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Hitachi endeavours to be a global leader in Social Innovation Business by enhancing our customer’s corporate value and the quality of life for all people1. In doing so, our corporate commitment and strategy to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was established in 2016. Implementing the SDGs into our Corporate Commitment and Business Strategy models, we announced in our 2021 Mid-term Management Plan to strive to simultaneously increase our customers’ social, environmental, and economic value through our Social Innovation Business, thus improving peoples’ quality of life. Hitachi believes it will be possible to contribute to a sustainable future, and by meeting the needs of both individuals and societies, our Social Innovation Business aims to be a source of sustainable growth for future generations.
Four years on from outlining its blueprint for a sustainable future, The UN has released its Sustainable Development Goals report for 20192. According to the report, “a much deeper, faster, and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals.” Population growth, economic disparity, lack of access to clean water, and climate change are but a few of the many causes we must all consider.
Some alarming data from the SDGs report tells us that health personnel are stretched beyond their limit in countries where they are needed most. Data from 2013 to 2018 indicates that almost 40 percent of all countries have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people.
Furthermore, whilst global spending on research and development has reached US$2 trillion a year, representing an average annual growth rate of 4.3 per cent, there are wide disparities among countries. According to the SDGs report, Europe and Northern America spent 2.21 percent of GDP on Research & Development in 2016, compared to 0.42 per cent and 0.83 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia respectively.
Figures from the report also show that a greater effort is required to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, with the global literacy rate for adults (15 years of age and older) sitting at 86 per cent in 2016 and 91 per cent for youths (15 to 24 years old).
However, there is also room for optimism. With progress being made in some critical areas, and with 11 years to go to the globally accepted 2030 deadline, it is vital that the world take note, and all corporations join the UN’s call to action.
Hitachi has collaborated with the National Library of New Zealand to introduce digitalisation as a solution to the issue of aging literature and knowledge. Our technology has been used to preserve the nation’s digital cultural heritage3, making it possible for any New Zealander to access the wealth of knowledge and history that the National Library of New Zealand has collected in digital format on their behalf. Digital utilisation of Data has transformed the content, including over five million pages of historical newspapers (and counting), allowing New Zealanders consistent access to knowledge and regional historical information in a trustworthy digital format.
Our corporate commitment also has a global impact. Hitachi’s research and development focused partnership with the CSIRO has set the foundations for combatting relevant social, environmental, and economic challenges, as well as other pressing social issues – with potential cooperation identified in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), security, material tracking, urban systems, Internet of Things (IoT) sensing, and autonomous systems. “CSIRO brings... a broad, multidisciplinary range of research to the table, and we’re excited to help turn Hitachi’s growing Australian presence into a powerful force for good in our community,” said Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive of CSIRO4.
Hitachi Vantara provides data storage solutions to customers such as the Queensland Brain Institute, delivering advanced technology to meet their increasing data management requirements5. The number of Australians afflicted with dementia is expected to triple to 900 thousand by 20501. Yet many existing treatments for illnesses or conditions that affect the brain are outdated or not effective enough. However, neuroscience is now a partnership between biology, engineering, and computation. Hitachi is playing a role in advancing technology through co-creation and collaboration between science and industry. As a result, a clinical study collecting, transferring and analysing data on 10 patients, which used to take nearly six months, now can be realistically completed in one week.
Hitachi is leading the field in Industry and Innovation, creating the first automated heavy-haul long distance rail network6. Technology designed and developed by Hitachi Rail STS has enhanced the use of automation to improve operational efficiency, safety and economic sustainability. Launched in 2018, Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul® program enables trains to travel to and from 16 mines and four port terminals, autonomously, embodying the vision of innovation achieved through creative collaboration and the deployment of digital technologies (as of July 2018).
Finally, Hitachi aims to contribute to the improvement of the social, environmental, and economic values in Western Sydney3. Our corporate commitment is far reaching and linked to our long-term sustainability and operational success. Together with the NSW government, we are working towards a nation with infrastructure based on Smart Cities as a foundation. Through the collaborative establishment of the Kyōsō Centre, we aim to accelerate the creation of social innovation within the Western City and Aerotropolis development: a 22nd century smart city being built around the new Western Sydney International Airport7.
The United Nations has given us a blueprint for a sustainable future, and Hitachi is positioned well to make a broad contribution to achieving targeted SDGs. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres says, “The coming years will be a vital period to save the planet and to achieve sustainable, inclusive human development.”2
As outlined in our 2021 Mid-term Management Plan, Hitachi aspires to make an even greater contribution to societal, economic, and environmental issues, and will continue to strive for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure there is quality of life and equal opportunity for all to grow and prosper together.
To realise these fundamentals for a human centric society in which every person is able to live a life of dignity and be treated fairly, it is absolutely necessary for Hitachi to be a company of inclusion where people with different backgrounds and values, work productively together. CEO of Hitachi and President, Toshiaki Higashihara stated in 2019, “Hitachi Social Innovation is POWERING GOOD,” and our vision is to make what is “good” a reality for the world.
Hitachi considers responding to these challenges to realise a sustainable society and improve quality of life to be the aim of our Social Innovation Business and a source of sustainable growth.