How the people at Daikin feel about sustainability?

We asked Balázs Zuggó, managing director of Daikin Hungary Kft.

Daikin is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cooling, heating and ventilation solutions. We are not only equipment manufacturers, but also one of the few who also manufactures the heart of such equipment, the compressor, while maintaining a leading role in the research, development and manufacturing of refrigerants. Refrigeration, heating and commercial deep-freezing products contribute to a higher standard of living and economic growth, and they are of key importance in today’s society. However, the ensuing increase in electricity consumption and refrigerant emissions are a cause of concern for environmental considerations, in particular climate change.

At Daikin, we believe that a company can grow in a sustainable way only if it contributes to finding solutions for environmental problems. That is why we are working on the production and distribution of environmentally-friendly products that use energy efficient technology and refrigerants with lower global warming potential.

We have several factories that received the ‘Green Heart’ award, while in 2017 we managed to save 54 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in CO2 equivalent at the corporate level in the retail sales of air conditioners. This is due partly to inverter technology and partly to the transition to a refrigerant with lower global warming potential (GWP). The R-32 is a new generation refrigerant that has proven to be much better than its predecessors in aspects related to environmental protection: it is not classified as ozone depleting, yet it is energy efficient, easy to recycle, and its GWP value is one-third of those most commonly used for air conditioners.

In Japan Daikin launched the marketing of residential equipment using R-32 refrigerant in 2012. Daikin Industries Ltd. believes that this refrigerant appears to be the most promising solution to further reduce the ecological footprint of residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps. Therefore, in the third step, in June 2019, the company released additional patent rights to facilitate the further expansion and use of refrigerants with lower environmental impact. Patent rights were released in 2011. In that context, the company granted – unprecedented – access to close to 180 patents it has filed since 2011, related in principle to the safe use and application of R-32 refrigerant.

On the path of sustainability in Hungary

Within the local organisation several environmental initiatives were launched this year as well. For example, Daikin Hungary Kft. has established a brand new position in Hungary, which aims to strengthen the company’s environmental and climate conscious approach and action. We call this position ‘Environmental Advocacy’, and the new staff will be tasked, among other things, with regulatory issues relevant to sustainable development and climate protection, which affect our company. Our intention is that it will participate in, among other things, in the work of specific BCSDH teams which concern Daikin Hungary Kft. as well.

We switched to purified tap water, replacing the PET bottle in the office, and – which we were particularly excited about – in the wake of plastic-free July, many colleagues shared their ideas on how to use less plastic while in the office. Seeing this openness, our next actions include the implementation of a paperless office.

One of the components of the Hungarian organisation’s impact on the environment is transport. Building on the experience of the parent company, we are also open to e-mobility. We have made considerable progress in that, in addition to maintaining a low-emission fleet, the company’s car policy now include e-cars, and, on an experimental basis, we incorporated in our fleet an electric pool car. Apart from work-related uses, this car can be taken by any of our colleagues for a weekend for a private trip in an effort to involve as many people as possible to experience driving an electric car. In addition, we believe that the benefits of electromobility can be harvested most efficiently by incorporating sharing in our way of thinking. So when an employee who has a company car takes the pool car during the day, he deposits his own in the fleet, and if someone needs a car, he can take it.

Last but not least, we also need to focus on raising awareness, for in some cases we have to make compromises in order to do something for our environment.