INDIACSR News Network
Nissan Motor Comapny announced our new six-year environmental action plan, Nissan Green Program (NGP2016) on Oct. 24, 2011, Yokohama in Japan, where company has headquartered. Rising population and developing economies mainly in emerging markets arouse concerns about energy, resource supply, price hike, and environmental impact rise.
NGP2016 focuses on reducing environmental impact of corporate activities and pursuing harmony between resource consumption and ecology by promoting and widening the application of green technologies that were developed in NGP2010, previous environmental action plan, and contributing to recycling-based society.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn speaks with the Global Media Center about the company’s new mid-term environmental plan, promoting zero-emission vehicles and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
He said, Nissan Green Program 2016 is the company’s third environmental mid-term plan and it calls for the company to become the world’s number one seller of zero-emission vehicles, selling 1.5 million such vehicles.
Q. The Nissan Green Program 2016 takes earlier eco-measures further. Can you tell us specifically how so?
A. There are a lot of measures announced in this plan. The first, which is totally new compared to everything that we have done so far, is our intention, our ambition, to become the leading company in terms of zero-emission mobility. We put it into a common objective along the lines of, by 2016, 1.5 million cars will be on the planet, zero-emission (vehicles) produced and sold by Nissan and Renault, putting us, by far, in leadership in zero-emission mobility.
Then, there is an effort which continues from the previous plan, like we took as an objective, the reduction of CO2 emissions, compared to 2005. Why 2005? Because that was the previous plan. This is not only including what we are doing in terms of zero-emission (technology), but also with Pure Drive, with continuous improvement with a lot of technologies encompassing diesel, gasoline engine, flex-fuel for Brazil, etc. So the most important point this plan has, part of which is accelerated kaizen (continuous improvement), measures of the past that will be continued and the breakthrough, which is zero-emission.
On top of the fact that it’s not only about product, it’s also about processes. It’s about manufacturing, it’s about facilities, because what we want really is making sure that the company in every single facet of its activities embraces the ambition to be environmentally-friendly.
Q. Staying with the product and the infrastructure for that product, specifically for EVs or zero-emission vehicles, where do you see the horizon about 2016?
A. I think that between now and 2016, a lot of things are going to change in our environment, a lot of things are (to be) changed. Whenever we look at statistics about consumption of energy, emission of CO2, evolution of regulations, we know that technology is going to change, it’s going to have to be put at the service of whatever regulations and ambitions countries will have, in terms of protection of the environment.
Frankly, I don’t know how we can reach our objectives without some breakthrough technology. We’re not only talking about electric cars, we are talking about fuel cells, as you know we are working very hard on fuel cells. But again, we don’t want to give the impression that we are limiting ourselves to this breakthrough technology, we want to continue to work on all the other classical technologies that we have where we can really make a difference.
Q. This plan also deals with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and makes it a cornerstone of Nissan Green Program (NGP) 2016. There has been CSR policy in the past, what is different about this approach?
A. Corporate social responsibility is becoming more and more important. I mean it has always been important in our eyes because let’s not forget that the basic value of Nissan is enriching peoples’ lives. When you enrich peoples’ lives, it’s not only about market capitalization and profit, it’s also about making the quality of life better in the society where you operate, and even in remote societies.
So even though it has always been a goal for us, I think in the environment which we are living in today corporate social responsibility is becoming a very important aspect of the way that you are looking at the company. When I say you, not the employee, but also our environment, and you are looking at the brand.
We are one of the 50 major companies in the world, and we are one of the most important 100 brands. In a certain way, we want to continue to progress, we want to become more important in terms of size, we want to become more respected as a brand, more attractive as a brand. For this, it’s not only about economic performance, it’s very important because results, economic performance, don’t count on it, but it’s also about making ourselves liked by what we are doing to our society. We talk about the environment, but we also have a lot of objectives in terms of education and we also have a lot of goals in terms of contributing in charity work, particularly when charity is needed.
Q. Coming back to the NGP 2016, a company can make a pledge like this, but without government assistance or infrastructure, measures can run into hard times. Looking at countries like China, what does Nissan need to see greater advancement of EV or zero-emission technology?
A. In this matter, I think there’s always a co-operation between a company and government, always. No matter where we are, we always need to cooperate with governments in order to make something substantial. We need to cooperate with governments for electric cars, practically in all the initiatives we are doing incorporate social responsibility.
We are working at the level of the state, or at the level of the city, or at the level of the community. It’s always a public-private co-operation. So, we can’t just say “It’s up to the government to do that,” but at the same time, we need some opening, we need some possibility of cooperation.
In China, I think our co-operation with the Chinese government, with the states in China, with the cities in China, is very good. That’s one of the reasons why we are so successful in China. We are growing in China because we found the way to work hand-in-hand with the government, not only in order to develop our business, but also to make Nissan a brand which is liked, which is Chinese in China, which is part of the Chinese brand, and contributing to the development of China.
So we need the governments, it’s up to us to convince and to advocate what are the initiatives that the government should take in order to make our lives easier and our progress easier. But again, you can’t command here, you are just going to have to persuade. In China, in Europe, in Thailand, in Brazil — everywhere we need to make our pitch, we need to open up horizons, we need to make proposals and always bet on the fact that, at the end of the day, common sense prevails.