Panel Highlights Japan’s and Houston's Innovative Environmental Initiatives
HOUSTON, December 22, 2022 — In partnership with Ally Energy, the City of Houston, Cole Chemical, the Greater Houston Partnership, and the U.S.-Japan Council , Asia Society Texas presented a program examining Japan’s and Houston’s initiatives on climate and the environment, which featured a screening of the award-winning documentary Beyond Zero and a panel discussion with leading industry experts.
Help Us Build a More Inclusive World
The panel featured Nathan Walker, Senior Vice President of Environmental Business Development at Daikin Comfort; Uday Turaga, the founder and CEO of ADI Analytics; and Maynard Holt, the founder and CEO of Veriten, in a conversation moderated by Frederick H. Katayama, Executive Vice President of the U.S.–Japan Council.
Beyond zero, inspiring change
The documentary Beyond Zero tells the inspirational story of a global company embarking on a 30-year journey to revolutionize its industry by eliminating its negative environmental impact. Reflecting on the documentary, Walker said companies should focus on training their employees to prioritize environmental awareness, since in his view, a successful approach to sustainability involves embedding the importance of environmental investment into the organizational culture.
Key insights and takeaways
The panelists discussed how climate change is a multidimensional issue that requires action from industry leaders, policymakers, and individuals. From Holt’s perspective, technology can address some issues and can lead to lower costs and greater energy efficiency, but because consumer preferences and behaviors can have an outsized impact on outcomes, education at the consumer level is a key aspect of combating climate change. Turaga emphasized that companies that want to address their environmental impact should be prepared to make long-term commitments and investments, and they must be willing to endure temporary setbacks or hardships.
Walker shared that while residential HVAC systems are a significant source of emissions and energy consumption, simple steps could be taken to drastically reduce their environmental impact. As an example, Walker explained that transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like heat pumps that run on electricity, or updating current HVAC systems with a new type of compressor could cut emissions anywhere from 40 percent to 60 percent.
Turaga then reflected on how Japanese companies are pioneering new developments in hydrogen technology that have the potential to greatly reduce global emissions. The panel lastly discussed leadership cultures and the stressed that committed leadership was necessary to create lasting change.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.