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Ceremony held in celebration of launching Weathernews France

Why Weathernews is focusing on “environmental weather markets” this time

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Ceremony held in celebration of launching Weathernews France
Weathernews has positioned the Energy, Consumer Product Goods & Retail, Supply Chain and Agricultural markets as “environmental weather markets” from 2017. Weathernews acquisition of Metnext SA (Metnext); European weather company on January 16th, pave the way for deploying Weathernews France services for “environmental weather markets” globally. On February 2nd, the Weathernews France launch ceremony was held, where 25 staff members from Weathernews France, Weathernews President & Representative Director Kusabiraki, and 5 members of the project team gathered together for the event. Everyone in attendance shared a vision for the future and strengthened their bonds of trust over a glass of champagne.

25 staff from Weathernews France, Weathernews President & Representative Director Kusabiraki, and 5 members of the project team
Live connecting Weathernews France in Paris, Weathernews Global Center in Japan and other offices in Europe and USA

Speech from Thomas Skov, Executive Officer of Weathernews Inc.

With Weathernews France capabilities a new opportunity is opening up for our customers, our staff and our supporters. We will now have a 3rd leg on our solution offering, where previously we have been focusing only on providing high level solutions Shipping and Airline companies in Europe, we now have solutions that bring tangible value to both Energy, Consumer Goods, Supply Chain, and Agriculture companies. Not only customers in France will benefit from the solutions, also Weathernews customer and organization throughout Europe will be able to service and value creation.

Thomas Skov, Executive Officer of Weathernews Inc.

Until now, Weathernews has provided services in Japan for the Energy, Consumer Product Goods & Retail, Supply Chain and Agriculture industries. We asked the project leader, Mitsuhiro Ogata, why these are being positioned as “environmental weather markets” now, and why services will be developed in Europe instead of Japan.

- First of all, what kind of markets do “environmental weather markets” refer to?
“Environmental meteorology weather markets” are markets that are affected by the environment or have an impact on the environment. For example, with energy, everyone uses heating when it is cold and air conditioning when it is hot. This results in an increase in electricity consumption, and power companies work hard to generate power to provide this electricity. That is, changes in the weather lead to changes in how people feel, and the impact on the environment is increased due to the consumption of fuel and emission of CO2 in that process. However, electricity essentially cannot be stored. Even if the effort is made to burn fuel to generate power, if the temperature does not fall as low as expected, people will not use their heating and the surplus electricity is discarded. The same applies in factory & retail because people’s preferences and consumption changes according to changes in the weather. If stock is unsold due to misreading the weather, it must be discarded, and waste disposal sites must operate to process the discarded items, resulting in a significant impact on the environment. It is the same in agriculture.

Mitsuhiro Ogata, Environmental Weather Markets Leader, Weathernews France Establishment Project Leader

- Until now, Weathernews has provided services to these markets in Japan, but why are you focusing on “environmental weather markets” this time around?
There are three key points behind this decision.
The first is the increase in the need to reduce the impact on the environment using the weather. One part of the backdrop to this is the “Paris Agreement” aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the end of the 21st century. In particular, Europe is moving with considerable speed to eliminate all waste. Eliminating waste could be rephrased as “not having excess inventory”. Electricity, food and crops all result in unnecessary consumption of fuel and the emission of greenhouse gases in the process of producing and disposing of excess inventory. Conversely, by understanding changes in the weather and climate and producing the optimal amount required by people, it is possible to reduce the environmental impact. There are heightened needs for the use of meteorological information because customers are directly faced with this issue particularly in “environmental weather markets”.

The second key point is the relationship with “transportation weather markets”.
Until now, we have supported “transportation weather markets” carrying materials using shipping, aviation, railways and road transportation. The cargo being carried by cargo ships and trucks is also “inventory in transport”. By utilizing our service know-how in transportation weather markets, we can support the overall optimization of the supply chain, including the inventory in transport of customers in environmental weather markets who are receiving transportation services.

The third key point is the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy such as solar and wind power that is progressing globally. Needless to say, this is significantly affected by the natural environment such as sunlight and wind, and detailed weather information is required for providing stable power generation and predicting the optimal balance of supply and demand. Furthermore, in order to construct new facilities such as offshore wind power, it is necessary to determine whether it is possible to safely transport materials and conduct work. We can utilize know-how such as that on logistics support and marine construction support which we have provided inside and outside Japan in the past.

- Why did you acquire the French weather company Metnext and welcome it into the Weathernews Group as Weathernews France?
In order to launch our business in environmental weather markets, we formulated a strategy of starting from Europe where these are the most developed. To achieve this, we felt it was necessary to have a partner that is well-positioned and has business sense in these markets, rather than attempt to do it alone. In this context, we were fortunate to meet Mr. Patrice, who founded Metnext, and we found that they were providing services to the energy, factory & retail, and agriculture markets in Europe that we were focusing on. Also, one of the strengths of Weathernews is communication during navigation decision-making, etc. while Metnext’s strengths are in preliminary investigations and post-project evaluation, and we felt that we could create a relationship in which we utilize each other’s strengths to compensate for our current weaknesses. In addition, another key point was that they have a geographical advantage, and will be able to promote the Weathernews Group’s creation of partnerships in Europe. Their corporate philosophy to “help all people through weather” is extremely compatible with the Weathernews corporate philosophy of “help people when it matters” and this was a deciding factor for welcoming them to the Weathernews Group as Weathernews France.

- What will the schedule for service development be?
The development of services is slated to be completed in 2017 while holding discussions with symbolic customers(*) representative of the respective markets in Japan and France. We would like them to be used by more customers from 2018. The key to service development is how we communicate with symbolic customers and create services that produce value for the market as a whole. Developing and deploying new services with a new partner is challenging for Weathernews. We want to clear each issue we face with “Co-growth” as our watchword, and provide new value to customers.

*Symbolic customer
A customer representative of a market that has built a long-standing partnership of “co-evolving and co-creating” with the Weathernews Group.