental load.”
2. Utilization of Murata technologies and solutions in climate change measures
Currently, as many companies engaged in the manufacturing industry are exploring ways of implementing climate change measures, the visualization of the energy used by each piece of plant equipment and process is also attracting attention. The introduction of Energy Management Systems (EMS) is important within the visualization of energy consumption as well as controlling the amount used, so Murata adopted a system that utilizes its own technologies in this area.
Fujiwara: “We are introducing a newly constructed EMS that combines Murata's sensing and IoT technologies in several plants. The system senses the current, temperature and humidity, vibrations, etc. through a wireless sensor network system installed in the plant and shares that data with the plant, head office, and the cloud to optimize energy usage. For example, it achieves energy-saving operation by monitoring the temperature and humidity as well as the degree of cleanliness to control the air conditioning in each area.”
Katsuma: “In the plants where the EMS has been introduced, some have produced results such as a 50% reduction in the amount of electricity used by air conditioning and an 8.6% reduction due to the annual energy-saving effect for the entire plant. Currently, we are at the stage of collecting the data gathered at the plants and considering how it can be utilized and horizontally deployed to other plants.”
Moreover, Murata is also incorporating its own methods within the use of renewable energy utilizing the solar power generation systems that many companies are working on.
Katsuma: “Because many employees at Murata's plants commute by car, most plants have a large parking lot. Accordingly, we are promoting the introduction of carport-type solar power generation systems. At Okayama Murata Manufacturing, we installed carport-type solar power generation equipment for 1,200 cars in a parking lot next to the plant in 2020. In 2021, equipment was installed for an additional 500 cars to reach a total generation capacity to 3.7 MW, which was the largest-scale parking lot-type of mega solar project in Japan at the time. Currently, we are helping to reduce local CO2 emissions by approximately 2,400 tons annually by selling the generated electricity using the FIT system, but we are considering switching to captive consumption in the future. In addition to the current carport-type of solar power, we have become able to effectively use renewable energy by combining storage batteries and control systems that utilize Murata technologies.”
Fujiwara: “Solar panels are being deployed globally, and we are also installing them at our plants in China, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, etc. At the Philippines plant, we installed solar power generating equipment with a power generating capacity of approximately 3 MW in 2021 and expect to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 2,900 tons per year. In addition, we are also using geothermal power generation and other forms of renewable energy, and it is the first overseas production site to achieve 100% renewable energy.”
The use of 100% renewable energy is attracting attention as a major goal of climate change measures. Because the renewable energy power generating equipment within the business sites ultimately cannot cover the volume of power consumed by Murata, to achieve this goal we are advancing initiatives aimed at expanding the use of renewable energy across the entire group, including investments in external renewable energy businesses, exploring ways of procuring renewable energy power, etc.
In Part 2, we introduce the internal company systems for advancing climate change measures throughout the company and for promoting the switch to renewable energy.
- Murata and the Environment
- Murata participation in Global Environmental Initiative RE100- Aiming for 100% renewable energy use by 2050 -
- Murata Acquires SBT Certification for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets
- Murata Promotes Climate Change Measures – Kanazu Murata Manufacturing, The Road to a 100% Renewable Energy Plant (Part 2) –
- Murata Promotes Climate Change Measures – Kanazu Murata Manufacturing, The Road to a 100% Renewable Energy Plant (Part 1) –
- Murata Promotes Climate Change Measures – Group-wide Initiatives (Part 2) –