Fuji Electric: Looking to the East for Technology and Corporate Social Responsibility
The country of Japan is known as the “land of the rising sun” or the “sun’s origin” as people on the mainland of Asia looked toward the sunrise and knew Japan was located where the sun first appeared. Today, the name is still an appropriate description of the country and its people where beautiful cherry blossoms flower, people work and create, and the technology industry booms. It’s here that Fuji Electric is located, a company that lives up to the name “sun’s origin” in how it creates products, advances technology, and cares for its people.
Back in 1923, Fuji Electric Manufacturing Company began as a capital and technology alliance between Japan Furukawa Electric Company and Germany Siemens AG. As a result, the company in Japan, started manufacturing electrical machinery, transformers, and electric fans throughout the 1920s. In the ‘30s, the company branched out into circuit breaker production, its first hydraulic turbine, and watt-hour meter production. After the War, Fuji once again looked for new technology and products to develop, manufacture, and produce.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Fuji Electric was at the forefront of popular new electronic products. For example, in 1954 in response to the exploding demand for radios and televisions, Fuji Electric began volume production of selenium rectifiers. These electronic components convert alternative currents (AC) to direct currents (DC). As a result, the company soon had an 80% to 90% share of the domestic selenium rectifier market.
This type of forward thinking continued throughout the company’s history as today, Fuji Electric is a worldwide organization with more than 25,000 employees and offices throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.
In 2004, Fuji Electric and AutomationDirect teamed up to provide customers with timer and relay products. Since then, Fuji Electric has been continuously adding new product lines offered by AutomationDirect, including contactors and thermal overload relays, manual motor starters, circuit breakers, and push buttons.
New Technology and Power Electronics
Fuji Electric is continually looking to improve current products and develop new ones based on customer and global needs. The company relies on market research and customer feedback to provide them with valuable information for new applications. Fuji Electric Corp. of America’s Distribution & Control Department explains: “We are creating leading-edge technologies for the future by developing products that take advantage of synergies among our core technologies. Fuji Electric is rapidly developing new energy and environmental technology products destined for the global markets.”
The power electronics industry has experienced many changes in the past decade with more to come in the next 10 years. Fuji Electric is working now to position the company to take advantage of upcoming opportunities in the areas of new energy technologies including solar and wind power and electric vehicles. One emerging trend is the shrinking of technology as solar panel builders make their panels smaller and more compact. Fuji Electric’s power electronics technologies offer products to keep up with these new trends including a line-up of products that facilitate efficient electricity usage and stabilize electricity quality. “Fuji looks to be at the forefront of new technology that helps make society safer and more secure,” said the company’s D&C Department.
It’s that global vision of improving society that makes Fuji Electric unique and its actions have a positive impact on the communities in which the company operates.
Corporate Social Responsibility Etched into Company Culture
For Fuji Electric, corporate social responsibility means contributing to the resolution of social issues through its energy-related business. At the same time, the company understands the importance of balancing its efforts with stakeholder expectations. For example, the social infrastructure business contributes to the realization of smart communities by helping to optimally control energy using smart meters, new energy sources, and grid connection and distribution control systems. Fuji Electric’s deliveries of equipment for generating geothermal power (a renewable energy source) over the past 10 years equates to approximately 40% of all deliveries during that period – a leading share in the global market. Supporting renewable energy, more efficient systems, and increased revenue are key elements in the way Fuji Electric conducts its business.
Fuji Electric also seeks community outreach programs in order to help the company’s mission of improving society. The company continues to support the areas that were impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as the immediate assistance it provided by being part of an emergency task force in Northeast Japan. The task force managed the activities aimed at providing support to recover customer’s electric facilities, machinery, and equipment. Fuji Electric also donated approximately $200 million yen (nearly $1.7 million in U.S. dollars) including cash, fuel cells, solar cells, and other products to help the relief efforts. In addition, the Fuji Electric Group Union started running flower-planting activities in the areas affected by the disaster. For three consecutive Saturdays and Sundays, members could be found in the Yuriage district of Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture helping clear rubble and then planting flowers.
“Fuji Electric uses the human resources and technology it has nurtured through its business activities and works to ensure that as many of its employees as possible take on initiatives in communities around the world, with a basic policy of actions that contribute to solutions to the issues those communities face,” said the company’s Distribution & Control Department.
Fuji Electric is also involved on a local level where it has operations through its community contributions which include:
- Protecting the natural environment – restoring rural woodlands, farmlands and preserving forests.
- Promoting youth development – conducting science classes, implementing teacher training from the corporate sector, promoting environmental education, organizing opportunities to gain first-hand workplace experience, factory tours, and the Fuji Electric Scholarship.
- Supporting local communities – contributing to social welfare activities, promoting sports, sponsoring festivals, cash donations, and engaging in local clean-up activities.
For all its work on the international stage and local level, Fuji Electric has been recognized by three organizations that determine which companies are actively supporting sound corporate social responsibility efforts and are good investments for investors.
For 10 consecutive years, Fuji Electric has been awarded the designation of “Dow Jones Sustainability Index.” The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios, and provide an effective engagement platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practices. Fuji Electric also received two Sustainability Awards in 2015 from RobecoSAM, including a “Bronze Class” award and “Industry Mover” award. Founded in 1995, RobecoSAM is an investment specialist focused exclusively on sustainability investing and has compiled one of the world’s most comprehensive databases of financially material sustainability information based on an annual ESG analysis of 2,800 listed companies. The third organization to recognize Fuji Electric is the Ethibel Excellence Investment Register which selected Fuji Electric to be a part of the Register in 2014. The Ethibel Register uses an in-depth analysis to determine if a company is eligible for its ethical or sustainable efforts.
From its humble beginnings back in the 1920s making electric fans and TV components to today providing the world with efficient power electronics to help society, Fuji Electric has made a positive impact on the lives of others while maintaining its place at the forefront of the global sustainability effort. The company has achieved high performance in the areas of customer satisfaction, stakeholder confidence, sustainability, and social responsibility. Fuji Electronics is certainly living up to the ideal of “the land of the rising sun.”