Water resources affect not only the water used in the production process but also the procurement of raw materials. Droughts, floods, and water quality deterioration might also affect our production activities.
We are working to develop business plans in line with Group-wide targets and action plans, including formulating water management policies on a global basis and identifying risks by using AQUEDUCT provided by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Approach to water
We have listed the efficient utilization of water resources as one of the materialities of Resources and Environment.
In order to achieve effective use of water resources across the entire Group, the Global Working Team (currently the Global Team), under the ESG Committee, established a global policy on water in 2021. We will implement specific initiatives, including thorough management and effective use of water consumption and wastewater discharge, reuse of water and water conservation following this policy.
We strive to use water efficiently and manage wastewater responsibly.
Based on a new group policy formulated in 2023 regarding “Resources and Environment,” a materiality theme, we will continue striving to prevent pollution of air, soil, and water.
Targets and results
The Group believes it necessary to decrease dependency on water resources in order to achieve the materiality and is committed to managing water quality and reducing water usage.
We will strive to reduce water usage in production processes as well as effectively utilize water, such as through recycling, in accordance with the circumstances of each country and region. With an individual target set for each company and business site, we are implementing specific measures and managing their progress.
Example of water quality pollution prevention target
In Japan, we have established an even more stringent voluntary management standard than legal requirements through Responsible Care activities in striving to reduce environmental impacts.
For FY2021 targets and results, see the Environmental and safety management page.
Water management structure and plan
Management across the whole Group and at the company level
As part of efforts to address materiality, the Global Team that works directly under the Directors, Representative Executive Officers & Co-Presidents, carries out identification of issues and measures related to water risks, establishment of goals and action plans, and monitoring of progress.
Specifically, the Global Team shares the status from various regions where the Group has business operations, while learning about advanced examples within the Group. The Global Team also sets targets to be achieved globally and formulates measures that suit the situation in each region. In addition, the Global Team conducts discussions to identify and evaluate risks and opportunities pertaining to water risk and reports their outcomes to the Co-Presidents.
■ Reduction of water usage
The Group is committed to reducing water usage at each company and region with consideration for their respective water environments.
For example, in Japan, we are working to follow through on water conservation and reduction of water usage by streamlining the cleaning process and recycling cleaning water at production sites. Each company and plant is carrying out their own management plan and target setting with regard to water usage.
■ Prevention of water quality pollution
Although the water environment and water properties vary by each plant and region, voluntary standards that are more stringent than regulations have been established at many plants in striving to prevent pollution of water quality.
The management plan and targets on water quality are established by each company and plant.
Environmental management, including water, is incorporated into daily activities through Responsible Care activities. For details on the management system, please see here.
Water risks evaluation
Water stress is defined as facing persistent difficulties in water intake. Each plant of the top seven locations of water consumption within the Japan Group locations (Chiba, Takahama, Osaka, Hirakata, Okayama, Tochigi, and Toyoake) has been assessed for water stress level using the Aqueduct tool provided by World Resources Institute (WRI), and the results confirmed a low water stress level in terms of water intake.
Initiatives aimed at reducing water usage
In aiming to reduce the amount of water usage, we are conducting evaluation and management by water intensity at the company level.
Water intensity can be roughly divided into two categories: 1) water intensity used in the production process and 2) water intensity for raw materials.
1) In order to reduce water intensity in the production process, we are managing and assessing the specific amount of water usage in cleaning equipment at some plants, as well as have begun initiatives to reduce water intake by recycling coolant water.
Moreover, we have included checks on water saving efforts as part of the safety patrol (checks for leakage and overflow) and started to effectively utilize rainwater and treated water from wastewater treatment plants.
2) As for the reduction of water intensity for raw materials, while the amount of water used (water intake) for raw materials will unavoidably increase as paint becomes water-based, we are considering the development of or replacement with nonvolatile materials in the paint to reduce water content.
Example of powder paint—Chiba Plant
Powder paint is one example of a product with reduced water intensity in raw materials.
Powder paint, which does not contain water as a raw material, does not use any organic solvent and is recyclable and reusable as an uncoated paint; thus, generates zero waste. In addition, powder paintis conducive to labor-saving and automation. As such, we anticipate that the powder paint market will grow.
In 2019, we newly launched operations of the Chiba Plant, which is primarily involved in the manufacturing of powder paint. Moreover, we are considering a recovery system for paint that does not use water and chemicals for products other than powder paint.
We respond to surveys from CDP, an international non-profit organization. In fiscal 2022, we responded to the climate change questionnaire and water security questionnaire.
See here for our response to the CDP water security questionnaire.