What is significant about the new Scope 3 Standard issued in October 2011?
Baba The Scope 3 Standard issued in October 2011 defines 15 categories of emissions. These include, for instance, emissions from the manufacture of raw materials and parts, emissions from the use of products by customers, and emissions from the disposal of products.
Ijima In other words, emissions from offices, plants, research facilities, and other assets owned by Honda are calculated in scope 1 and 2, but those aren't the only emissions associated with Honda's business activities. For example, Honda purchases automotive parts from suppliers outside the company. GHGs emitted by their factories when building those parts can be thought of happening as a result of Honda products. Emissions also occur when customers use Honda products and eventually dispose of them. Those emissions are also as a result of Honda products. This goes to show that companies need to reduce emissions across their value chains, which include upstream and downstream business activities. That's why scope 3 was created.
Masui Reducing global GHG emissions would be very difficult if companies only attended to their own activities in scope 1 and scope 2. Scope 3 takes the position that companies should try to reduce emissions on a much broader scale.
Shina Of all the categories in scope 3, Honda is most focused on category 11. Taking up the largest piece of the pie means it has the largest impact on the global environment.
Ijima Of course different companies focus on difference areas of their operations. Scope 1 is probably the largest piece for transportation companies, which have lots of vehicles emitting GHGs. And scope 2 is probably the largest component for financial companies, which use electricity in their offices. Companies need to figure out which part of their operations requires the most attention and then develop their own policies and strategies for addressing those emissions. For Honda, the use of products by customers is the largest source of emissions, so we see reducing emissions in this area as our highest priority.
What approach has Honda taken to reducing GHG emissions up till now?
Ijima For a long while Honda has been tackling environmental challenges with the goal of reducing environmental impacts across product life cycles. In 1992 it expressed its philosophy clearly in the Honda Environment Statement and since then the document has been used at Honda as a code of conduct. Inside the company we call our philosophy "absolutist." What we mean is that we are not so much concerned about the standards set by laws and society in general. Instead we work on environmental challenges based on our own beliefs, always staying ahead of laws and society.
Masui In the environmental debate, one argument says that we should forgo a higher standard of living in order to protect the environment, but we at Honda don't think that is necessarily true. Our belief is that only by achieving both environmental conservation and economic growth can we realize a sustainable society. That should be our goal. The Honda Environmental Vision, to "realize the joy and freedom of mobility and a sustainable society where people can enjoy life," which was announced in 2010, conveys that kind of thinking. Ultimately, Honda's environmental vision is to offer personal mobility products that have zero environmental impact across their life cycles, and by doing so, bring the joy and freedom of mobility to the world while also protecting the environment.
How has the creation of scope 3 influenced Honda's environmental initiatives?
Baba The Scope 3 Standard issued by the GHG Protocol is in perfect harmony with the way Honda has tackled environmental issues until now, in the sense that it makes value chain emissions the issue.
Kimura Our associates were already measuring and managing environmental impacts across product life cycles and devising and implementing strategies to reduce those impacts even before scope 3 came out. From our perspective as the Environment & Safety Planning Office, in a way we feel like we have placed a heavy burden on our associates by getting them to reduce emissions. But thanks to scope 3, we can now display their efforts to the public as something that satisfies the global standard. We think that's a good thing.
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