Environment : Water Resource Conservation
Approach to Water Resource Conservation
It is said that available fresh water is only about 0.01% of the Earth's total water resources. In addition, the World Economic Forum, host of the Davos meetings, has stated in its annual report on global risks that the water crisis continues to be one of the top risks with global impact, in view of the increase in water consumption to be caused by future economic growth and population increases.
With water shortages becoming an increasingly grave social problem, Panasonic is working to conserve water resources both in its products and production activities, in order to fulfill its social responsibility and to reduce management risks. Our Environmental Policy stipulates that we make efforts to conserve water resources by using water efficiently and preventing pollution. In Green Plan 2018, our Environmental Action Plan toward fiscal 2019, we aim to expand the range of products that contribute to saving and recycling water. At the same time, we will work on conserving water resources throughout our business activities, in order to reduce the volume of water we consume and to use more recycled water in our production processes. In risk management, we are aiming to complete our water risk assessments for all our production sites by fiscal 2019.
Concrete action that we have taken for this includes an evaluation of the scale of water risks in all regions where our production sites are located, in order to identify and mitigate the impact of our production activities on our use of water.
In the evaluation, we employ evaluation tools such as the mapping tool Aqueduct by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Water Risk Filter by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which can not only assess the physical risks of water shortages but also examine the risks in water-related regulations as well as reputation risks in each region. We are also making use of public databases available from respective national governments. Going forward, we will conduct detailed analyses of regions with high water risks, closely examine production site data such as local information and water use volume, and specifically identify the impacts on our production activities. Additionally, we will work to conserve water resources and reduce business risks in regions where water risks are determined to be high, by focusing on promotions to reduce water consumption and expand water recycling.
To promote such activities, we have established an Environmental Management System for these activities including water management, under the executive officer in charge of environmental affairs (Senior Managing Director Yoshiyuki Miyabe as of August 2016), and are aiming to raise the environmental management level by implementing the PDCA cycle.
In addition, we have established an Environmental Risk Management System to continuously reduce risks, and (1) identify environmental risks and promote company-wide risk management every fiscal year and (2) promptly respond to occurrence of environmental risks. We will continue to manage our environmental risks through these activities.
We are also a member of the Water Project, a public-private collaborative project aimed at boosting awareness, organized under the initiative of Japan's Ministry of the Environment in 2014. Its objective is to maintain a sound water cycle and promote its recovery, and presents water-related activities by business corporations as well as communicates of information on the importance of water as its activities. We will work in cooperation with the Japanese government and other companies to conserve water resources.
Water Resource Conservation through Products
By thoroughly analyzing the use of water through our products, we have developed functionalities that allow a considerable amount of water conservation by utilizing water at a maximum level through improvement of water flow control and cyclic use. In fiscal 2012, we enhanced one of the criteria, water conservation, in our accreditation criteria, and are speeding up the development of industry-leading products that contribute to water saving.
In December 2015, the K Series built-in dishwashers were released with an improved ECONAVI function. In addition to sensors detecting the amount of dirt and dishes, a new sensor, "room temperature sensor", was added to enable a more detailed control.
These sensors detect various conditions to determine the optimum settings for dishwashing operation, such as the number of rinses, the temperature of hot-water rinsing and the drying time, and the heating time depending on the dirt amount, the amount of dishes, and the room temperature, respectively. This ECONAVI function reduces energy consumption volume by up to 12%*1, water consumption volume by up to 17%*1, and annual running costs by about 2,000 yen compared to the operation without ECONAVI function. These models are also equipped with double-layered washer nozzles called planet arm nozzles. The lower nozzle slowly rotates and powerfully sprays washing water to scrape dirt off dishes, while the upper nozzle rotates at a high speed to thoroughly spread washing water around a dishwasher in the high density. Owing to the combination of the two water stream, volume of water consumption throughout washing operation is reduced an approx. 18%*2.
*1 Data for the NP-45KD7 Series.
*2 Compared the conventional NP-45MD5 Series (11 liters of water used in normal washing operation) to the new NP-45KD7 Series (9 liters of water used in normal washing operation).
K Series built-in dishwasher
Electric Home Shower
The Electric Home shower model DH-3KD/4KD/6KDH Series has been marketed in countries including Malaysia and Thailand. By adopting the hybrid shower pump system (e-hybrid) to mix fine air particles into the water., the pump sends approx. 1.5 liters of air into the water per minute (which means, it can mix approx. 15,000 of 0.15 cc-size air particles per minute) when using the shower with a normal amount of water. Therefore, comparing to a general hot water shower system, these products are able to reduce the water usage and power consumption required to heat the water by 20%. Another benefit is that mixing copious amounts of air particles is also beneficial to improve the blood circulation.
DH 3KD/4KD/6KDH Series electric home shower
EcoCute Home CO2 Heat Pump Water Heater
The EcoCute HE-JPU37HXS launched in November 2015 was designed with a new improved refrigerant pipe shape in the heat pump unit water heat exchanger, along with the industry's first double vacuum insulation material for the hot water tank. It satisfies the fiscal 2017 Energy Efficiency Standards with an Annual Water Heating & Heat Retention Efficiency (JIS) of 3.8*3, which is one of the highest performances in the industry.
The model is also equipped with the industry's first Temperature Selection Function*4 that allows the bath water temperature to be lowered without adding any water. Because the water temperature can be lowered by recovering only the heat from the water back into the hot water tank, the water can be set evenly to the desired temperature and save water usage.
*3 For home heat pump water heaters, based on a survey by Panasonic, as of September 28, 2015. The HE-JPU37HXS Annual Water Heating & Heat Retention Efficiency (JIS) represents the amount of heat and heat retention for bath water per power consumption unit when operating the heat pump water heater in the same conditions throughout the year. This shows the water heating and heat retention efficiency, taking account of actual usage by consumers. As the figures are for the energy-saving mode (automatic), they may vary depending on region, selected modes, or other operating conditions.
*4 For home heat pump water heaters, based on a survey by Panasonic, as of September 28, 2015. The Temperature Selection Function enables users to set the bath water to the desired temperature using a remote controller in the kitchen, and is installed only on the full auto models of the JP Series and the J Series.
EcoCute HE-JPU37HXS Home CO2 Heat Pump Water Heater
The New A-La-Uno V Tankless Toilet released in December 2015 focuses on water saving performance just as its predecessor, the new A-La-Uno high-end model that was certified as a Super GP in fiscal 2015. The bowl is made of an organic glass that prevents water stains from forming and reduces the amount of water and detergent required for cleaning. Water flow is controlled by a special design that ensures a reliable flush with a small amount of water. The toilet's thoroughly streamlined shape and seamless design also makes cleaning easy just by wiping, further reducing the amount of detergent and water used.
New A-La-Uno V tankless toilet
Initiatives for Water Resource Conservation through Production Activities
By collecting and reusing wastewater from our manufacturing processes and air conditioning systems, we reduce the amount of water use and wastewater effluent. This reduces the impact of the intake and effluent of water in production activities on water resources. With many regions around the world threatened by water shortages, we focus on certain regions to address our use of water in our activities.
Water used at factories in fiscal 2016 resulted in 28.89 million m3, reduced by 10.8% compared to fiscal 2015. The water used at our factories per basic unit of production*1 improved year-on-year due to consolidation of manufacturing business sites by structural reform and other factors. Our use of recycled water*2 in fiscal 2016 amounted to 8.92 million m3, accounting for 31% of our total water consumption. Discharged water in fiscal 2014, 2015, and 2016 resulted in 31.68 million m3, 24.21 million m3, and 22.46 million m3 respectively.
*1 Water used at factories per basic unit of production = Water used at factories / Production volume.
*2 The calculation excludes the water circulating for a single purpose (e.g. water in a cooling tower).
Note: Then-SANYO Electric and Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display not included in fiscal 2010.
FY2016 Breakdown of Water Consumption (by region)
Water Consumption Per Basic Unit of Consolidated Sales*3 for Fiscal 2016
*3 Water consumption per basic unit of consolidated sales = water consumption/consolidated sales.
In the Automotive & Industrial Systems Company under the Panasonic Group water used at factories in fiscal 2016 resulted in 17.26 million m3, against a target of 18.5 million m3. We are also active in making use of recycled water.
Panasonic Technopark in India is designed to recycle 100% of the water used at the plant as part of the sustainable use of water resources.
Ground water is used inside the plant and undergoes wastewater treatment after use.
Rather than discharging the water into sewage or rivers, it is reused as toilet flushing water and for lawn sprinkling, and is recirculated again as ground water. Also, the necessary ground water level for the land area has been calculated to prevent water consumption beyond what is necessary, thereby contributing to ground water preservation.