Panasonic wants ‘eco’ labeling to include recycling and manufacturing impact

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Panasonic Australia wants to include manufacturing and recycling performance in a new ratings scheme for electrical appliances.

Commenting on the new Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) scheme raised in the Federal Budget announcement, Panasonic managing director Steve Rust said the new ratings and labeling scheme could offer consumers a complete life-cycle assessment of a product’s environmental performance.

“This is an opportunity for Australians to know the true environmental cost of the products they purchase and use in the home,” said Rust.

“Manufacturers and consumers need to understand that a product’s eco footprint extends well beyond its intended use, with much of its environmental impact occurring before and after its time in the home.”

The Federal Government said it had allocated $14 million over four years for improving appliance performance in the home, including the new GEMS scheme.

Panasonic said that its own research found as much as 10 per cent of product carbon emissions are generated during manufacture and transport of electrical products. (See: http://www.panasonic.net/eco/data_file/gp_01.html)

Other environmental concerns of Panasonic include e-waste, with more than two million televisions ending up in Australian landfill each year.

Rust said Panasonic would help the Government in developing the new scheme.

“Panasonic has world leading environmental experts and technologies that are available to provide assistance to the Australian Government on this issue,” Rust said.

“We will be soon writing to the minister for the environment confirming our support and offering our expertise.”

Panasonic advised that it already participates in similar labelling programs for more than 1,000 of its products in Japan.

Through these schemes Panasonic said it provides customers with information such as materials used in creating the product, manufacturing/assembly details, energy consumed during its use and the product’s recycling potential. This information is rated and clearly displayed on its participating products.

Panasonic has stated that it is focused on improving the energy saving performance of home appliances. The company recently unveiled plasma television prototypes which aim to reduce power consumption by 50 per cent while maintaining the same level of brightness.

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