Honda’s Commitment: Development of Society in Harmony with the Environment Essay

Honda’s Commitment:

Development of Society in Harmony with the Environment

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     Honda Environment Statement (1992)

“As a responsible member of society whose task lies in the preservation of the global environment, company will make every effort to contribute to human health and the preservation of the global environment in each phase of its corporate activity.  Only in this way will we be able to count on a successful future not only for our company, but for the entire world”.

Honda is America’s Greenest Automaker for 2007.  This is the fourth consecutive time that the title was awarded to Honda by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  The award is given to the company with the lowest production of global warming and smog-forming emissions (“Honda named,” 2007). As a green company, Honda is not solely concerned with earning money but is likewise championing the move to save the environment.  Honda is just one of the companies who are promoting environmental innovations and sustainable development.  The number of environment-conscious companies has increased through the years and we still see companies who are very willing to join in the bandwagon.  It is a bandwagon alright because “Green is in”.   This bandwagon however, does not have any negative implications.  Joining in the cause to save the environment is always beneficial to everyone. It may not be superficially apparent for big companies, but the limitations or restrictions in the manufacturing or maintenance processes for the sake of the environment would prove to be an advantage in the long run.  It is an opportunity for growth and not a hindrance.  The green strategies, most of which use renewable energy or resource would not only result to a long-term decrease in costs but would also increase revenues, attract customer loyalty and strengthen brand recognition.  I say attract customer loyalty because majority of the people are environment conscious.  Customers from this group will applaud the company for its efforts, thus resulting to a continued patronage of the products and services of the company.

Why did companies, all of a sudden become concerned with the environment?  Some people call it a trend because one company may have used green strategies and have succeeded, so eventually other companies aiming for the same success would follow suit.  Another reason could be a sincere concern and less apathy in the leadership of the company.  More and more corporate top executives are now looking into environmental reports highlighting the problems caused by different manufacturing procedures of companies.  The involvement of a company’s leadership in the issues or problems plaguing the environment is translated to policies and strategies adopted by the company aiming to advance environmental growth and development.  The most crucial cause why there is a sudden and massive concern for the environment is the clear and present environmental problems we experience everyday.

Honda’s concern for the environment cannot be attributed to the bandwagon because they have already established and announced an environment statement since June of 1992.  This just shows that Honda has been a strong green company for over a decade now.  Included in the statement are principles laid out to guide employees in their daily business activities.  Policies consist of recycling of materials and conserving resources and energy, proper disposal of waste and contaminants, and social responsibility by helping safeguard human health and the global environment (Honda Environment Statement, 1992).

Fortune Magazine came up with a list of the Ten Green Giants.   These green companies initiated campaigns, introduced innovations and revised policies beyond what the environmental law required them to do.  Honda is at the top.  According to Alex Taylor III, Honda is “the most fuel-efficient auto company in the U.S…  Honda is focusing on two alternative fuel technologies, the natural gas powered Civic GX and the hydrogen fuel cell FCX” (2007).

The Civic GX runs entirely on natural gas and is pollution-free.  Staying true to their goal of responsibly developing technologies for cleaner and more efficient forms of transportation, the Civic GX embodies Honda’s environmental priorities of achieving high fuel economy, low emissions and use of alternative fuel (“Natural Gas,” n.d.).  The FCX fuel cell vehicle is Honda’s response to the clamor for reduction of oil usage. It is run by electricity created by a hydrogen-oxygen chemical reaction.  The FCX fuel cell vehicle only releases water vapor into air sans the damaging emissions.
Honda aims to be the world’s cleanest and most efficient manufacturer. It is set to reduce CO2 emissions from its factories and its vehicles by 5 percent between 2005 and 2010.  This is on top of the attained 5 percent reduction between 2000 and 2005.  It also has active countermeasures for global environmental problems.  To address the problem of Global Warming, Resource Depletion and Air Pollution, Honda promotes higher fuel efficiency and cleaner exhaust gas through the introduction of “i-series engines”.  These engines achieve high fuel economy and great power.  “Exhaust gases from the engines are fifty percent or less than the 2000 exhaust gas emission standards.  These engines have greatly contributed to the provision of products that are excellent in handling, fuel economy, and safety” (“Global Environmental,” n.d.). Energy is likewise saved through the introduction of natural gas cogeneration systems.

To counter the effect of Ozone Depletion, CFC-12 from automotive air conditioners are collected and destroyed.  Honda is also implementing the Zero Landfill Waste to counter the waste problem (“Global Environmental,” n.d.). Another proof that Honda is committed to the respect and protection of the environment, it has recently opened its third Environmental Learning Center.  The center is primarily a community resource that advances responsible land usage by a thorough understanding of the varied regional ecology.  The center also provides nature walk paths for children and hands-on discussions about nature to youth organizations.  Aside from the presence and assistance of an environmental coordinator, the center also provides Honda environmental education activity booklets to visitors.  Honda’s responsibility to the environment is not just limited to the development of safe and environmentally friendly products but also extends to the promotion of respect and concern for the natural world (“Honda Opens,” 2007).

It is also important to note the efforts of other companies in their quest to protect the environment.   These companies’ products and services have done the most to help cut carbon emissions.  First on the list is Toyota’s environmental innovation for automotive synergy.  The Toyota Prius with its hybrid technology gets an average of 55 miles to the gallon and emits 55% less carbon dioxide than a normal midsize car.  Intel is another company committed to cutting down carbon emissions by creating an Instantly Available PC Technology (IAPC).  Since a typical desktop computer on standby still uses up power, “the IAPC reduces a PC’s power consumption in sleep mode to less than 5 watts, resulting in 71% less power consumption over a year.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if every PC had IAPC, the U.S. would save over 75 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions in a span of a decade” (“Green Technology”, 2005).   .
Business Weekly also came up with a list of the Top Companies of the Decade.   The ranking was based on total reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs), company revenues, and management’s leadership on environmental issues over the past ten years.  The top spot went to Dupont with reduced energy consumption of 7% below 1990 levels.  It saved more than $2 billion by using renewable sources (“Top Companies,” 2005).  The list included companies like Bayer, IBM and 3M.  The list goes on.  Honda is not alone.  In showing responsibility and initiative, instead of just plain accountability, the Green Companies are not just serving the people by saving the environment but they are at the same time driving their companies to greater success.  These companies are not merely leaders in technology development but they are likewise leaders in the advancement of social welfare relative to comfortable and healthy living in the natural world.
We also need to do our share to encourage more companies to adopt green policies.  The easiest way to achieve this is through patronage of the products and services of green companies so others may follow suit.  If companies observe that market trends show an increase in the consumption of their products as the company adopts more green policies, then they will be driven to continue their environmental advocacies.  They will see that the adoption of green strategies not only results to long term reduction of costs but also results to a more positive and socially aware corporate image.  Our voices are also our strength so let us be heard.  Let us be active in the campaign to save our environment and promote its growth.

References

Alex Taylor III (2007, Apr 3).  Honda.  Retrieved May 8, 2007 from Ten Green Giants, Fortune

           Magazine:

           http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/fortune/0703/gallery.green_giants.fortune/

Green Technology Innovators (2005, Dec 12).  Retrieved May 8, 2007 from Business Weekly

            Online Extra, Slide Show:

            http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/05_50/B39630550carbon.htm

Top Companies of the Decade (2005, Dec 12).  Retrieved May 8, 2007 from Business Weekly

            Online Extra: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/05_50/B39630550carbon.htm

Esty, D. and Winston, A. (2006).  Green to Gold:  How Smart Companies Use Environmental

Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage.  Yale University

Press.

Honda Environment Statement (1992).  Retrieved May 8, 2007 from

http://world.honda.com/environment/environmental-policy/statement/index.html

Honda named “Greenest Automaker” by Union of Concerned Scientists (2007, Apr 3).

Retrieved May 8, 2007 from the Press and Media Center Section of the Honda website:

http://corporate.honda.com/press/article.aspx?id=200704033945

Honda Opens Unique “Environmental Learning Center” in Irving, Texas (2007, May 2).

Retrieved May 8, 2007 from the Press and Media Center Section of the Honda website:

http://corporate.honda.com/press/article.aspx?id=200705023975

Natural Gas (n.d.).  Retrieved May 8, 2007 from the Environmental Leadership Section of the

Honda Website:  http://corporate.honda.com/environment/efficiency.aspx

Global Environmental Problems and Countermeasures (n.d.).  Retrieved May 8, 2007 from The

Automobile Industry and Environmental Problems, Environmental Policy Section of the

Honda Website:  http://world.honda.com/environment/environmental-policy/industry-

problem/index.html