Issue 26

AV Interview: Mr. Yasunori Ogawa, Epson

What’s behind Epson’s green drive? Epson global head, Mr Ogawa, outlines why environmental concern has been baked into the tech company for decades.


14 March 2024

Story:/ Christopher Holder

I’ve gone from cynical to sold. Epson is now my new favourite AV manufacturer. At least from the way it’s going about minimising its environmental impact.

Epson takes sustainability seriously. If there’s a global list of environmental movers/shakers, Epson will invariably be on it. And as of December 2023, all electricity used at Epson Group sites around the globe is from renewable sources.

Cards on the table: my BS antennas are super sensitive about green washing. Environmental box ticking seems more about keeping private equity bullies happy as it is about actual care for the planet. Not so with Epson.

For starters, and to state the obvious, Epson is a Japanese company. And being Japanese it’s culturally very different to a western corporation. Its motivations are different and the way it’s led is different. If I had to clumsily summarise my observations about the East/West differences in AV companies I’d generalise that Japanese manufacturers are more intent on product innovation, ie. let the product make the impression and support the innovation with appropriate marketing. Western AV companies can often be more marketing led, and so long as the product is competent, you’re in the hunt. Japanese marketing is more ‘Please Consider’ while the US leans towards ‘AV Perfection Now Has a New Name!’ Which is all to say, Japanese companies are less likely to put a turtle motif on its product packaging simply to appear to be caring for the planet.

AV.Technology was invited to spend 3o-minutes or so with global head of Epson, Mr. Ogawa, while he was in Australia to mark the 40th anniversary of Epson Australia. Myself and a couple of other ‘gentlemen of the Australian AV press’ submitted questions ahead of time that Mr. Ogawa addressed. Mr Ogawa spoke through an interpreter.

Mr Ogawa provided some interesting context to why Epson has gone so hard with its environmental efforts. Like most of the notable Japanese tech companies, Epson was founded post WWII but not in Tokyo or one of the larger urban centres, rather in rural Japan, with a connection to nature from Day 1. In the late ’80s, Epson was the first company to declare it would eliminate CFCs from its manufacturing processes. Before the term ‘triple bottom line’ was invented, it was already part of Epson’s DNA, and for decades now has never seen a conflict between profitability, answering to its shareholders, and acting in an environmentally sustainable way.

It was also good to hear about where projection fits in Epson’s ‘projections’, straight from the horse’s mouth. Nothing controversial here: Epson will continue to go hard in areas where LED and displays can’t go – bigger (image) and brighter in the high-brightness end; and smaller (chassis), brighter and smarter in the portable end of the market.

Apparently Epson is seeing a spike in interest from younger consumers in China who like small-format smart projectors for their compact living quarters (where they can’t afford the wall space to accommodate a large display). Can’t see that trend catching on in this part of the world.

The motto you might see blu-tacked to the wall in the Epson lunchroom is ‘Compact, Precise & Energy Efficient’ (which when you hear it in Japanese, rolls of the tongue in a snappy fashion), and informs all future projection development.


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Issue 26