Group-wide Systems to Manage Environmental Risks

As a tool to continuously reduce environmental risks, Panasonic has established an Environmental Risk Management System specific to each Company. In accordance with the basic risk management policy for all Companies, we promote (1) identification of environmental risks and group-wide risk management each year, and (2) ensuring quick responses to reported environmental risks.

To identify environmental risks and implement the management system, environmental risks are identified for each Company and for each region in the world each year. From these risks, environmental risks on a group-wide level are selected. The risks that show a high level of frequency or seriously impact business management are designated as major risks and prioritized in planning and executing risk-reducing measures. These measures are implemented for each major risk, and progress is monitored and followed up on a quarterly basis in the PDCA cycle.

When an environmental risk is found, the relevant Company, related job functions, and Regional Headquarters collaborate to promptly implement emergency measures and recurrence prevention measures adapted to the risk level. Also, the management flow in case of risk discovery is standardized to prevent the occurrence of secondary risks as a result of confusion.

Classification of Environmental Risks and Countermeasure Implementation

Plan (Planning), Do (Implementation), Check (Monitoring progress), and Action (Identifying environmental risks).

Environmental Compliance Management at Factories

Panasonic manages its environmental systems in full compliance with laws and regulations. We regularly measure emissions of gas, wastewater, noise, odor, etc., and introduce preventative measures for cases that may lead to serious violations.

Furthermore, key human resources are developed for information sharing among the Companies/Business Divisions, environment-related job functions, and Regional Headquarters, to ensure exhaustive compliance with legislation related to factory environment management in respective countries where Panasonic manufacturing sites are located. Specifically, activities to share information as well as specialized training are conducted for factory management officers in charge of the management of chemical substances, waste, wastewater, and exhaust gas, either by country or by region in Japan, Europe, China, and Southeast Asia. Field surveys on laws and regulations using checklists were conducted on a global scale to confirm comprehensive implementation of environmental compliance, and we also conducted verification of the effectiveness of various measures.

However, in fiscal 2018, we discovered five violations of environment-related legislation across the world. These cases were promptly reported to the respective authorities along with implementation of countermeasures against the causes of such violations and we have already corrected the issues in order to meet the standard requirements. We continue our efforts for thorough legal compliance and the prevention of any recurrence.

Case of Violations of Laws and Ordinances (e.g. excess of the standard legal level) in Fiscal 2019

Region Environmental pollution Other Total
Air Water quality Noise Odor Waste Permission / Approval
Global
(including Japan)
1 1 0 0 0 0 2
(Japan) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0)

Compliance with Environmental Regulations Relating to Products

Panasonic manages compliance with regulations relating to its products through a quality management system. Compliance with regulations is ensured with our Products Assessment System, a mechanism which incorporates environmental performance targets such as customer demands for environmental performance, the energy efficiency labeling program, and third-party certification systems, as well as evaluation of compliance with regulations on chemical substance management, energy efficiency, 3R, and recycling, to (1) set up overview for achieving targets at the product planning stage, (2) define concrete targets at the design planning stage and confirm compliance at the design stage, (3) conduct interim assessment at the design completion stage, and (4) conduct final assessment at the mass production decision-making stage. Additionally, incoming inspections are being conducted on a regular basis for purchased components to ensure compliance with the RoHS Regulations which regulates the content of six hazardous substances.

However, in fiscal 2019, two regulatory violation related to chemical substance management occurred, one in Japan and the other overseas. We will tighten the criteria to judge potential inclusion of regulated substances to ensure thorough compliance with the laws and regulations.

Measures Against Soil and Groundwater Contamination and Air Pollution

In the latter half of the 1980s, soil and groundwater contamination due to chlorinated organic solvents was detected at some Panasonic sites. In response, we have conducted anti-contamination activities across the company. Specifically in 1991 we created the Manual for Preventing Contamination of Soil and Groundwater and began conducting necessary surveys and measures. In 1995 we discontinued the use of chlorinated organic solvents, and in 1999 created Guidelines on the Prevention of Environmental Pollution to ensure there would be no recurrence of similar problems at our sites. In fiscal 2003 we began enhancing our surveys and measures to comply with relevant laws and regulations, including the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act, which was enforced in Japan in 2003, and in fiscal 2004 started implementing measures to place all our bases across the globe under management supervision with regard to soil and groundwater.

Specifically, we conduct onsite inspections and interviews at the bases, in addition to surveying their use of VOCs and heavy metals. Furthermore, we implement surface soil surveys within the premises. For the sites where contamination was detected beyond the regulatory pollution standards, we conduct detailed borehole surveys to identify the boundaries of the contaminated areas and take remedial measures.

As a result of these efforts, we were able to place all our bases under management supervision in 2008. Furthermore, in fiscal 2011, the management supervision scheme was purpose-specifically reorganized and reinforced to establish a new management supervision scheme. With the highest priority given to preventing dispersion of pollution beyond our premises, this new scheme is implemented across all operating sites to further improve the level of measures against contamination. In fiscal 2017, we reviewed the new management supervision guidelines in response to the amended Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act in Japan.

Soil and Groundwater Risk Management Policy

Conditions subject to management supervision Procedure
Pollution dispersion prevention beyond
Panasonic premises
1. Conduct historical surveys
2. Determine and install monitoring wells at the premises' borders
3. Analyze groundwater at the borders
4. Check possibility of pollution from external sources
5. Report to management department
6. Determine the external pollution dispersion prevention methods
7. Install the external pollution dispersion prevention methods
8. Install assessment wells
9. Begin assessments (monitoring)
Thorough pollution source elimination 10. Conduct brief status check
11-1. Horizontal direction detailed analysis
11-2. Vertical direction detailed analysis
12. Determine the magnitude of pollution
13. Discuss the areas and methods of purification
14. Conduct purification and install pollution dispersion prevention measures
15. Monitor pollution source (groundwater) after purification
16. Report purification completion to management department

Soil and Groundwater Pollution Surveys and Remedial Measures for Fiscal 2019

Region Number of sites that completed remedial measures Number of sites currently taking remedial measures
Global (including Japan) 0 40
Japan (0) (34)

In addition to the above, we implement measures for air pollution. The efforts made in factories are as matters of course, we are working as a company to comply with the Act Concerning Special Measures for Total Emission Reduction of Nitrogen Oxides and Particulate Matter from Automobiles in Specified Areas (Act No. 70 of 1992), which regulates nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emitted from company cars owned and/or managed by Panasonic.

The company cars owned and/or managed by Panasonic Japanese business sites are centrally managed on the corporatewide vehicle management system. Annually required reports are submitted through the vehicle management system. Also each business site undertakes thorough regular vehicle checkup and fuel economy management on these cars, as well as taking the initiative in reducing air pollution, such as by advising employees on eco-driving techniques and hosting related workshops, and promoting introducing hybrid cars.

Initiatives for PCB Pollution

Panasonic had manufactured equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Japan, however discontinued the production in 1972. Since then, we have strictly managed its PCB wastes. As the Law concerning Special Measures for Promotion of Proper Treatment of PCB Wastes was enforced in July 2001, we have kept the PCB wastes in optimized storage, detoxified the wastes, and submitted their handling status to authority in compliance with the law. By the end of fiscal 2019, we registered 2,281 units such as transformers and capacitors using PCBs under the early registration scheme, and completed their detoxification by Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation (JESCO) as our subcontracted PCB waste disposal operator. Additionally, we respectively consigned to detoxify and properly handle approx. 36 tons of stabilizers and other wastes contain a high PCB concentration to JESCO, and approx. 86 tons of low-concentration PCB wastes to a private incineration facilities certified by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. We will continue to detoxify and properly handle PCB wastes by March 31, 2027, the regulatory deadline for completion of PCB waste detoxification.