Since 2017, Mazda has now revised its medium-term plans to include initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
In the continuously evolving automotive landscape, a number of brands have realized in recent years that they have a responsibility to current and future generations with regard to protecting the environment.
The growing clamor for more environmental accountability stems from the acceptance of the fact that automobiles leave a big footprint not only with regard to emissions, but even from the time they are constructed, all the way to their end of life.
Producing cars consumes a lot of energy. Once you factor in where the steel, rubber, glass, plastics, paints, and other components are produced by a myriad of suppliers, how they are shipped to the factory, plus the energy required to assemble them together, how they are transported to various markets around the globe, and finally the fuel used to operate them, you might wonder how car companies can reconcile their existence with the needs of the environment.
Fortunately, because many governments and car companies now heed the calls of scientists about global warming and climate change, a number of automotive brands have adopted a more holistic approach in ensuring the sustainability of their businesses. One such brand is Mazda.
In 2007, this small car brand from Hiroshima, Japan announced that they were implementing its first Sustainable Zoom-Zoom vision. Guided by this thinking, Mazda was able to develop Skyactiv Technology, a suite of engine, drivetrain, chassis and suspension innovations that made its cars more fuel efficient and lessened their impact on the environment. All along, Mazda never let go of its promise to make its cars more pleasurable to drive.
Ten years later, buoyed by the success of its new lineup, Mazda began implementing Sustainable Zoom Zoom 2030. This time around, Mazda saw the bigger picture with a “well-to-wheel” perspective – considering emissions over the vehicle’s entire life cycle. With this long-term vision, Mazda aims to reduce its corporate average “well-to-wheel” carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 2010 levels by 2030, and reach a 90% reduction by 2050.
Since 2017, Mazda has now revised its medium-term plans to include initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Aside from continuing to invest in making internal combustion engines more efficient, and rolling out electrification technologies across its models in the next few years, Mazda is also ensuring that it will reduce its carbon footprint even down to the vehicle assembly level. Through technical innovation, flexibility as a company, and process improvements which it calls, “Monotsukuri Innovation”, new products and new, more efficient ways to make them, are all on the pipeline.
In July this year, Mazda completed its first solar power generation system. Located on the roof of Warehouse Number 2 in the Hiroshima Plant, the 2,698 solar panels which have a generation capacity of 1.1 Megawatts, is part of the company’s effort to promote green manufacturing lines and offices in its factory. It also powers the manufacturing equipment of the assembly lines of the plant.
Warehouse No.2 is also where the batteries for Mazda’s first electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30, are charged. With Mazda’s “well-to-wheel” approach, it makes perfect sense for clean electricity to be the source of the EV batteries’ charging power.
In line with the mother company’s new direction, Mazda Philippines also made sure it would be a responsible corporate citizen by guaranteeing its new facility, the Mazda Center of Excellence in Cabuyao, Laguna, will be a 100% Green Facility.
Since its inception in 2018, the MCOE has been designed with provisions for solar power generation and rainwater collection. Up to 270 solar panels are now located on the roof of the office building. The array has a capacity to produce 99.9 kWp or about 145,000 kWh of electrical energy annually. The clean, emission-free solar electricity can fully power the MCOE and its warehouse operations.
“This facility generates its own electricity to be completely self-sustaining,” says Steven Tan, president and CEO of Mazda Philippines. And because of the excess energy the solar panels can produce, Mazda Philippines’ application for net metering, or the ability to credit solar energy it produces to the power grid, is now underway. “As soon as that happens, we will be net zero,” shares Tan. According to netzeroclimate.org, to go ‘net zero’ is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or to ensure that any ongoing emissions are balanced by removals.
In addition to creating its own energy, the MCOE also has a functioning Rainwater Collection System. With a total capacity of 135,000 liters, or 14 tons of rainwater, the system now provides enough water to supply the daily vehicle warehouse operations. “The water is used for washing the cars before delivery, flushing toilets and general housekeeping. There is sufficient water to last for 30 days without rainfall,” adds Tan.
The MCOE office and training building is also made of precast concrete walls that are high-density, but lightweight. The locally-invented panels that sandwich a core of recycled cardboard cylinders, also offer a layer of insulation that help keep the building cool from the outside heat. The panels themselves help reduce the amount of electricity needed to cool the building.
The Mazda Center of Excellence has already proven its worth since its inauguration in November 2019. Its 952-vehicle capacity warehouse has provided protection to its stocks from typhoons, incessant rains from the southwest monsoon, even from the ashfall that emanated from Taal Volcano’s eruption in early 2020. And now, with its impending net zero status, it will do all of that without compromising the environment.
Mazda aims to be a brand with which customers feel a strong emotional bond to. By pouring its resources to address the needs of the people, earth and society through innovation and a commitment to sustainability while demonstrating environmental responsibility, it looks like Mazda is on the right track to achieve its goals.
Perhaps this affinity for the environment is one criteria you would like to add to your list when choosing your next car?
Motoring and motorsports are two of Mikko’s greatest passions. Combining more than twenty years of professional automotive photography and videography experience with years of touring car racing competition, and a deep understanding of the car industry, from both the manufacturers’ and consumers’ points of view, have given him a unique and insightful perspective in the motoring beat.