Sustainable electronics are typically electronic products made without the use of toxic chemicals and are composed of recyclable parts with reduced carbon emissions during production. However, many electronic factories, such as Murata Manufacturing, view sustainable electronics as a new and emerging business concept and practice. Because of that, companies are often left to their own devices on how to approach sustainability through their design, production, and distribution.
Over the past decade, electronic products have grown and advanced substantially. This remarkable advancement has contributed to the shift and speed at which people can communicate and consume various media and entertainment. This growth has also affected how people and manufacturers alike behave around electronics. Recently, more and more people and companies have been donating used electronics to reuse and extend the lives of valuable products. There are also efforts the focus on being able to recycle electronics to keep functional components from directly going to the waste stream, among others.
Sustainable Electronics and Green Engineering
Over time, the digital age has changed how various companies behave regarding the electronic waste they contribute. Many manufacturers now operate with the ideology of having sustainable ICTs that protect and enhance human health and well-being do not disrupt or harm the environment, and minimize the adverse impacts of excessive waste by electronics, other devices, infrastructure, and services.
Efforts to move toward the ideology stated above have brought natural biocomposite-based electronics to be introduced to the mainstream market and electronics industry. These carefully customized components would remove the need for corrosive acids, which are most often used in the industry and is also a prime contributor to the waste the electronics industry is notorious for. These chemicals are as widespread as cheap in less advanced and currently developing countries and societies.
Green engineering uses sustainable materials and methods for manufacturing products that can be used for long periods and can be taken apart for recycling and reusing to foster a much healthier mindset and behavior about building and using technology and electronics. In addition, green engineering is a practice that works to find solutions to the waste and hazardous materials frequently used by the electronics industry and actively combat the adverse effect of the careless production of various electronic paraphernalia.
Various governments across the globe also want to motivate companies and developers to have green engineering in mind when they produce their electronics. These government entities want green engineering to become the norm as technology moves forward. The development of green engineering across communities and the globe will promote a more sustainable way of life as humans continue relying on technology to improve their daily lives.
Murata Manufacturing: Innovation Through Sustainable Electronic Products
Murata manufactures various electronics and electronic components that people use daily, such as smartphones and appliances. Murata operates under the company’s slogan, “Innovation in electronics.” This is why Murata Manufacturing continues to strive as a leader in innovation for the electronics industry. With the company’s guiding principle, Murata Manufacturing continues to uphold its reputation as a global brand by continuously and consistently supplying advanced, quality electronic components.
Murata’s capacitors, inductors, coils, and other electronic components are used in producing and completing numerous electronics and appliances worldwide. Be that as it may, the company’s impact has decreased due to the decision to focus on expanding the core business. However, Murata understands that to continue providing quality products to the market, the company has to expand and enhance various operations to resolve social issues better and create higher customer value.
The graphic below captures a rotating cycle of core values – Murata provides the essentials, Murata enables the future, and Murata evolves through innovation – through a partnership with stakeholders at the core. The company aims to contribute to the enrichment of society by producing a continual cycle of social and economic value creation.
Murata has been focusing on creating a continuous cycle of social and economic value to achieve greater heights. This plan established nine materialities or critical issues in the environment, society, and governance (ESG). Upon determining the materialities above, the company clarified its intent to resolve these issues through various corporate endeavours, including its group companies and supply chain. This is what Murata Power Supplies genuinely mean by “solving issues through a collaborative partnership with stakeholders.”
Of these, Murata set three focus areas about the environment: strengthening climate change measures, using sustainable resources, preventing pollution, and managing chemical substances. The company is committed to taking responsibility because of energy consumption and mineral and other resources used in manufacturing.
Murata Manufacturing: Switching to Sustainable Resources
The depletion of resources, the increase in waste, and other social problems are becoming more severe with the global rise in population. Therefore, Murata established its vision and targets for 2050 to aim for sustainable growth by working to help solve these problems.
Murata aims to reduce its total emissions parallel to the company’s continued usage of more sustainable resources. Therefore, Murata is also working towards decreasing waste liquids to achieve its goal. An example is the Toyama Murata Manufacturing Company, a production subsidiary of Murata, that established a plant capable of treating alkali waste liquid in-house rather than outsourcing the treatment procedure.
Furthermore, Murata has been working to reduce the overall water usage of the company when it comes to manufacturing its various products. Presently, Murata is rated A- by the CDP Water, courtesy of the CDP’s international environmental non-profit group.
Murata is promoting many of these efforts at the company’s headquarters and with group companies worldwide in a continuous attempt to make a significant impact.
Murata Manufacturing: Efforts Against Climate Change
Even before the exponential advancement of electronics and technology, climate change has been a glaring issue that many companies and governments perpetually combat. However, Murata Manufacturing has long been proactive in focusing on saving energy and creating sustainable resources. For example, in the company’s 2018 fiscal year, Murata was able to close track and identify an increase in the company’s greenhouse gas emissions due to the expansion and growth in the production of electronic components.
Accordingly, Murata is actively working on expanding the use of renewable energy along with energy-saving initiatives. In FY2020, the company was the first in the industry to join RE100, an international initiative aiming to ensure the power used in business activities comes 100% from renewable energy sources by FY2050. Moreover, target setting, such as a 46% reduction in GHG emissions by FY2030, earned an SBT certification from the SBTi international initiative. In addition, Murata has worked on innovation and aggressive capital investment in line with that goal. For example, it reduced the power burden in the sintering of multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC), one of its core products. Additionally, the company installed solar panels in at least 15 sites in its group.
As a result of the company’s efforts, the greenhouse gas emissions that peaked in 2018 began to fall. By 2020, Murata could cut greenhouse gas emissions to an equivalent of 174,000 tons compared to that company’s previous years. Because of this outstanding result, the company aims to reduce emissions by 48% by FY2030. Murata is also planning to achieve a renewable energy usage rate of 50% by FY2030 and 100% by FY2050, which is in line with the target of RE100.