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
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 an 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, 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
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)* and proprietary surveys. These proprietary surveys use factors related to water intake such as future increases in water intake and presence or absence and frequency of water outages, as well as water quality fluctuation issues, factors related to wastewater such as wastewater destinations and usage conditions downstream from wastewater, water quality regulation trends, and water quality measurements to compile the current conditions, predicting future water shortages based on water source conditions, supplier water supply restrictions, and other related factors. In addition, the surveys also include items related to wastewater processing facilities, wastewater quality, changes in business and population size, possibilities of flooding, and the necessity for water-related investment. 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)
Water risk survey results (ratio of production sites and research institutes judged to have risks)
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.
Note:For more information about assessments of the impact of wastewater on aquatic life, see "Conserving the Natural Environment."
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 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 Environment 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 Environment Sustainability Index of returns to the natural capital of 100% or more by 2030.
Contribution to Reduction of Water-related Risks Through Operations
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.
For example, one of our Environment-Contributing Products which is being marketed in Japan, India, China, Taiwan, and other ASEAN areas, the “Cross Wave*” rainwater collection system, is used for the prevention of chronic water shortages and to achieve both greening of urban areas and disaster prevention. Since 2010, we have been continually working to reduce water-related disaster risks such as flooding through this product.
In fiscal 2018, we made further contributions to infrastructure business with Cross Wave, including participation in planning such as the Indian government’s smart city project.
* Cross Wave: Rainwater storage system. This molded product made from recycled plastic creates an underground space which is used to store rainwater. It regulates the rain volume flowing into sewer systems and rivers during torrential rains and makes reuse of rainwater possible.
Activity Policy and Reduction TargetsTarget an Annual 1% Reduction in Water Usage, Making Fiscal 2016 the Base Year
Sekisui Chemical Group draws the water it needs to use in its business activities from public water systems, water 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 (2017 – 2019), Sekisui Chemical 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 3.0%, Compared to the Base Fiscal Year
The amount of water used in fiscal year 2018 increased by 3.0%, relative to results in the base fiscal year of 2016.
This is due to the reduction activities being insufficient to cover the increased usage resulting from the larger number of production sites and expanded production volume due to M&A.
As a specific initiative specialized for production sites with especially large water intake and wastewater COD output volume, we have started proactive reduction goal setting and considerations for facility improvement. We are using the environmental contribution investment framework to provide the necessary investment for this purpose and support these sites.
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 fi rm 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.
In fiscal year 2017, we created a tool for qualitative assessment of ground water risks using our own original method. 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 12 assessment indices.
In fiscal year 2018, using the evaluation tool created, we implemented risk assessment at all business sites that use ground water in Japan, extracted the three sites with the greatest risks, and also added the two sites with the largest comparative volume of water intake to our considerations. For these five production sites, we analyzed hypothetical scenarios resulting from climate change due to global warming and estimated future ground water replenishment.
Regarding wastewater risks, we have been using assessment of the effects of wastewater on biodiversity in the surrounding area as a means for wastewater WET tests of production sites since fiscal year 2013. In fiscal year 2018, we also continued the implementation of investigations into the causes at sites where effects on biodiversity were discovered up until now and were able to identify specific causative agents.
- Note: For more information about assessments of the impact of wastewater on aquatic life, see "Conserving the Natural Environment."
Example of Ground Water Risk Assessment
Water RecyclingRecycling Cooling Water Used for Plastic Moldings
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 2018, at production sites in Japan and overseas, we used 104 million cubic meters of recycled water. This is equivalent to 5 times the amount of water used 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.
- For more information about Kurohama Lake, see the page below.
Some past figures have been revised due to improvements in precision.
Water Intake Volume at Production Sites / Japan
Water Intake Volume at Production Sites / Overseas
Water Intake Volume at Production Sites by Water Source Type / Japan and Overseas
|Public Water Systems||3,016||3,143||3,200||3,374|
|Water for Factory Use||13,656||14,939||15,085||15,682|
- "Other" refers to the direct use of river water domestically and purchase of purified water overseas.
Wastewater Volume at Production Sites by Discharge Destination / Japan and Overseas
- "Other" refers to drainage to industrial park waste water treatment facilities.
Fiscal 2018 Water Intake Volume at Production Sites by Region
|Japan||China||The Rest of
Asia and Oceania
|Public Water Systems||673||324||216||1,834||327||3,374|
|Water for Factory Use||12,547||0||729||32||2,374||15,682|
Fiscal 2018 Wastewater Volume at Production Sites by Region and Discharge Destination
|Japan||China||The Rest of
Asia and Oceania
|Water intake volume||Water intake volume = Amount of public water systems + Amount of water for factory use + Amount of underground water taken on site + Amount of rainwater + Other water intake*
COD Emission Volume / Japan
|COD emission volume||Emission volume = Σ[COD concentration (annual average of measured value) x Drainage volume]|