Corporate

Sony Eco-Innovation

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The “Sonyverse” as I describe it touches so much in the electronic, film and tech world. But what you might find surprising is just how green a corporation Sony truly is.

For over 50 years, Sony has been developing cutting edge products and services that enrich and bring excitement to consumers around the world. As committed to innovation as Sony is, they are also committed to building a sustainable future. Sony’s goal is to create a cradle-to-cradle product life cycle.

By using recycled materials in production, building products that are energy efficient, and being a herald of product recycling, Sony recognizes the importance of showing consideration for our environment.

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To achieve this, Sony has what it defines as Eco-Pillars. The three Eco-Pillars their environmental commitment is built on are as follows:

  1. Products: Energy efficiency is the key element to Sony’s product line with eco-innovative features found in our products from televisions all the way to our mobile phones.
  2. Process: How we make products is just as important as the products themselves. Sony is a strong participant in the EPEAT program™ and RoHS. We even use recycled material in both our packaging and printed marketing communications.
  3. People: We are making it easier than ever for people to recycle their electronic devices with national initiatives such as the Rechargeable battery recycling program, Take Back Recycling program, and GreenFill.

Technological advancement is important to consumers. Newer technology at cheaper prices, that provides more functionality is a major consideration of the dollar conscious shopper. Consumers also challenge companies to be more aware of  how corporations affect the environment they live in. They want businesses to take an active role in reducing the impact that have on the environment as they continue to drive product research and development. Sony is doing it’s best accept this challenge, not only by being eco-friendly, but by setting the corporate example.

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By being aggressive to lower energy consumption of it’s products, reducing energy use and waste in daily operations and being holding themselves accountable to protecting the environment, Sony take’s it’s position on being green very seriously. Sony Electronics headquarters in San Diego, CA is LEED certified, which is a recognized standard for measuring the building sustainability of high performing “green” buildings. The headquarters features solar panels, has achieved a 48% reduction in typical water usage, and has a Green Housekeeping program.

Here are a few of the Sony’s Green Milestones:

1992
Sony is the first consumer electronics company to use post-consumer plastics in mass production of products. We are currently using in excess of 2 million pounds of post-consumer plastics a year.

1993
Sony is the first company to operate a product-refurbishing center.

1999
Sony becomes a charter member of the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program for energy-efficient consumer electronics and wins Home Electronics Partner of the Year award.

2002
Sony establishes the Green Partner Environmental Quality Approval Program that eliminates harmful chemical substances from raw materials and components worldwide.

2008
Sony launches partnership with Waste Management, Inc for electronics recycling events and national collection depots throughout the US. As of December 2008, Sony has collected over 6,500 tons of consumer electronics through dedicated consumer collection events.

Creating cutting edge products, doesn’t mean they have to be cutting edge when it comes to energy consumption. For example the Bravia VE5 Series exceeds  ENERGY STAR® 3.0 requirements by at least 50%, the majority of VAIO computer models are ENERGY STAR® 5.0 compliant and have received either EPEAT Gold or Silver rankings, and as of 2008 Sony Blu-ray disc players have achieved 21% less power consumption in playback mode and 43% reduced power consumption in standby mode.

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Sony has a clearly defined process that outlines how they are able to determine if they initiatives to be green are meeting with success. They focus on three separate and distinct areas as I will outline below.

Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a system that helps consumers select products based upon their impact on the environment.  Sony is a committed partner of this program with over 254 EPEAT registered products.

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is an important compliancy. The RoHS directive restricts the amount of certain materials such as lead and mercury used in electronic products All Sony VAIO computers have PVC-free exterior product casings and packaging.

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Established in 2002 to encourage suppliers to produce components with minimal environmental impact, the Sony Green Partner certification, referred to as “upstream management,” is accomplished through complete traceability of all steps in the manufacturing process, from raw material procurement to finished goods delivery.

Sony has also set a goal to maintain product safety in shipping, yet at the same reduce the overall size of packaging. 80% – 90% post-consumer recycled content is used in packaging for products produced in Japan or China and 30% post-consumer recycled content packaging is used in packaging produced in San Diego, CA. We also use non-VOC vegetable oil-based ink in all Japanese made units. On the inside of the box, all Sony-created documentation uses 85% post-consumer recycled content.

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An an industry leading move, Sony started the first ever national recycling program entitled the “Take Bake Recycling Program”. At no charge, consumers are allowed to recycle electronic products as well as packaging at over 270 drop off centers cross the US. Since 2007, over 17 million pounds of electronics have been collected. To find a drop off center in your area, click here. To go along with the Take Bake program, Sony also started the Green Fill recycling service. It’s the first in store style drop box solution. If your looking to recycle cameras, alarm clocks, navigation systems, or any other smaller electronics, this is the the location for you. Look for the kiosk above at your local electronic store.

And if you have Sony batteries, drop them in a box at any Sony Style store and they will do the rest.

The commitment to go green is a directive that comes from the top and is here to stay. At CES 2009, CEO Sir Howard Stringer spoke about seven imperatives for creating the ultimate user experience. At the end of the speech, Sir Howard’s concluded with his 7th imperative, his commitment to go green.

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In this article I only scratched the surface of everything Sony is doing to be green. To find out more head over to www.sony.com/green.

So the next time you think of Sony, along with thinking of things like the PS3, Blu-ray or 3D TV, hopefully you will think of Eco-Innovation as well.

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