Approaches 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. Under Green Plan 2018, our Environmental Action Plan for fiscal 2019, we are working to expand our range of products that contribute to saving and recycling water. At the same time, we have worked on reducing the volume of water we consume, while using more recycled water in our production processes to conserve water resources throughout our business activities. In risk management, we worked for our water risk assessment at all our production sites to be completed by fiscal 2019, and have completed 100% of the assessments.

Specifically, we evaluated the scale of water risk at all regions where our production sites are located, in order to identify and mitigate effects of water on our business activities. In the evaluation, we utilized evaluation tools such as Aqueduct supplied by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Water Risk Filter supplied by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which can evaluate risks in various aspects; not only from physical risks such as water shortages, but also from the risks in water-related regulations as well as reputation risks in each region. We also made use of public databases available from respective national governments. In areas with higher water risks, we collected information through public local information as well as through hearings with relevant organizations, etc. By conducting detailed analyses and close examination of the local information and the site data including water use volumes, we, more specifically, identified the effects on our business activities. We steadily proceeded processes of the water risk assessments, and in fiscal 2018, completed water risk assessments at all of our production sites. At present, no water risks that could affect our business activities have been reported. Yet, we will continue to make efforts to reduce water consumption in our production activities in the future under the water risk assessment that had been implemented.

In promoting these activities, we have built a structure to promote environmental management, including water management, under the responsibility of the CQO (Uehara Hiroshi, as of August 2019), to proceed activities using PDCA cycle and upgrade the environmental management level.

In addition, we have established an Environmental Risk Management Structure to continuously reduce environmental risks, and (1) identify environmental risks and promote company-wide risk management every fiscal year and (2) promptly respond to occurrence of environmental risk. Through these activities, we will continue to manage our environmental risks.

Moreover, we have participated in the Water Project, a public-private partnership project aimed at boosting awareness of water conservation, which was launched under the initiative of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment in 2014. Objectives of the project are to maintain a sound water cycle and promote its recovery. The project distributes water-related activities conducted by corporations, and water-related information including importance of water. 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 Green Product accreditation criteria, and has accelerated the development of industry-leading products that contribute to water saving.

Extractor Hoods

Extractor hoods easily get greasy, requiring roughly 28 liters of water for a single cleaning. The DW Series of flat extractor hoods with ECONAVI washing functionality are capable of automatically removing the grease collected by the fan filter simply by adding hot water into the hot water tray, setting the tray in the hood, and pressing the Clean button. Monthly cleaning will keep the extractor hood clean for 10 years without removing the fan filter. The system conserves water by 97% compared to conventional cleaning by removing the fan filter.*1 The product was awarded the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Prize in the 2014 Energy Conservation Grand Prizes.

The DE Series released in October 2016 has fan blades with a grease-repellent finish, making the hood resistant to any build-up of grease. Additionally, it removes the grease with its "grease tornado" function, which uses centrifugal force by spinning the fan at high speed before it stops running. This has reduced the need to clean the blades to roughly once every three years.*2

*1 Volume of water use is based on Panasonic standards.
*2 Comparison based on the filter grease collection efficiency (extractor hood fan) test under the Center of Better Living's Evaluation Methods Standards for ventilation units (for kitchen use)

ECONAVI flat extractor hood

Toilet

A full automatic cleaning toilet "A La Uno" reduces annual water consumption to approx. one third*3 compared with that of the conventional toilets. Panasonic's unique water-saving technology "Turn trap method" enables to use water efficiently. In addition to the use of organic glass-based new materials that prevent stains from sticking to a toilet, "Triple stain guard" that prevents stains caused by urine splash enables to reduce the frequency of toilet cleaning and save water used for cleaning.
In FY2019, we have strengthened interior design, launching more colorful top covers and arm rests, in order to expand its sales into shops and hotels that provide comfortable restrooms, increasing an opportunity to save water in public spaces as well as in houses.

*3 In comparison with water consumption of Panasonic's siphon jet toilet (CH43) launched around 1990.

A full automatic cleaning toilet
A full automatic cleaning toilet "A La Uno L150"

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 2019 resulted in 24.69 million m³, reduced by 4.4% compared to fiscal 2018. The water used at our factories per basic unit of production*4 improved year-on-year through impacts of structural reform, promotion of reuse, etc.

 

Our use of recycled water*5 in fiscal 2019 amounted to 5.17 million m³, accounting for 20.9% of our total water consumption. Discharged water in fiscal 2017, 2018, and 2019 resulted in 21.84 million m³, 20.47 million m³, and 19.25 million m³, respectively.

 

*4 Water used at factories per basic unit of production = Water used at factories / Production volume.
*5 The calculation excludes the water circulating for a single purpose (e.g. water in a cooling tower).

Water Consumption in Production Activities and Water Consumption Per Basic Unit

Note: Then-SANYO Electric and Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display not included in fiscal 2010.

FY2019 Breakdown of Water Consumption (by region)

FY2018 Breakdown of Water Consumption (by region)

In the Automotive & Industrial Solutions*6 Company under the Panasonic Group, water used at factories in fiscal 2019 resulted in 14.44 million m³, against a target of 16.01 million m³.

Panasonic Industrial Devices (Qingdao) Co., Ltd. is located in Qingdao, China, where water shortage is their concern. In the factory, water is used to treat hydrochloric gas produced during manufacturing processes of electrostatic capacitancetype touch panels. In order to take measures for increase in the amount of water to use because of product expansion, expansion, they introduced a system in which alkaline drainage water discharged in other processes. With the system, efficient neutralization of the treated alkaline water, i.e. acid water has become possible, which has contributed to reduction in the amount of used water. Panasonic continue our efforts to conserve water resources.

*6 Company name for fiscal 2019 is Automotive & Industrial Systems.

Panasonic Industrial Devices (Qingdao) Co., Ltd.