Panasonic Corporate Citizenship News

Panasonic is working to create a more sustainable world.
Individual employee also carries out proactive social activities as global citizen with the theme "education and coexistence".


Panasonic Donates 1,020 Solar Lanterns to People of East Nusa Tenggara

Jakarta, 26 February 2015 - Panasonic, in cooperation with the Institute of Business and Economic Democracy Foundation (IBEKA) and Kopernik, donates 1,020 solar lanterns to those living in areas with limited electricity in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province - Sumba island and North Central Timor (TTU) district. Today's donation marks the second of such efforts. In March 2014, Panasonic distributed 1,000 solar lanterns to people in Sabu and Sumba islands. These donations fall under the company's global 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project which aims to provide 100,000 solar lanterns to address societal challenges in developing areas with limited electrical infrastructure, by 2018, Panasonic's 100th anniversary.

Sumba island and North Central Timor (TTU) district were selected as these areas still experience insufficient and unstable power supply. The solar lantern functions as an off-grid energy solution which doubles up as a light and power source at night, with the added capability to charge small electronic devices such as mobile phones, via a USB port. Through the use of renewable energy, the solar lantern contributes to a reduction in carbon dioxide emission. Currently, many are reliant on kerosene lamps for light.

Ichiro Suganuma, Chief Representative of Panasonic in Indonesia said, "The Panasonic global 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project has received positive response from the Indonesian society, particularly those who have benefitted from these solar lanterns to support their daily lives. The lantern is an environmentally-friendly lighting source that seeks to bring light to those living with limited electricity, and enables them to have better access to education, healthcare and security. I hope the solar lanterns will continue to overcome social issues in order to create a better life, a better world for Indonesians."

Through IBEKA, 710 solar lanterns will be donated to those living in Sumba island. 10 of the lanterns were from Gamba Osaka, a Japanese football club sponsored by Panasonic. The official handover ceremony was conducted at the beginning of Panasonic Cup 2015 Friendly Match between Gamba Osaka and Persija Jakarta football club, on 24 January 2015, at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium Jakarta.

The remaining 310 solar lanterns will be donated to North Central Timor via Kopernik. 200 of these lanterns will be given out to 50 clinics in order to facilitate healthcare access for locals. Indonesia also has the honour to receive 110 specially designed solar lantern covers designs gathered from people around the world as part of Panasonic's "Cut Out the Darkness" programme. These lanterns will be distributed to Sone Village,North Central Timor.

Information in regards to Panasonic Solar Lantern:
- For more information about 100 Thousands Solar Lanterns Project
- For more information about Cut Out the Darkness
- Panasonic Donates 110 Solar Lanterns to Indonesian Villages
  "Zoo of Light" at Donation Ceremony

Panasonic Mangrove Reforestation Project

Panasonic Group in Thailand arrange Panasonic Eco Relay for Sustainable Earth Activity under "Panasonic Mangrove Reforestation Project with Bangsaen Municipal" campaign which corporate with Bansaen Municpical, Chonburi Province on August 3, 2013 at Mangrove area in Choburi Province.

Thai1.pngGroup photo of Panasonic's Volunteers

The activity have 606 volunteers from Panasonic's employees, their families and alumni of Panasonic Scholarship join to this activity. The activity is plant the mangrove tree about 2,500 trees to conserve the environment by mangrove reforestation to restore coastal eco systems and we dedicate this activity on the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the Queen's 81 Birthday Anniversary coming on Aug 12, 2013. In the evening, we will visit The Marine Science Museum to learn about coastal and marine eco system.


Welcome Speech for Eco Relay by Director of Public Health and Environmental Section, Bangsaen Municipal


Opening Speech for Eco Relay by CEO of Panasonic Group in Thailand
Tree Planting by CEO Yasuo san
Group photo of management


Alumni of Panasonic Scholarship join in this


Cambodia: [Solar Lantern Site Report #02] Use in Small-scale Business

Panasonic has been engaging in activities to donate solar lanterns to non-electrified areas. Our employees report from the project sites.

Akira Hoshi
Promoted corporate citizenship initiatives in regions without electricity in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Primarily coordinates activities in the Greater Mekong Subregion at present.

Hello, this is Akira Hoshi reporting from the CSR & Citizenship Group.In continuation to the first report, this time I report on the conditions in which the solar lanterns are used by the International NGO Kamonohashi Project.

The donation ceremony held at the community factory in March 2012.

The Kamonohashi Project to eradicate child sexual trafficking and exploitation and support the independence of rural women

Siem Reap, the tourist hub home to the world heritage Angkor, is visited by over a million tourists each year. Although smaller than the capital of Phnom Penh, the city has many accommodation facilities including high-class Western-style hotels, indicating that it is prospering as a tourist city. Taking just a 15 minute drive from the city, however, a rural landscape unfolds before you.

Left: Angkor Wat, Right: Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom

Based in Siem Reap, the Kamonohashi Project works to support orphanages and the police and promote the independence of rural women, with the objective of eradicating child sexual trafficking and exploitation.

In 2006, the project established a community factory as a workplace for rural women.
Various products such as book covers, pen cases, commuter pass holders, business card cases, coasters, placemats and sandals are handmade out of rush grass by the women and are sold to tourists at outlet stores and folk craft shops.(Customers in Japan can purchase the products online.)

The Kamonohashi Project outlet store is located at the corner of a market in Siem Reap. The vividly colored products made in the factory are exhibited in this tidy little shop. Here we met with the Kamonohashi Project staff member Ms. Kameyama and headed off to the community factory.

The outlet store in Siem Reap

Solar lanterns help reduce eyestrain, improve quality, and prevent crime

After travelling approximately 30 minutes out of Siem Reap by car, we arrived at the Khchass Commune, where the factory is located. Although this village lies alongside a national highway, it is without electricity as it is located far from the city.

Chum reap suor! (Hello!)

When they saw we had arrived, everyone stopped work and gathered to welcome us.

There are many young women working at the community factory.
After greeting us, they returned to their posts and went back to focus on their individual work of cutting the rush grass, dyeing, weaving on a loom, sewing by machine, or carrying out product inspections.

There is a window in the roof of the community factory to let in sunlight. When we arrived at around 2PM, the room seemed perfectly bright. However, when dusk falls it gets very dark and this can lead to the employees experiencing eyestrain. It also becomes gloomy on cloudy or rainy days.
The winter is particularly short of daylight and it gets dark early, which apparently leads to a decrease in efficiency and productivity, also resulting in quality issues.

Solar panels installed on the roof to charge the solar lanterns.

In these conditions, the solar lanterns were being used as lighting for the entire factory and as individual lights for the employees engaging in work such as sewing, cutting and inspections. They have to look closely at their detailed handiwork, and in the past, many suffered from eyestrain and headaches. I was very happy to hear that such symptoms have been alleviated thanks to the light of solar lanterns.

Solar lanterns serving as personal lighting

Furthermore, the solar lanterns were also used for indoor light in the warehouse, as well as around the outside of the factory to prevent theft at night.

The solar lanterns are also used as indoor lighting for the warehouse

At the Khmer literacy class held during the lunch break to support self-reliance of employees, people with a high attendance can borrow solar lanterns in recognition of their efforts. They are overjoyed to be able to use the light for their study at home in the evenings.

In this factory tour I found that the solar lanterns were being effectively used through various methods in the Kamonohashi Project.

The employees meeting held after work at the end of the day

Resolving the issue of human trafficking through business activities

That night at the project office in Siem Reap, I listened to Mr. Kenta Aoki, vice president of the Kamonohashi Project and manager of operations in Cambodia.

"Many of the girls who are trafficked or forced into child sexual trafficking and exploitation come from poor rural villages. To make money, they have to work away from home, where many are tricked into human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and other forms of exploitation. In order to solve the poverty issues underlying child sexual trafficking and exploitation, we operate the community factory to increase the income of the rural women, so that they can become economically and mentally independent with their own skills."

The Kamonohashi Project recognizes that poverty is the underlying cause of child sexual trafficking and exploitation, and works on this issue through business activities. I very much hope that the initiative will expand in the future.

To be continued in Solar Lantern Site Report #3

Panasonic Corporation has launched a 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT. The aim of the project is to donate a total of 100,000 solar LED lanterns to people in regions of the world without electricity, by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding.

See here for details of the "100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT"


[Reference article]
The child trafficking problem (on the Kamonohashi Project site) (Japanese only)

[Solar Lantern Site Visit Report #1] Cambodia: Use in Literacy Education

Panasonic has been engaging in activities to donate solar lanterns to non-electrified areas. Our employees report from the project sites.

Akira Hoshi
Akira Hoshi has been promoting corporate citizenship activities for areas without access to electricity in Africa and Southeast Asia. He is now mainly in charge of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

Hello, this is Akira Hoshi reporting from the CSR & Citizenship Group.

I oversaw Panasonic's donation of solar lanterns to NPOs/NGOs active in Cambodia in March last year. A year has passed since then and I visited Cambodia from the middle of February to the beginning of March to check how the solar lanterns are being put to use.

I'm going to report on the situation there over the next several reports.

Left: The donation ceremony (March 2012) Right: The solar lantern currently used in Cambodia.

● The circumstances of Cambodia's unstable power supply

Although Cambodia has accomplished remarkable economic growth in recent years, the infrastructure for daily life is still not sufficiently developed.
In particular, the electrification rate (the proportion of total households supplied with electricity) is 24% for the whole of Cambodia, ranking it the lowest in Asia after Myanmar and East Timor*1. In the rural areas the rate falls to just 13%*2.

Why is the electrification rate low in Cambodia? (Column 1)

Bustling City of Phnom Penh

So, how are Panasonic's solar lanterns being put to use in the non-electrified areas of Cambodia?

First I headed to a literacy education project run by the Association of School Aid in Cambodia (ASAC).

● Visiting Cheung Prey Village

About two hours by car from the capital, Phnom Penh, an idyllic scene stretches as far as one can see where cows are grazing amidst paddy fields made arid by the dry season.

The houses of this region are all built on stilts as a measure against flooding in the rainy season. Whilst some are fine houses made of concrete, others are more meager, with straw-thatched roofs.

The tranquil rural landscape of Cheung Prey village. Houses are built on stilts in this region due to the frequent flooding in the rainy season.

Parts of this area have power poles running along the road, but many of the less well-off people are unable to use the electricity because the charges are approximately twice as expensive as those of the capital, Phnom Penh.

I wondered if Panasonic's technology was useful in the daily lives of the local people.

Feeling both nervous and expectant, I accompanied ASAC coordinator Ms. Fukimi Urata to Cheung Prey village in Batheay District, Kampong Cham Province.

● A literacy education program for the independence and dignity of the people

ASAC is providing literacy education in the village, teaching a syllabus of up to the level of 4th year elementary school in a different area every six months.

The poor literacy rate in Cambodia is considered to be one of the issues that prevent economic growth in the rural communities.

The reason why the literacy rate of Cambodia is low (column 2)

ASAC pays a salary to the literacy education teachers.
It seems that the NGO has taken the place of the government in playing an important role in nation building.

Literacy director Mr. Bun Pheng says, "It is essential for people to be able to read and write if the country is to develop." Having worked passionately in literacy education for almost 20 years from 1995, he now leads the teachers who work in the literacy classes.

The lessons are held 6 evenings a week from 6PM till 8PM, with the class closed on Sundays and national holidays.

The students of the literacy class in Cheung Prey village are all women and the age range is higher than I expected with one student in her 20s, several in their 30s and over 10 in their 40s and 50s.

The lessons cover reading and writing practice using a textbook, and also some simple math problems.

The venue of the literacy class. A solar lantern hangs from the ceiling.

● Solar lanterns are useful in the literacy class

The sun goes down at just after six in the evening. As night fell I personally found the village to grow incredibly dark, having become accustomed to the bright nights of the city and there being no street lights in the village.

It's time to start the lesson, and as students carrying solar lanterns come in from different directions, the dark classroom gradually grows light enough to study.
The light of the solar lanterns to which I was normally accustomed felt almost dazzling.

I was very gratified to see everybody treating the solar lanterns with such care - covering them with plastic bags to protect them from rain and dust, and attaching string to make them easier to carry.

The solar lanterns cast an extremely bright light in the darkness. There is a lively questions-and-answers session and the lesson proceeds with a lively atmosphere from start to finish.

Some of the women of the literacy class bring their children to study with them.

"I want to teach my grandchildren to read and write so that they may become knowledgeable people and have a bright future. If you are clever you will be able to get by in the future - even without a field."
"I'm happy because if my children don't understand something when studying, I am now able to teach them"

If the parents are able to read and write then there will probably be a large impact on their children and grandchildren, in addition to promoting the independence and dignity of the parents.

The solar lanterns are applied in various ways in the daily lives of each household, and are also being used for the self-study of children at night.

A child studies at home with his father and mother
(a literacy student)
The text can be read clearly by the light of the solar lantern

Having seen the literacy class of Cheung Prey village firsthand, I was convinced that the solar lanterns were useful in increasing the quality of life of the villagers.

To be continued in Solar Lantern Site Visit Report #02 (Update scheduled for mm/dd)

Panasonic Corporation has launched a 100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT. The aim of the project is to donate a total of 100,000 solar LED lanterns to people in regions of the world without electricity, by 2018, the 100th anniversary of the company's founding.
See here for details of the "100 THOUSAND SOLAR LANTERN PROJECT"


[Column 1] Why is the electrification rate low in Cambodia?
In Cambodia, the major cities, provincial towns and rural communities are each connected by independent small-scale power networks and there is no centralized power network that connects the different regions. Electricity rates are high in comparison to neighboring countries*2 due to small-scale domestic power plants and generators increasing the cost of generation, and power being imported from the neighboring countries of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

[Column 2] The reason why the literacy rate of Cambodia is low
A significant factor is the massacre of scholars and teachers during the Pol Pot regime of the late 1970s, which deprived the people of the opportunity to receive an education. According to a national census in 2008, the National literacy rate is approximately 78% (8.96 million people), but this drops to 75% in agricultural communities in contrast to 90% in urban areas*3. The low literacy rate is assumed to be a factor in the poverty of the rural regions.


*1 International Energy Agency (IEA), World Energy Outlook 2011

*2 Cambodia infrastructure map, JETRO Phnom Penh Office (only in Japanese)

*3 The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications website "Statistical tables from the National Compilation of the 2008 Cambodian Population Census Data Results Report" (only in Japanese)

Akira Hoshi has been promoting corporate citizenship activities for areas without access to electricity in Africa and Southeast Asia. He is now mainly in charge of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

Feature article: Solar LED Lantern Project (Deliver lights to non-electricity areas in the world)

1. Corporate Citizenship Activities with the use of Solar LED Lanterns

In the world today, 1.32 billion* people, mainly in developing countries, are still forced to live without reticulated electricity. The CSR&Corporate Citizenship Group has been working on a project in collaboration with international institutions, NPOs and NGOs, etc, to help improve people's lives in areas which have no electricity, by making good use of our energy technology. The Solar LED lantern is one of the products used in this project.
* Quoted from "World Energy Outlook 2011" issued by International Energy Agency (IEA)

ランタン表紙1.jpgPanasonic donated 4,000 solar LED lanterns in March 2011 to disaster stricken areas hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake. These three prefectures in the northeast of Japan were temporarily without power, and the afflicted people of the disaster thought very highly of Panasonic for our contribution.
ランタンタンザニアP1.jpgAlso in April of the same year, Panasonic donated 1,000 solar LED lanterns to the United Nations Development Program for Tanzania. Those lanterns enable people to study at night and run small businesses, etc, and they are very happy with them.(Photo: Solar LED Lanterns are utilized for children's home work in villages without electricity in Tanzania.)

Furthermore, in March 2012, Panasonic donated 2,000 solar LED lanterns to 15 organizations such as NPOs and NGOs etc, who are working to solve social issues in Cambodia. The Cambodian organization to which Panasonic donated the solar lanterns, sent us feedback on how they are being used and some notable examples are outlined below:


Solar LED Lantern Project (continued)
2. Solar LED Lantern Usage in Cambodia

*Using them for health care field.
The Non-Profit Organization, World Vision Japan, which works on health-care issues in poverty-stricken areas of agricultural districts, reported that solar lanterns enabled them to carry out medical examinations for expectant and nursing mothers and deliver babies, and provide emergency medical care for children during the night at health care centers in villages with no electricity. They quoted the following overjoyed comment from a woman who is close to her due date:

医療.jpg"I am really pleased that a light is on even at night at the health care center. I cannot visit the health care center during the day (as I have to work in the fields). But now I can come to the health care center even at night with a sense of security." (Photo produced by Non-Profit Organization, World Vision Japan)



*Using Solar LED Lanterns in the education sector
ランタン勉強.jpgThe Non-Profit Organization, Japan Team of Young Human Power, which works with the education sector, mainly on building schools, delivered a message to us from a teacher who prepares classwork for the following day by using a solar LED lantern.
"Until now, I have been using kerosene lamps. On windy days, the kerosene lamp goes out sometimes, and also the light from a kerosene lamp is weak, therefore it was difficult even just to prepare classwork for the following day. However, since starting to use solar LED lanterns, my work is going well and it is now possible for teachers to complete lesson preparation far more quickly. As a result of completing preparation more quickly, we now have time for studying ourselves, to improve teaching methods. Thank you very, very much for your support."  (Photo produced by Non-Profit Organization, Japan Team of Young Human Power)    


*The Non-Profit Organization, Japan Mine Action Service, 教室.jpgis working on the removal of anti-personnel land mines as well as building primary schools on the land after the mines have been removed. However, as there is no electricity, it is dark inside the school buildings even during the day. So, they reported that they made a special metal fitting to set up lanterns, and were using the lanterns hanging from the class room ceiling. (Photo produced by Non-Profit Organization, Japan Mine Action Service)  





*The Non-Profit Organization, ASAC (Association of School Aid in Cambodia) is carrying out literacy education for illiterate adults and lending家族.jpg solar LED lanterns to students as well as building schools and making donations to schools. Comments from students in the literacy classes are reported below:
"We use solar LED lanterns for every purpose in our life as well as studying to become literate. It is very handy as a solar LED lantern can be shifted to the kitchen when cooking a meal. Until now, we have been using car batteries. And it cost money to charge the batteries, and they can't be moved around as they are so heavy. But we can carry solar LED lanterns everywhere and can move them around, which is very handy. Solar LED lanterns have changed our lives so much."   (Photo produced by Non-Profit Organization, ASAC :Association of School Aid in Cambodia)


Solar LED Lantern Project (continued)

The Public Utility Foundation, School Aid Japan, also runs orphanages and uses solar lanterns in accommodation buildings and study rooms for the子供勉強.jpg orphans. To light the orphanages, an electric generator is used from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm, however the generator is switched off at 9:00 pm owing to the cost of fuel, therefore after 9:00 pm, the children were not previously able to do any private study. It is reported that since solar LED lanterns were adopted, children are now able to study after the generator stops at 9:00 pm, therefore the children's school results have improved.  (Photo produced by Public Utility Foundation, School Aid Japan)




Solar LED lanterns are also used for breakfast preparation at orphanages. ご飯.jpgThey start making breakfast at 4:00 am, before sunrise. Previously, it was very uneconomical as they were using a lot of fuel to run the generator for making breakfast. However, they say that since adopting solar LED lanterns, fuel costs have been reduced because they do not have to run generators.  (Photo produced by Public Utility Foundation, School Aid Japan)





*Using them for small scale business
The Non-Profit Organization, Kamonohashi Project, is running a small business which manufactures traditional craft articles made from rushes, 工場.jpgto help women in poor farming villages to become independent. Working in studios where it gets dark even during the day on rainy or cloudy days, as well as in the evening was hard on working women's eyes. They say that adopting solar LED lanterns resolved eye exhaustion caused by working in a dark studio, and so improved work efficiency and accuracy. (Photo produced by Non-Profit Organization, Kamonohashi Project)





The Non-Profit Organization, Caring for Young Refugees, 機織.jpgreported to us that solar LED lanterns are very helpful at the textile training center which they operate, as solar LED lanterns are used for weaving during night.
As we saw above, solar LED lanterns are utilized effectively in various fields and the users are very happy with them.(Photo produced by Non-Profit Organization, Caring for Young Refugees)



3. Future Prospects
In 2012, toward the 100th Anniversary of our founding, the Corporate Citizenship Group started the 100,000 Solar LED Lanterns Project.
By capitalizing on our company's technologies, solutions and expertise, we will continue to help resolve various social challenges facing local communities without access to electricity in developing countries.