Our environmental protection measures include efforts for the achievement of a low-carbon society, the establishment of a circular economy, and the preservation of biodiversity.
As a participant in the Commitment to a Low Carbon Society launched in April 2013 by the Japan Chemical Industry Association and Nippon Keidanren, the Asahi Kasei Group is implementing activities in line with this commitment. We will also pursue activities under global indicators and targets set for our overseas manufacturing sites as well.
In June 2014, we established a Global Environment Action Committee. We are now able to act more swiftly and deeply to contribute to a low-carbon society and other global environmental protection measures.
The Asahi Kasei Group's activities for building a low-carbon society
- 1.Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Asahi Kasei Group
- (1) GHG emissions in Japan
- (2)Scope 3 emissions
- 2.Helping reduce CO2 emissions throughout the entire lifecycle of products
- 3.Making international contributions
- 4.Developing innovative new technologies
The Asahi Kasei Group's environmental initiative framework
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the Asahi Kasei Group
CO2 and GHG emissions in Japan
The Asahi Kasei Group's GHG emissions in Japan from production processes in fiscal 2016 were equivalent to 3.03 million tons of CO2, which represents a reduction of 49% compared to the 5.92 million tons from our baseline year of fiscal 2005. Significant factors that contributed to this reduction include the suspension of ammonia, benzene, and ethylene production, and the start of biomass power generation. Compared to the emissions level in 1990, the index year set under the Kyoto Protocol, we continue to maintain a reduction of GHG emissions by more than 70%, most notably through the development of technology for thermal decomposition nitrous oxide (N2O) byproduct.
Scope 3* emissions
The domestic Japanese portion of Scope 3 emissions over time has been calculated for all operations except Asahi Kasei Pharma, yielding data on 99% of such emissions for the entire Asahi Kasei Group. Our Scope 3 emissions have steadily declined from fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2016, with some fluctuation due to the global financial crisis, and in fiscal 2016 they were some 32% lower than in fiscal 2005. This reduction can be attributed to the closure of our naphtha cracker as part of a structural improvement in Mizushima which reduced Category 12 emissions (end-of-life disposal of sold products) and to the launch and growing sales of Hebel Haus™ products with power generation, efficiency, and conservation functions which reduced Category 11 emissions (use of sold products).
Global GHG emissions
Although GHG emissions in Japan have been decreasing by a wide margin as a result of various efforts and structural reforms, GHG emissions overseas have been increasing due to the start-up of new plants. The Asahi Kasei Group will employ a range of measures to further reduce total global GHG emissions toward a target to be achieved in 2030, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Fiscal 2016 Scope 1 CO2 emissions were 2.84 million tons and fiscal 2016 Scope 2 CO2 emissions were 1.02 million tons.
The Asahi Kasei Group's efforts to reduce CO2 and GHG emissions in Japan
Alleviating the environmental effects of physical distribution
Product shipments for Asahi Kasei Group operations in Japan amounted to some 1.2 billion ton-kilometers in fiscal 2016—a 3% decrease from fiscal 2015—generating approximately 100 thousand tons of CO2 emissions—a 3% decrease. In cooperation with the transport firms contracted for shipment, a wide range of measures are employed to reduce energy consumption and alleviate the environmental effects of physical distribution.
Asahi Kasei has received Eco-Rail Mark certification in recognition of our preferential shipment of products by rail, an ecological mode of transport which results in lower CO2 emissions for a given weight and distance than many other means of transportation.
Use of low-pollution vehicles
The Asahi Kasei Group is phasing in low-pollution vehicles for use in marketing and within plant grounds. In fiscal 2016, some 82% of company-owned vehicles were low-pollution vehicles
The Asahi Kasei Group has 9 hydroelectric power generation plants in the Nobeoka Region, which provided 14% of the total electricity we used in Japan. Generation of the equivalent amount of power at thermoelectric plants would result in approximately 180 thousand tons* of CO2 emissions annually. Furthermore, our biomass power generation facility in Nobeoka started operation in August 2012.
Reducing CO2 emissions throughout the product life cycle
Life cycle assessment of reduced CO2 emission
Although CO2 is generated during the manufacture of materials and intermediate products in the Asahi Kasei Group, there are also many examples of products which contribute to reduced CO2 emissions during use. LCA calculation takes such contribution into account and determines the amount of CO2 reduction achieved over the product life cycle. By expanding sales of such products and commercializing new products and technologies that enable significant reduction of CO2 emission based on LCA, we contribute to the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emission throughout the supply chain.
Global warming conscious products
In April 2013, we formulated guidelines on global warming conscious products. Having formulated a similar set of guidelines in 2003 for eco-friendly products, the Asahi Kasei Group decided to formulate a new set of guidelines for global warming conscious products given recent demand both in Japan and overseas.
In accordance with these guidelines, we have certified the products in the following chart as global warming conscious products.
Hall ICs and Hall elements for air conditioner DC motors, ion-exchange membrane process for the caustic soda production, and synthetic rubber for fuel-efficient tires are used in the US, the EU, and Asia. These products and technologies produce less CO2 when used compared to the conventional alternatives. We continue R&D to create new eco-friendly products and technologies that will increase our contribution to reduced CO2 emissions.
Development of innovative technologies
We are working to develop innovative technologies such as lithium-ion battery separators for electric vehicles that enable dramatically lower CO2 emissions than conventional vehicles, and fuel cell membranes that enable lower CO2 emissions than conventional use of city gas or propane at home.