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Healthy Air: Tuna Gulenc, Vice President of Daikin Middle East & Africa


Tuna Gulenc, vice president of Daikin Middle East & Africa, discusses the company’s latest offerings, the emphasis on indoor air quality, and a market overview of the Middle East.

 

What are the goals and objectives of Daikin for 2022 and do you believe you are on track to achieve these goals?

At Daikin, we categorise our business goals and objectives through three different pillars, which include growth, localisation, and business lines. To set the stage, our goals towards sales growth have been accelerating as planned, as we saw Daikin’s sales transcend by 123% in just one year. As we put each market under the microscope, we have noted that our sales grew by double-digits across all territories – which motivates us to continue the pace and thrive above and beyond in 2022.

Since the start of 2022, we have aimed to complete and strengthen our localisation direction in key markets following a successful opening in Nigeria last year. For the remainder of the year, we at Daikin hope to achieve this goal by building strong channels with partners and further aim to strengthen our business in North Africa and transform our solutions to better fit the market as we work towards establishing an office in Morocco. In addition, Daikin aims to launch/ amplify its ‘Breathe Health’ brand campaign across key markets to further raise awareness and understanding of its objectives. Adding to this, increasing sales and service manpower in KSA, Qatar, and Egypt in alignment with our vision for Fusion 25: expanding our presence in the region.

In addition, Daikin works towards its business line goals by investing in wider refrigeration solutions and air purifier ranges. To spread the word, we look forward to kicking off our brand awareness campaign that explains who we are: experts in the air quality industry.

As goes with any business, we have worked hard to overcome certain challenges that we faced over the course of the year. Some of these challenges involve the supply chain – however, given that Daikin is well-positioned globally, with factories in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America, and China we are in a strong position to manage our supply chain with a plan in place to better serve our customers.

What are your thoughts on the market overview in the Middle East?

The Middle East as a whole has been gradually recovering and with significant uptake in tourism, especially in the UAE. Aside from the UAE, we see that the KSA market is booming, and we have also seen room for opportunity in the Qatar market, given the upcoming World Cup. In addition, Africa is one of our top emerging markets for air conditioners with Nigeria being one of the strongest, followed by Egypt.

As a whole, the region is moving towards more sustainable practices and regulations, having COP27 in Egypt and COP28 in the UAE. Moreover, we see an increasing focus on health and overall well-being, driving more demand for air quality products. There have also been large developments within the hospitality & residential sectors which further support the current/growing state of the market. Our innovative full food chain solutions ensure food safety in transit, storage, display and processing, and we aim to offer the most convenient and efficient solutions to fulfil any requirement of the market.

 

With indoor air quality having a big influence on people’s performance and well-being, Daikin’s air purifier helps purify indoor air by circulating it through the unitand letting the air pass a multitude of filters and purifying technologies.

 

Tell us about the latest products that are being manufactured by Daikin?

At Daikin, we aim to help people to breathe easy in high regard and in line with our vision, we have launched several innovative solutions in recent times covering a new range of air purification solutions for both commercial and residential use, Hygienic Air Handling Units for healthcare applications, and inverter split types of air conditioners. All new systems provide high energy efficiency, comfort and IAQ levels.

We have seen that choosing the right air conditioning (HVAC) systems and purifiers for your home or office can vastly improve your quality of life. Daikin’s MC55VB poses a unique double method by having high power plasma discharge technology, and the patented streamer technology that provides further purification to open spaces. Taking up a small amount of space and very quiet, Daikin’s MC55VB takes three steps to decompose harmful substances – with powerful suction, effective capturing of pollutants with the electrostatic HEPA filter, and decomposition by oxidation removing up to 99.97% of fine particles with the streamer technology.

How do these products increase energy efficiency? 

Daikin was among the first to respond to the growing demand for air quality solutions by tapping into the power of technology to provide products and services designed to improve air quality and promote efficient cooling and energy consumption. Daikin’s products use the latest technology to ensure optimum efficiency, using unique swing compressors and R32 refrigerants along with online energy monitoring and management via different cloud solutions.

How is Daikin taking steps to achieve its sustainability goals?

Daikin’s sustainability goal is to provide safe, healthy air environments while striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero. This goal aims at reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 throughout the entire lifecycle of its products. To achieve this goal, we need to act in every aspect of our business operations. From materials procurement to development, production, transport, installation use, recovery, and recycling. In fact, 98% of the product lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions occur from the energy consumed during operation and from the emissions resulting from the use of refrigerants.

To reduce the environmental impact of using air conditioners, Daikin is developing and adopting the inverter technology in its wide product range to help reduce energy consumption during operation time.

Refrigerants are essential to the heat exchange of air. However, when emitted into the air, refrigerants affect global warming. Daikin is gradually designing all its products to use lower global potential refrigerants such as R32. “Loop by Daikin” is our revolutionary refrigerant program and an essential part of our commitment to creating a sustainable future, via Recovering, Reclaiming, and Reusing the refrigerants in our new all-in-one service solutions.

Daikin’s mid to long term strategy to reduce its net emissions to zero consists of the following blocks:

1) Through Supply chain – Decarbonize its operations via a green and efficient supply chain including production

2) Through Products – Increase the energy efficiency of products, development, and adoption of refrigerants with a lower global warming potential

3) Through Solutions- Use of energy management systems to carry efficient operation of buildings, provision of energy services throughout the value chain

4) Emissions offset the remainder by recovering and reclaiming refrigerants, spreading the use of heat pumps and water heaters, use of renewable energy and protecting forests

Daikin’s efforts to spread the use of high energy-efficient air conditioners using low global warming potential refrigerants have improved its contribution to greenhouse gas reductions by 70 million tons-Co2 in the fiscal year 2020.

To reach carbon neutrality in 2050 while maintaining sustainable growth, Daikin has set goals to reduce its net emissions by 30% in 2025 and by 50% in 2030 vs its baseline emissions in 2019.

With your vast experience in Daikin, how has the industry evolved in the past 10 years and where do you see it going in the next decade?

Over the past decade, we have not only noted a shift in consumer behaviour through the increased demand for a complete solution or service – from on-site support and installation to troubleshooting and maintenance but a rise in demand for ACs overall. As such, experts at Daikin have ensured our customers are satisfied from point of purchase to providing exceptional post-purchase services. Daikin has also taken a focussed approach on energy efficiency, which is why low GWP “R32” has replaced other refrigerants and heat pumps in Europe are replacing fossil-fuelled based boilers. With that in mind, we at Daikin have shifted our focus from product sales to solution sales. Over the past 10 years, Daikin has not only doubled revenue, but acquired several HVAC-R businesses across the globe, including Airfel in Turkey, Goodman in North America, Zanotti in Italy, and AHT in Austria.

Over the next decade, we foresee exponential growth in the Middle East and Africa regions as the global demand for air conditioning is on track to triple through 2050 according to the International Energy Agency.

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