In 2007, Toshiba Corporation established its Environmental Vision 2050, which is the company’s long-term commitment to contribute to a better environment by recognizing and responding to environmental issues. Part of this initiative involves improving the value and eco-efficiency of its products and business processes and to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by the equivalent of 57.6 million tons per year in FY2025 compared with FY2000, while concurrently working to enhance its environmental efficiency.
Toshiba is one of the largest lighting companies and LED lamp manufacturers in the world. The first product Toshiba ever produced was an incandescent light bulb in 1890, and since then the company has been a leader in lighting fixtures and lamps in Japan. In addition to lighting systems, Toshiba also produces industrial, power systems, and transmission and distribution systems.
In 2010, Toshiba abandoned production of incandescent lamps and in 2011 Toshiba’s LED lamps earned the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star® label. Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by EPA. Last year alone, with the help of Energy Star, Americans saved approximately $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.
Toshiba’s LED lighting products use up to 75% less energy and can last up to 40 times longer than incandescents, which reduces landfill waste. Plus our LED lights don’t contain lead or mercury, are manufactured using recycled/recyclable materials and use up to 80% less energy compared to incandescents.
However with a sustainability score of 4 out of 19 from Rankabrand, Toshiba is a company that talks a good line but does not follow through. With a grade of D they are well behind brands like Philips and Nokia.
According to a 2012 press release from Toshiba, they proclaimed October 23 “National No-Print Day.” Their goal was to raise awareness ‘of the impact printing has on our planet’ and of ‘the role of paper in the workplace,’ Toshiba America Business Solutions asked people and companies not to print or copy anything on that day. The campaign was announced at the Sustainable Brands Conference ’12 in San Diego. A
the initiative was a nationwide campaign to encourage individuals and companies to commit to one day of no printing.
‘We know that approximately 336,000,000 sheets of paper are wasted daily — that’s more than 40,000 trees discarded every day in America,’ Bill Melo, a Toshiba America vice president, said.’
The company is promoting the campaign with a series of web videos featuring Tree, an ‘affable spokescharacter’ and alleged Toshiba employee. Viewers are asked to sign a pledge to give Tree “and his leafy colleagues” the day off.
The first video shows a tree marking Oct. 23 on a paper calendar, but the real issue is that while making questionable claims about how to be more environmentally friendly, they failed to acknowledge their own questionable environmental record.
Shortly after making the announcement, Toshiba was forced to scrap its National No Print Day campaign.
Google had a similar problem in 2012 when its anti-paper campaign came under attack. The search giant’s campaign titled ‘Go Paperless in 2013’ was swiftly attacked by Two Sides, which took issue with Google’s data-centre energy usage which accounts for about 2% of the US annual electricity consumption.
Toshiba rescinded its no paper day campaign and Google made some major modification including changes to their main tagline which now reads, “Take the paper out of paperwork” rather than “Save money. Save time. Save trees”.
In 2013, Toshiba is still trying to associate its brand with Earth Day. An April Toshiba ad reads:
TOSHIBA LED LIGHTING – Earth Day
“Every little bit helps, and as advocates for LED lighting we are doing our part…. Did you know using one Toshiba Par30 lamp can replace the use of up to 25 halogens? Toshiba is committed to sustainability and has reduced printing in 2013 by consolidating marketing materials where possible, and migrating to an electronic versus paper library. Please join us in celebrating Earth Day Today April 22.”
To make green claims while being less than sustainable is simply bad marketing. The costs of such a campaign far outweigh the benefits. By doing it halfway right, they get it all the way wrong.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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