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Meet Our People England, United Kingdom 22-04-2022

3 min read

Francis Robson on achieving carbon neutrality

My name is Francis, and I am a Carbon Neutrality Specialist for Hitachi Energy, based in the UK. I am part of the Health, Safety, Environment (HSE) & Sustainability Centre of Expertise, along with 10 other experts in different HSE fields, and have worked in this role for almost 2 and a half years.

My job is to support everyone in the company in becoming aware of, understanding, and planning to achieve carbon neutrality. I do this by writing company standards and guidance, helping create our Sustainability 2030  strategic plan, and training people on environmental, energy and emissions management. I also support both internal and external company environmental reporting through my role as the Subject Matter Expert on tools for Sustainability Performance Indicators (SPI).

Focusing efforts on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

As part of Hitachi Energy’s Sustainability 2030 strategic plan, we aim for carbon-neutrality by 2030. Earlier this year, we have reached our first-step target to use 100% fossil-free electricity in our own operations. And with that, we reduced our CO2 equivalent emissions by over 50%. 

Part of our journey towards carbon-neutrality is inspiring collective responsibility in caring for our environment.

As more people take responsibility, more efforts will be made, more ideas will be generated, and more improvements will be made quicker. It’s this snowball effect that will ultimately benefit everybody to live in a more harmonious world, ultimately helping prevent a climate disaster.

Whenever I offer advice on climate change and reducing emissions, I think the most satisfaction I get is when I see that switch flick in people’s minds, as though a lightbulb turns on. I know then that they start thinking of ways to do their bit to reduce our environmental impact on the world. These make it much easier for us to affect change and advance a sustainable future.

Life as an advocate for the environment

I guess I am a typical Brit, so it does not really come naturally to boast about myself, but I do feel proud that many of my immediate family and friends are now driving electric cars. 5 years ago, very few of them were, and I like to think that my frequent lectures about the environment had some influence on them. Maybe they just bought electric cars to shut me up, but I will take that!
Recently, a friend told me that they respect how I am always willing to change my view on a topic. Sometimes I worry that my views on climate change and the environment have become entrenched and I may fall into the trap of not listening or dismissing people with genuine concerns. I always try to approach things with a scientific mind, following evidence and listening to others, so it is reassuring to know that this comes across in my actions.

I am #ProudToBeHitachiEnergy because people across the company are engaged with the environment and want to do their part to help, particularly around climate change. The number of colleagues working on environmental topics continues to grow, and I am regularly receiving new emails and messages from people with improvement ideas or questions.

This gives me great confidence that the environment is being taken seriously within Hitachi Energy and that we can hit our targets and potentially go further. Hopefully, we keep inspiring others around us to do the same.