Blue-sky
thinking

 
Takeo Fukui
describes how his company seeks its customers’ respect through an aggressive programme of developing green technology

Global environmental problems – such as the greenhouse effect, the depletion of natural resources and the accumulation of wastes – have been recognized as common international issues affecting humanity since the 1990s. Sustainable development on a global scale is now sought, for instance, with the establishment of the targets for greenhouse gas reduction in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and with the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable Development at the 2002 Johannesburg Summit.

Honda launched the slogan ‘Blue Sky for Children’ in the 1960s when environmental pollution became a highly visible issue. During that decade we started an aggressive approach aimed at substantial environmental improvement, and unveiled the Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion (CVCC) engine – which used unique low-emission technology – in the United States and Japan. Since then, we have developed the Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electric Control System (VTEC) and the i-VTEC series with innovative engine technology, permitting global production of vehicles that combine high performance with state-of-the-art low-emission technologies. And we continued to work to preserve the global environment by releasing a hybrid vehicle, the Insight, which achieved the most efficient fuel consumption in the world at the time of its introduction in 1998.

Sharing advances
This kind of effort is not limited to our cars. We have expanded it to all our products. We have converted two-stroke engines to four-strokes in motorcycle production for mass sale, and applied fuel injection systems to small motorcycles. We have, moreover, continuously adopted four-stroke engines in multipurpose engine products throughout our product line substantially ahead of the schedule required by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s exhaust emission regulations. These proactive initiatives have resulted in Honda sharing the technological advances of its motorcycles, vehicles and multipurpose engine products with over 15 million people all over the world.

Honda has obtained the first US Government certification for a fuel cell car, the ‘FCX’

Achieving energy savings
We have aggressively implemented our corporate approach by developing and adopting environmental management systems. Among these is a unique Life Cycle Assessment system, which we have developed as a tool for conducting a qualitative assessment of environmental loads in all active areas, allowing the introduction of effective countermeasures to reduce them. This system enabled us, for example, to achieve energy savings and cost reductions by identifying high energy consumption, and taking appropriate action at an early stage in product development. We are utilizing a similarly proactive approach in all corporate activities, including purchasing, logistics and sales.

Environmental enterprise
Honda is fully committed to being a company that our customers from all over the world can look up to as we approach the year 2010. To this end, we have enhanced our environmental conservation activities, working to become a leading environmental enterprise. This has resulted in the significant achievement of obtaining the first US Government certification for a fuel cell car, the ‘FCX’, enabling us to deliver a certified FCX to both the Los Angeles City Government and the Japanese Government in 2002 for commercial use. More recently, the City of San Francisco and a Japanese hydrogen production company have joined our customer base.

In conclusion, we would like to further our commitment to the environment throughout our corporate activities and continue to provide our customers with product satisfaction


Takeo Fukui is President and CEO of the Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

PHOTOGRAPH: Honda


This issue:
Contents | Editorial | Key to development | The energy challenge | Plant power | Bioenergy: doing well while doing right | New energy for development | People | Delivering Change | Benign growth | Green energy | At a glance: Energy | Sustainable Dreams | Brightening the future | Greening oil | Blue-sky thinking | Books & products | New energy to assault poverty | New energy entrepreneurs | Time to get serious | Breaking the ice | In my lifetime – 100% renewable| Slimming the waste

Complementary issues:
WSSD, 2002
Energy, 2001
Disasters, 2001
Transport and Comunications, 2001
Climate and Action, 1998
Climate Change, 1997


AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment:
Natural Resources
Air Pollution
Climate Change