Reduction of the Release of Harmful Chemical Substances
We aim to reduce the release of harmful chemical substances and discontinue their use.
The Sumitomo Electric Group is making efforts to reduce the release of harmful chemical substances that cause environmental pollution, including the curtailment of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. When we submit reports in accordance with the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) every fiscal year, the PRTR system we have developed is used to identify the amounts of chemical substances that are handled and also calculate the amount of these PRTR-designated substances to be released and transferred. In the meantime, we discontinued the use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) substitutes in fiscal 2004. And we discontinued the use of hazardous chlorinated VOCs such as trichloroethylene in fiscal 2011.
Reduction of VOC Emissions
Since fiscal 2006, the Sumitomo Electric Group has promoted activities to cut the atmospheric release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from Sumitomo Electric and its affiliates in Japan. While this program originally covered any VOC whose emissions from a site were five tons or more per year, we expanded the coverage in the Action ECO-21 (Phase IV) campaign to include any VOC whose annual emissions are two tons or more with an aim to further reduce VOC emissions. We have also started the reduction efforts in overseas affiliates. We also promote the initiative in the overseas affiliates that discharge 5 tons or more of VOCs yearly. While the target for 2014 was the reduction of the emissions by 2% from the 2012 level, due to production growth in overseas affiliates, the emissions in fiscal 2014 increased by 8.0% from the fiscal 2012.
Discontinued Use of Trichloroethylene, etc.
The entire Sumitomo Electric Group, including overseas affiliates, is committed to discontinuing the use of trichloroethylene and other chlorinated VOCs that are designated as hazardous air pollutants by the Air Pollution Control Law. Consequently, the whole Group, including overseas affiliates, has discontinued the use of chlorinated VOCs in fiscal 2011.
Release and Transfer of Chemical Substances Specified in the PRTR Law
Sumitomo Electric and its domestic affiliates, using the PRTR system developed by the Company, identify the amounts of chemical substances specified by the PRTR Law* that are handled by these companies on a monthly basis, and also calculate the amount of these PRTR-designated substances released and transferred in order to annually report the same in accordance with the law.
Measures against Dioxins
The aluminum alloy manufacturing facility and its exhaust gas purification facility at Sumitomo Electric Toyama Co., Ltd. are subject to the Law Concerning Special Measures against Dioxins. We have ensured that emissions from these facilities remain within regulated standards.
Measures against Asbestos
The revised Industrial Safety and Health Law prohibits the use of asbestos in products. SEI has already completed measures to switch from asbestos to substitutes and currently produces no product that uses asbestos.
Previously, asbestos was used for electric wires/cables and some accessories requiring fire- and heat-resistance, as well as for disk brake pads, which require resistance to abrasion. In normal use, none of these products pose any risk of asbestos dispersion. However, when a product containing asbestos is crushed or cut during demolition, particles of asbestos may be dispersed. In compliance with the Waste Disposal and Public Cleaning Law, we provide the relevant information to customers receiving delivery of our products that contain asbestos, and the customers dispose of the products in an appropriate manner.
In addition, observing the Asbestos Disorder Prevention Act, which took effect in July 2005, we conducted a group-wide survey of areas in which asbestos is used in buildings. Although we have located the areas in which we should take measures to prevent asbestos dispersion, the results of working environmental measurements have proven that no dispersal has occurred in any of these identified areas. We have promoted and completed measures to remove, seal and enclose the asbestos in the applicable building areas.
Soil and Groundwater Remediation
We disclosed the pollution status of three major works (Osaka, Itami and Yokohama) in August 2001. At those three works and other domestic sites where pollution has been identified through our surveys conducted thus far, we are continuing soil and groundwater remediation by soil replacement, groundwater pumping and soil gas absorption. We also conduct groundwater monitoring on a regular basis, and have confirmed that the pollution has not spread outside the contaminated sites.
* Concrete activities are published in the CSR Reports for the respective fiscal years.