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Climate Change

Kubota aims to cut tractor and excavator emissions 30% by 2030

Introduction of electric models part of push to go carbon neutral companywide

A Kubota electric tractor. The company is Japan's biggest maker of farm machinery.

OSAKA -- Kubota aims to reduce carbon emissions from its farming and construction equipment by 30% between 2020 and 2030, President Yuichi Kitao told Nikkei, joining the growing ranks of Japanese companies pushing to decrease their carbon footprint.

Europe has imposed tough restrictions on diesel fuel typically used in agricultural and construction equipment. Kubota plans to offer electric versions of mini excavators and compact tractors used to maintain parks and similar tasks. The electric version of the equipment will be manufactured in Japan or Germany starting in 2023.

The company also looks to develop models powered by hydrogen fuel cells and make use of biofuels.

Kubota aims to leverage both new power sources and fuels to "help resolve societal issues," Kitao said.

The goal is to achieve companywide carbon neutrality by 2050, he said.

Kubota President Yuichi Kitao says the farm equipment maker sees promise in both hydrogen and biomass energy. (Photo by Kosuke Toshi) 

Crafting a plan for achieving carbon neutrality had been a pressing issue for Kubota. The equipment the company sold, including farm and construction machinery, have produced 21.17 million tons of carbon dioxide during the fiscal year ended March 2020. The volume far exceeds the carbon footprint of factories, which hovered at 600,000 tons.

Kitao seeks to establish by May a committee format that will be under his direct control. He will advance business practices that take into account environmental, social, and governance issues, which are collectively known as ESG.

"The growth of business fields such as those related to food and the aquatic environment is directly connected to carbon neutrality," said Kitao.

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