Yuta Hashimoto was involved in MC's acquisition of the Dutch energy company, Eneco, a leader among energy players in Europe, where great progress is being made in the development and use of renewables. Hashimoto is driven by a desire to turn the energy generated by Eneco into new and powerful streams of green electricity. As he strives to help realize MC's three-value mission*, Hashimoto continues to take inspiration from valuable encounters and words of wisdom.
*Simultaneous generation of economic, environmental and societal value.
I joined MC in 2010, and since then all of my work has been devoted to the creation of sustainable societies - distributed solar power project, hydrogen demonstration project and Eneco acquisition project. It has been one challenge after another, all with the aim of realizing greener living in the future. One project that really changed by values was the Eneco acquisition, which I was posted to the Netherlands for a year to oversee in April 2018.
The first thing that surprised me about the Netherlands is just how conscious Dutch people are about engaging in the creation of sustainable societies. With deregulations giving consumers more freedom to choose which power companies to buy their electricity from, many people are electing to go with providers of sustainable, green energy like wind or solar, even though it costs them more to do so. It is relatively easy to justify the price difference when you're buying something like a premium vehicle, where you can actually see where you're gaining an advantage, but electricity is electricity, so those differences are invisible to the consumer. One could be forgiven for thinking that might dissuade people from switching to green power, but in the Netherlands, that hasn't been the case. Almost to a person, the Dutch place great value in the long-term importance of green energy, and it is that - and not the money they would save with conventional power - that they think of when they buy their electricity.
During my year in the Netherlands, I worked very hard and struggled with many Dutch documents. I had many discussions with local advisors on Eneco's growth, so naturally I needed to have some grasp of their language. Those encounters, and the quality time spent on them, truly broadened my perspectives as a businessperson, as did the far-sighted ideals of the Dutch people in general. When one local colleague praised me for having come to understand his country, I felt like I was finally on the same wavelength.
That I was able to stick it out through the tough acquisition process is a testament to something my boss said to me in my third year with MC, when I was overseeing our decentralized solar power business. I'll never forget his words, because they gave me the push I had needed to persevere.
“Launching a completely new business is extremely difficult,” he said. “But it is also an opportunity for personal and professional growth. So work hard, and establish yourself as the number-one authority in MC's solar operations.”
His remark made me realize that there were no shortcuts to success. If I wanted to be the go-to professional in a certain field, then I would have to dedicate myself to learning new things. I was young and motivated, and I studied very hard. I visited our business partners' facilities across Japan, and I did my best to put any concerns or doubts they had about the project to rest. When they told me how my visits had given them a much better understanding of the project and how they would be pleased to work with us, I gained even more confidence in my abilities.
These days, We now envision Eneco as a hub that can be developed into a platform that connects various businesses using AI and IoT-based energy management. To achive this vision, I am always thinking one step ahead and envisioning a better, more sustainable future. This is a challenge that I intend to continue for many years to come.