Conservation of Water Resources
Working to Preserve Water Resources as a Precious Natural Resource
Basic ConceptIdentifying the Impact of Water Resources on Business Continuity and Reflecting this into Our BCP
The Sekisui Chemical Group is working to reach its targets—contributing to the return of natural capital through products, reducing environmental impacts, and engaging in environment-contributing activities—as envisioned by the Sekisui Environment Sustainability Vision 2030, which was formulated in 2014. To this end, the Group has formulated a Environmental Medium-term Plan, in which the following initiatives are considered key issues: reducing water use; identifying water-related risks, including impacts on supply chains and the natural environment; conducting environmental education targeting management and employees; and providing information to stakeholders.
In order to supply products for infrastructure for water supply, storage and drainage, the Sekisui Chemical Group recognizes that conveying the importance of safe water supply and water infrastructure to customers is critical for business sustainability. In addition, the Group also realizes that contributions to preserving water resources through its businesses will help achieve one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “access to safe drinking water and sanitation.” As for specific initiatives, we have determined the impact (risks and opportunities) of water resources on business continuity and have reflected this into our business and environmental plans. In addition, we conduct surveys of suppliers and procured materials that include water-related risks during procurement, recognizing that such risks pose difficulties for sustaining procurement from suppliers.
Assessment of Water-related RisksConducting Water Risk Surveys at All Production Sites and Research Institutes
The Sekisui Chemical Group has conducted water risk surveys at all of its production sites and research institutes since fiscal year 2013 using a mapping tool for water-related risks (Aqueduct: Aqueduct Overall Water Risk map)* based on the water-related information for every location where the Group operates. Regarding water intake, we assess future intake potential, check whether there are water outages, and monitor fluctuations in water quality. We also summarize responses from our own surveys of each of our production sites and research institutes. The surveys mainly concern wastewater drainage destinations, downstream usage of wastewater, water quality regulatory trends, and water quality measurements. The evaluation criteria of the questionnaire used in the surveys are used to collect information regarding water sources, supply restrictions, and more, and are designed to be capable of being used to predict future water shortages. They also include items regarding water quality, information on supply restrictions, costs, wastewater treatment, the water quality of wastewater, trends in regulations, changes in the numbers of businesses and population figures, the possibility of floods, and needs for water-related investments. We hold interviews at each production site or research institute deemed to have high water-related risks based on survey results.
Prior to undertaking large-scale developments (such as factory construction), new investment and M&A, we employ the Environmental Safety Check Sheet that is later used to examine capacity expenditures, convene a commission to examine capacity expenditures that include environmental considerations, and conduct other environmental assessments that include water risks.
In development of new products also, we implement design reviews based on the Environmental Impact Assessment List to evaluate the impact of our products on the environment.
- A global map showing water-related risks / information tool developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI)
Impact of Water-related Risks on BusinessDirect Impact on Operations
As production sites in Japan manufacturing synthetic resins drain their wastewater directly into rivers or the sea / ocean, even though the water quality of the wastewater complies with the present control levels, we understand that if any changes to, reinforcements of, etc. of the laws and regulations regarding water quality of drainage are implemented in the future, it may cause major impact on the continuity of our business activities.
For that reason, we check on a continuous basis the future trends in regulations at every area our business bases are located in, and, at the same time, to improve the water quality of drainage, implement Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) tests assessing the effect of drainage on the ecological system. If any negative impact is identified with the WET tests, we investigate the causes and strive to eliminate them using the PDCA cycle to reduce the impact of water-related risks as much as possible.
Risks Identified, Their Potential Impact on Operations, and Strategies for MitigationImpact on Supply Chain
Manufacturers of steel materials used in the Housing Business and manufacturers of synthetic resins used in the Plastics Business are suppliers of primary materials of the Sekisui Chemical Group that consume large quantities of fresh water during manufacture. Although we do not directly encourage such suppliers to conform to environmental standards, with our Sekisui Environmental Sustainability Index we calculate as 'use of natural capital' the environmental impact of the pollutants contained in drainage generated during manufacture of primary materials and monitor it on a continual basis. At the same time, we monitor reduction of impact on water environment made possible through our business activities, expansion of products and services contributing to water environment, and other aspects, through which we contribute to the environment, calculating them as our returns to the natural capital. The goal is to reach the Sekisui Environmental Sustainability Index of returns to the natural capital of 100% or more by 2030.
Contribution to Reduction of Water-related Risks Through Operations
The Sekisui Chemical Group develops a range of businesses related to water infrastructure, such as supply, storage, and drainage of water, contributing to the society not only by technologies and products that help to improve the quality of drainage, such as water treatment systems and drain pipes, but also by creating strong water infrastructure made to withstand natural disasters.
In 2017, we entered into a business partnership with TIEN PHONG PLASTIC JOINT STOCK COMPANY, one of the most prominent plastic pipe manufacturers in Vietnam, thus advancing into the infrastructure business in newly emerging nations. This and other initiatives were launched with a view to do our share to reduce water-related risks across the world. By popularizing the high-quality water infrastructure-related products of the Sekisui Chemical Group in newly emerging nations, and in particular by offering highly efficient joint products that reduce the likelihood of leaks and ensure the supply of sanitary water, as well as by preventing inflows of rainwater into sewage disposal plants, we are making our contribution to reducing water-related risks that often plague newly emerging nations.
We shall make full use of our production base in Vietnam in the future and strive to promote popularization of high-quality, reliable water infrastructure also in other countries of the ASEAN.
Activity Policy and Reduction TargetsTarget an Annual 1% Reduction in Water Usage, Making Fiscal 2016 the Base Year
The Sekisui Chemical Group draws the water it needs to use in its business activities from public water systems, wa ter systems for industrial use, underground reservoirs, and surrounding rivers. With the understanding that water is a precious natural resource shared by everyone in the community, we do our best to reduce the amount of water used, such as by reusing cooling water.
Under its Environmental Medium-term Plan, which began in fiscal 2017, the Sekisui Group targets a 1% annual reduction in water usage (intake volume), with fiscal 2016 serving as the base year. At the same time, the Group has set the goal for reducing the impact of wastewater chemical oxygen demand (COD) by 1% annually.
Reduce the Amount of Water UsedThe Amount of Water Used Increased by 3.1%, Compared to the Base Fiscal Year
The amount of water used in fiscal year 2017 increased by 3.1%, relative to results in the base fiscal year of 2016. As a means to understand the impact of wastewater on nature, we have been conducting assessments* on the im pact of wastewater discharged from our production sites on living organisms since fiscal 2013. In fiscal 2017, we investigated the reasons behind the impacts identified by surveys conducted at our business facilities. As measures to counter water intake risks, we began conducting for the first time risk assessments focusing on the sustainable use of ground water at business sites that use pumped up ground water.
Ongoing Monitoring of Water RisksContinuously Assess Water Extracted from Production Sites and Wastewater Risk
In fiscal years 2014 and 2015, we surveyed 98 production sites and R&D laboratories around the world to gain a firm understanding of our sources of water, destinations for wastewater, the current and future prospects of continuing to acquire water, and related matters. As a result, we now understand there are major differences in water supply volume and water quality by region, although the in-depth survey did not identify any water supply risks, such as potential increases in costs or restrictions on water sources that would be severe enough to adversely impact production activities. We also found out that there are many business sites that rely on ground water as their main water source. Of particular significance, 18 business sites, accounting for 35% of all business sites in Japan, use ground water or spring water (including industrial water in some cases), and 44% of the total amount of water intake for all domestic business sites depends on ground water or spring water.
Although ground water is a cheap and very effective source of water, due to unforeseen factors it may become impossible to use it in the future, and we perceive it as a risk to our business continuity.
That is why from fiscal 2017, we started to create a tool for quantitative assessment of ground water risk using our own original method and already launched risk surveys at two business sites to serve as a model for the rest. The assessment tool allows us to apprise the risks from three viewpoints, namely, susceptibility, concerns in the area, and future changes. The tool uses five evaluation criteria of abundance of ground water, amount of water used by the business site, environmental changes in the surrounding area, restrictions by laws and regulations, and changes of amounts used / precipitation; it consists of twelve assessment indices.
In fiscal 2018, we shall implement risk assessment at all business sites that use ground water in Japan ensuring that every effort is made to preserve water resources shared in each basin.
Example of Ground Water Risk Assessmentt
Water RecyclingRecycling Cooling Water Used for Plastic Moldings
The Sekisui Chemical Group promotes the reuse of water in its production processes and the use of recycled water in order to reduce the amount of water it draws from water sources. At the production plants of Urban Infrastructure & Environmental Products Company and High Performance Plastics Company, large volumes of cooling water is recycled and reused in manufacturing processes. In fiscal 2017, at production sites in Japan and overseas, we used 105 million cubic meters of recycled water. This is equivalent to 5 times the amount of water drawn from all other sources.
The main water supply for Kurohama Lake—which has been designated as a natural conservation area in Saitama Prefecture—is wastewater from the Musashi Plant (located in Hasuda City) that has been purified in accordance with environmental standards.
Some past figures have been revised due to improvements in precision.
Water Withdrawal Amount at Production Sites / Japan
Water Withdrawal Amount at Production Sites / Overseas
Water Withdrawal Amount by Source at Production Sites / Japan・Overseas
(thousands of ㎥/year)
FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 Public Water Systems 3,016 3,143 3,200 Water for Factory Use 13,656 14,939 15,085 Underground Water 2,172 1,788 1,803 Rainwater 0 0 0 Other 951 752 1,156
The "Other" portion of water withdrawal consists primarily of water acquired directly from rivers.
Wastewater Discharge by Destination at Production Sites / Japan・Overseas
(thousands of ㎥/year)
FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 River 11,018 10,993 11,473 Agricultural Water Channel 564 248 176 The Oceans 2,741 2,892 2,503 Sewers 2,897 3,511 3,699 Other 1,555 1,498 1,464
The "Other" portion of wastewater discharge consists primarily of processing in facilities in industrial parks.
Water Withdrawal Amount by Source and by Region at Production Sites in FY2017
(thousands of ㎥/year)
|Japan||China||The Rest of Asia plus Oceania||Europe||Americas||Total|
|Public Water Systems||651||298||199||1,837||215||3,200|
|Water for Factory Use||12,233||0||853||46||1,954||15,085|
Wastewater Discharge by Destination and by Region at Production Sites in FY2017
(thousands of ㎥/year)
|Japan||China||The Rest of Asia plus Oceania||Europe||Americas||Total|
|Agricultural Water Channel||174||0||2||0||0||176|
|Water withdrawal amount||Water withdrawal amount = Amount of public water systems + Amount of water for factory use +
Amount of underground water taken on site + Amount of rainwater + Other water withdrawal*
COD Emission Volume / Japan
|COD emission volume||Emission volume = Σ[COD concentration (annual average of measured value) x Drainage volume]|