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Sojitz - Health and life sciences, clean energy and renewables, circular economy

The 204MW Edenvale Solar Park in Queensland

Sojitz directs investment into Australian healthcare, renewables, green hydrogen and recycling

Sojitz is driven by solutions that benefit both the company and society.

In this case study, TATS KATO, Head of Project Origination at Sojitz Australia, details the Japanese company’s new ambitions in healthcare, renewables, green hydrogen and recycling.

Providing solutions to social problems

Sojitz is motivated by a simple motto: new way, new value. 

The Japanese corporation comprises 400 subsidiaries and affiliates around the world. It engages in a range of businesses globally, including manufacturing, selling, importing and exporting products and materials.

Sojitz pursues growth by providing solutions to social problems. Solutions-based initiatives in investment and trade, manufacturing, service provision and project management have become areas of strength for the global company.

Strength in the circular economy & ESG investments

In Australia, Sojitz is pivoting its investment strategy from legacy sectors to the circular economy.

Sojitz sees the shift as an exciting growth opportunity that can be applied to future-focused businesses in a wide range of fields.

TATS KATO, Head of Project Origination at Sojitz Australia, outlines 4 areas of interest:

  • Healthcare
  • Renewables
  • Green hydrogen
  • Recycling

A passion for healthcare

Several factors make Australia a strong contender for healthcare investment, according to TATS. These include:

  • robust economic and population growth
  • a well-established healthcare system
  • public–private partnership (PPP) regulations that are supportive of infrastructure development.

Sojitz is driven by these factors and a passion for healthcare. The company made a major investment in Victoria’s New Footscray Hospital (NFH) PPP Project in March 2021.

NFH will provide high-quality facilities to improve health outcomes. There will be capacity to treat an extra 15,000 people every year. It will also drastically reduce wait times across the emergency department, elective surgery and outpatient clinic services.

The hospital will be built using more than 90% local materials, services and equipment. The project will employ more than 2,000 people at peak construction.

Sojitz has also invested in Qualitas Medical Limited. This company expands primary care services to strengthen preventive medicine. This reduces expensive medical treatment costs in acute care.

The future is renewable

‘Global warming has emerged as an issue of major importance,’ says TATS. ‘This has accelerated the global trend towards carbon neutrality.

‘Under these circumstances, it is necessary to transition from the simple use and supply of energy to new ways of using and supplying green energy.’

Sojitz sees Australia as a high-growth market for renewables. Its vast land area and abundant sunshine are ideal for solar energy projects.

In June 2021, the company reached the financial close of the 204MW Edenvale Solar Park in Queensland. It is one of the largest solar projects by a Japanese company in Australia.

This project will create more than 400 jobs during its construction phase. Once operating, it will provide a stable supply of renewable energy, meaningfully contributing to Australia’s decarbonisation efforts.

Sojitz’s global target is to reduce its stakes in thermal coal projects more than half by 2025 and to zero by 2030. But TATS makes clear that during the transition period, coal will still play an important role.

‘Sojitz will keep our current coal business for stable supply to our end users,’ he says. ‘These will continue to contribute to regional communities through our operating mines in Queensland.’

A leading destination for green hydrogen projects

Australia offers a clear policy framework for green hydrogen initiatives, and relatively low hydrogen production costs compared with other developed nations.

TATS adds that federal and state-level grants and other forms of support for the hydrogen sector makes Australia an even more attractive investment option. In January 2022, the Australian Government announced the A$150 million Australian Clean Hydrogen Trade Program. The program supports Australian-based hydrogen supply chain projects that secure overseas public or private sector investment.

The first round of the Program will focus on the export of clean hydrogen to Japan under the Japan-Australia Partnership on Decarbonisation through Technology. Under the Partnership, announced in June 2021, the two countries will support initiatives that help drive the transition to net zero emissions.

Sojitz will work with Queensland’s CS Energy and Nippon Engineering Consultants on a pioneering green hydrogen project. The 3-year demonstration sees Sojitz transport Queensland-produced renewable hydrogen to the Republic of Palau.

Sojitz intends to roll out the initiative to other Pacific nations. It hopes to popularise hydrogen use in place of carbon-intensive diesel fuel use on islands.

Looking for recycling and waste recovery opportunities

Sojitz is actively looking for investment opportunities in the Australian recycling and energy recovery markets.

‘Recycling is a hot topic in Australia now,’ says TATS. ‘Our investments in this area will contribute to achieving several goals set by the Australian Government. These include enhancing the resource recovery rate and decreasing landfill.’

Sojitz Australia is also looking to contribute to circular economy growth areas.

‘Our new initiatives must add value to both Sojitz and society. We call it a “Value Creation Model”,’ says TATS. ‘Creating new “shared value” is in our company’s DNA.’

Published: 9 February 2022

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