Key person interview Report 3: Panasonic's Initiative to Support Development of the Next Generation - Accelerate Activities with Panasonic Electric Works and SANYO Electric as Wholly-owned Subsidiaries
In its management philosophy, Panasonic emphasizes contribution to society in line with the principle: "A company is a public entity of society." Today, as a concrete initiative, corporate citizenship activities centering on "Environment" and "Support to develop the next generation" are conducted under the activity philosophy: "Human resources development and Harmony with environment" with a view to realizing a sustainable society. With the expansion of Panasonic Group through Panasonic Electric Works and SANYO Electric becoming wholly-owned subsidiaries on April 1, 2011, Panasonic intends to further accelerate concrete activities centering on "Environment" and "Support to develop the next generation." This report will share Panasonic Group's new initiative from the perspective of support to develop the next generation.
Generating synergy effects with Panasonic Electric Works and SANYO Electric
"Let's Become a Solar Cell Doctor!" by SANYO Electric
Introducing the solar lantern that delivers light to
"With a stronger alliance with Panasonic Electric Works and SANYO Electric, Panasonic Group's corporate citizenship activities will expand dramatically," said Michiko Ogawa, General Manager of Corporate Citizenship Group of Panasonic Corporate Communications Division.
We previously reported how Panasonic actively conducts corporate citizenship activities on a global basis by upholding "Environment" and "Support to develop the next generation." At the same time, Panasonic Electric Works and SANYO Electric have also been active in conducting their own corporate citizenship activities.
On April 1, 2011, Panasonic Electric Works and SANYO Electric became wholly-owned subsidiaries of Panasonic Corporation. In preparation for the start of the new organization in January 2012, Panasonic Group is now in the stage of rebuilding its initiative for corporate citizenship activities.
"Eco-friendly lighting lesson" by Panasonic Electric Works
In particular, there are high expectations related to "Support to develop the next generation." In addition to the Corporate Citizenship Group which is in charge of Panasonic's support to develop the next generation, other departments, such as the energy devices department, which includes SANYO Electric's photovoltaic system business; the environment/energy department centering on Panasonic Electric Works' lighting business; and the sales/marketing department, will work in collaboration to accelerate activities.
"We will create a framework that takes advantage of the strength of the domains and that reaches horizontally across the corporate structure. In an across-the-board manner, we will install a committee to promote the development of the next generation. Based on the three companies' experience and performance, we will establish a system to enable more extensive support to develop the next generation," said GM Ogawa.
This is a movement to crystallize Panasonic's management philosophy: "Develop people before making products" in the form of social contribution activity.
Carrying out support to develop the next generation in Japan based on three pillars
In Japan, in-school lessons will be promoted based on "Eco Mono Gatari," "Science Education," and "Career Education."
As we previously reported, Eco Mono Gatari, which started in 2008, provides curriculum study materials for use in the fifth grade social studies unit: "Roles of people who support industrial manufacturing." This program incorporates three aspects: social study, eco education, and career education. Useful materials, such as a home appliance history quiz, home appliance timeline, various pictures, and statistical data facilitate the presentation of easy-to-understand lessons.
In fiscal 2011, Eco Mono Gatari-based lessons by Panasonic Group employees are to be offered at 200 schools in Japan, and based on the curriculum provided; similar lessons are expected to be conducted by teachers at an additional 200 schools. This number is significantly higher than the 150 schools in the previous fiscal year.
"Battery Class" by Energy Company
Science Education is for third to sixth graders and a variety of lessons have been created: "Electromagnet and Motor" by Corporate Citizenship Group; "Let's Become an Energy Management Doctor!" and "Let's Become a Solar Cell Doctor!" by the energy devices department; and "Eco-friendly lighting lesson" by the environment/energy department. Lessons are provided by Panasonic Group employees at 140 schools a year. In addition, "Battery Class" by Energy Company is scheduled to be offered at 60 schools in Japan during fiscal 2011.
In Japan, the number of children who like science is on the decrease and fewer students wish to major in science at college or work for a technology company. Supposedly, this issue is attributable to the fact that the number of science experiments children experience in school has drastically decreased due to the introduction of a "more relaxed education policy" in the past and reduction of education budgets. Actually, it is a fact that budgets for experimental facilities and materials have been cut.
Teacher training class
"Science studies and experiments enable children to understand the wonder of nature and things that happen around them in a more hands-on manner. So, we hope that children will get over their dislike of science and find out how fun it is." Panasonic thinks it is important to attract children to science by having them experience the fun of scientific experiments. In-school education, which Panasonic Group offers by fully drawing on its unique capabilities as a manufacturing company, features various scientific experiments, and therefore, is expected to produce a positive effect, in terms of development of children who are interested in science. As a result of these efforts, some unique cases have been reported. For example, in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, Panasonic Group's photovoltaic systems have been installed at elementary schools and accordingly, eco education centering on solar power generation is being offered to children.
Panasonic also has produced new curriculum study materials for upper grade elementary school children, titled "Let's Become an Energy Management Doctor Who Studies Systems to "Utilize" Energy!" Using equipment commonly used in a school as a base for study facilitates and deepens the understanding of elementary school children.
Thus, in the future more education programs linked to business may be created.