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ATL and Panasonic look to green technology

JAMAICA’S most renowned electrical goods retailer, Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) has deepened its partnership with one of the giants of appliances, Panasonic Corporation of Japan and will now introduce Jamaica to a number of environmentally-friendly products. ATL’s relationship with Panasonic goes back over 35 years with the company being formed by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart in 1968. Panasonic has garnered a reputation in Jamaica for its reliable and state-of-the art air conditioning units.

Speaking at a special presentation entitled “A World of Opportunities” held at the Terra Nova Hotel, St Andrew on Tuesday, Panasonic Latin America’s President Hiroki Kaji explained Panasonic’s new environmental approach and what the company hopes to achieve. He said that Panasonic and ATL are working together in order to expand the “Eco Business” in Jamaica, providing environmental solutions for customers and companies with products with high efficiency and low energy consumption. Kaji further declared that Panasonic aims to double the regional sales of its green products by March 2013 in comparison to the level of the fiscal year ended March 2010.

Steven Chang (left, managing director of Appliance Traders Limited with Associate Director of Panasomic Corporation Roy Kobayakawa at the “A World of Opportunities” event held at the Terra Nova Hotel on Tuesday evening.

Panasonic will also be looking to cut CO2 emissions by 10 per cent in the region by March 2013 compared to the levels of the fiscal year ended March 2006. It will also designate an Eco Ideas Factory in the region by March 2012 as a model factory to implement Panasonic’s environmental strategy that is focused on the two key themes: Eco Ideas for Lifestyles and Eco Ideas for Business-styles.

Panasonic Corporation was established in 1918 and founded by Konosuke Matsushita with just three employees in a small house making two-way socket and attachment plugs. Today, the business has expanded offering a range of electrical appliances and comprises of 680 companies with 384,000 employees. This year it acquired Sanyo.

Kaji did concede that the global recession did have an impact on its sales but this fiscal year it has enjoyed double-digit growth on last year and reported annual sales of US$80 billion in 2009. Panasonic attributes its uptick in sales to the growth taking place in emerging markets, particularly Brazil, Latin America, India and Russia. According to Panasonic’s Associate Director, Roy Kobayakawa, the company is aiming to post sales of US$100 billion for the year 2012.

Kaji said that last year he had a meeting with “Butch” and Adam Stewart and explained the new eco direction that Panasonic was going and introduced a concept of the energy saving products that Panasonic would feature in the future. The Stewarts were interested and came on board.

Speaking with Caribbean Business Report from the Terra Nova Hotel, ATL’s Managing Director Stephen Chang said: “Traditionally our relationship with Panasonic has been with room air conditioning units and consumer electronics. We now recognise there is a market for the value-added products and the business products that are doing well in Jamaica. These are intelligent products in terms of connectivity and we want to expand into that area.”

Kobayakawa drew attention to Panasonic’s next generation of air conditioning units which are able to pick up and measure human body temperatures and adjust the room’s temperature accordingly. Also they have state-of-the-art energy saving technology that sees the unit shutting down when the room is vacant. Panasonic has now found a way to have its devices create and save energy to suit demand. The new products appear to display an artificial intelligence capability. These new units are ideal for hotels and represent the next generation of AC units.

“Panasonic has built a reputation, over decades, for quality and reliability. Our challenge is to now see to it that our products consume less energy. We are now pursuing eco ideas,” said Kobayakawa.

With exorbitant electricity costs in Jamaica, alternative energy has gained traction as people seek to reduce their energy costs. Solar energy has again forced its way into public debate as more people opt for solar panelling of their premises. Is this a growth area for ATL?

“Panasonic’s solar panels are a new development and it is developing a total solution. ATL will be working with Panasonic to integrate a system that is actually practical. You will be able to come to ATL as a one-stop shop for batteries, panels and controls. We will not be offering this service right now but somewhere in the near future.

“I think solar panels will be well received in Jamaica but it will come down to price and payback period. We intend to add many more products to our Panasonic range and will be targeting the hospitality industry. Look out for Panasonic’s new High Definition 3D televisions,” said ATL’s Stephen Chang.

“The world is going through a period of transition. In order to realise a sustainable multipolarised society, our challenge in the next five to ten years is to lead green innovation for individual lifestyles.

“With this in mind, our goal for 2018 is to become the number one green innovation company in the electronics industry. The environment is a key factor in all our business activities and we encourage innovation to ensure there is no exception,” said Hiroki Kaji President of Panasonic Latin America.

Category/ies:Jamaica News.
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