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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Panasonic and its spirit of sharing

By Hoang An

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For most of Vietnamese consumers, Panasonic is a household name in home electronics. The Japanese-invested Panasonic Vietnam has leveraged its strength in technology as well as its human-centric culture to initiate multiple corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs over the past decades to benefit the community where it operates, and it is in this sphere of social engagement that the company should also be held in high esteem far and wide.

Generous support for education

Panasonic Vietnam has for the past 20 years committed itself to the education sector in Vietnam, benefiting hundreds of thousands of students, from generous scholarships to STEAM training and dissemination of technological knowledge.

Students who won Panasonic Vietnam scholarships pose for a photo group after the scholarship award ceremony in Hanoi in October 2023

These days, outstanding students at various universities are being encouraged to apply for the annual Panasonic scholarships that were first awarded in 2004. Under this program, Panasonic Vietnam awards between 15 and 20 scholarships a year to students from universities nationwide, with each worth VND30 million a year.

Over the past 20 years, some 200 students have won Panasonic scholarships, with a combined value exceeding VND55 billion. Panasonic Vietnam said the scholarship program targets long-term manpower development for the country for sustainable development.

Also with an aim to contribute to the country’s prosperity and sustainable development, the company in 2022 launched the “Panasonic for Sustainable School” project, which provides students with opportunities to experience science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education, either online or directly at many schools. Contents on environmental protection and sustainable development are also integrated in STEAM to raise awareness among students on issues of interest worldwide.

As of the end of September 2023, this project has attracted the participation of nearly 34,000 students, online and at 57 schools and 11 centers nationwide.

In fact, the “Panasonic for Sustainable School” project is the successor of the Panasonic Risupia Vietnam project that was launched in 2010. This CSR program was a mathematic-physics science center in Hanoi with the mandate to stimulate the passion for science and technology among young students. Over the course of 11 years, this center welcomed nearly 900,000 visitors, including 600,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers from across the country.

Sustainability via children’s film-making, forest planting

Panasonic has also doubled down on sustainability and environmental protection via several other CSR programs, including forest-planting programs in Haiphong and Ba Vi National Park, or the Plastic-free Sunday alongside other greening events over the years. However, a signature program launched by the company is the annual film-making contest for children titled Kids Witness News.

This program provides children with experiences to work with professionals and actors/actresses, allowing them to develop film-making skills and other soft skills.

This year, children can put their names down for the program, either individually or in groups, and the topics are limited to evironmental protection, sustainable development and sports. They are advised to register screenplays or scripts for their video clips prior to June 12, and 16 teams with the most suitable screenplays will be invited to join a free film-making workshop organized by the company. After the workshop, each team will produce a short film which lasts five minutes at most, using special equipment supplied by Panasonic.

The Kids Witness News was first launched in Vietnam in 2006, and to date, nearly 3,000 students from more than 300 schools have participated in the program, producing 150 short films, including 16 short films eligible for the Kids Witness News Global Summit.

In an encounter with The Saigon Times, Marukawa Yoichi, general director of Panasonic Vietnam, highlighted CSR programs that the company continues to promote in 2024. He referred to the Kids Witness News, Panasonic for Sustainable School, and Eco Relay, the last-named one gathering managers and employees of Panasonic-affiliated companies to plant trees nationwide.

Over the course of 10 years since 2014, the CEO said, Panasonic Vietnam has spent tens of billions of Vietnam dong to plant or donate nearly 890,000 trees in 25 cities and provinces.

These environmental protection efforts, as part of the company’s CSR strategy, are organized to realize Panasonic Holdings Corporation’s vision of Panasonic Green Impact towards zero emissions at all Panasonic companies worldwide by 2030, and cutting CO2 by 300 million tons, equivalent to 1% of the global emissions by 2050.

Given its far-reaching CSR programs, Panasonic Vietnam has been honored with numerous awards, including two awards conferred by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Top 100 Sustainable Enterprises Award by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Top 50 Sustainable Enterprises recognized by Nhip Cau Dau Tu Newspaper, and several Top Runner awards from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Commenting on its commitment to environmental protection and education support, CEO Marukawa Yoichi said all these CSR activities at Panasonic Vietnam are aimed to make positive contributions to society. CSR, or the spirit of sharing, is the long-term commitment at Panasonic, the company’s CEO said.

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