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Initiatives in Production and Office Sites
Environmental Consideration in the Value Chain
NEC takes steps to reduce environmental impacts along the entire value chain, from purchasing, procurement and R&D to product manufacture, usage, disposal, and recycling. We use ICT to measure the environmental burden at each location regularly, and publish this. In addition, we set targets for reducing the various environmental burdens for each location, and systematically conduct measures to minimize them.
Environmental Burden from Business Activities Material Balance
The inputs of energy and raw materials for business activities and the outputs of environmental burden substances arising from these activities are managed as a material balance. We aim to reduce the environmental burden across the entire supply chain by managing the material balance not only for the Company itself, but also for the lifecycle of the product.
Collection and Verification of Data
Environmental data for plants and offices worldwide are compiled using NEC’s proprietary environmental performance management solution, GreenGlobeX.
NEC’s Environmental Solutions
Environmental Performance Management Solution
NEC provides the “GreenGlobeX” cloud service as an efficient management solution for the environmental performance of corporate plants and offices throughout the world.
Central management of environmental data collected globally not only reduces the operation load, but also complies with statutory reporting obligations (data collection, collation, and report preparation), under the Act on the Rational Use of Energy and the Act on Promotion of Global Warming Countermeasures. The service is ready for global application, with three-language interface options in Japanese, English, and Chinese, and a unit conversion function. Currently around 30 companies are using the service, which is helping them to achieve efficient collection of environmental data.
NEC is taking steps to prevent global warming by targeting year-on-year reductions of 1% in energy consumption intensity in logistics.
In fiscal 2020, the amount of energy consumption was 203 ML. This increase was due to a wider scope of companies worldwide included for data collection than the previous fiscal year.
In fiscal 2020, the NEC Group continued to implement initiatives to reduce energy consumption at all of its business sites.
Waste and Pollution
Waste Emissions and Emission Intensity
In fiscal 2020, our waste emissions (both general and industrial waste) amounted to approximately 39 kilotons. This increase was due to a wider scope of companies worldwide included for data collection than the previous fiscal year. If data had been collected within the same scope as fiscal 2019, waste emissions for fiscal 2020 would have decreased by 4.7% year on year.
To ensure increased thoroughness in processing waste, NEC performs regular site inspections at plants where waste processing is outsourced to ensure that the outsourced industrial waste is processed correctly.
NOx and SOx Emissions
We lowered the total sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions to 0.01 tons in fiscal 2020, a reduction of 99% compared with fiscal 2003. We also lowered our nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to 13.8 tons, a reduction of 97% compared with fiscal 2003.
Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in fiscal 2020 were 68 tons, a reduction of 79% compared with fiscal 2013.
Emissions were significantly reduced following a reorganization of the Group’s production-oriented companies.
NEC carefully examines environmental impact and safety in all phases of handling chemical substances, from receipt and use to disposal. NEC takes all possible measures to reduce consumption of chemical substances and to replace harmful substances with safer ones.
Preliminary Evaluation of Chemical Substances
Since 1979, NEC has been conducting preliminary evaluations to examine environmental and safety aspects carefully when using a new chemical substance for the first time. These preliminary evaluations are a series of strict examinations of physical properties, toxicity, handling methods, emergency response, recycling methods, environmental impact, and other items related to chemical substances. Only substances that have passed these examinations are allowed to be purchased.
Safety data sheets (SDS) are obtained from manufacturers or prepared independently for all chemical substances used. These are used for reference when making judgements in considering safety countermeasures to apply when using the chemical substances. Manufacturing assessments are also carried out in all manufacturing processes to evaluate environmental and safety aspects of the chemical substances and production facilities.
Reduction in Use of Strictly Regulated Chemical Substances
Ozone depleting substances
The use of all specific chlorofluorocarbons as a cleaning agent in manufacturing processes was discontinued in 1993. By the end of fiscal 2011, efforts to totally discontinue the use of specific chlorofluorocarbon for refrigerant in air conditioners and specific halon used in fire extinguishers achieved a reduction of 96%, almost completely abolishing them.
Environmental endocrine disruptors
In fiscal 1999, we abolished the use of all agrochemicals and pesticides prescribed in Strategic Programs on Environmental Endocrine Disruptors (SPEED) ’98 released by the Japan Environment Agency (currently the Ministry of the Environment).
Strict Control of Equipment and Parts Containing PCBs
At present, NEC strictly controls disposed devices (equipment and parts, including fluorescent light stabilizers) containing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) at its three plants and five Group companies under stringent double and triple measures for preventing leakage.
The Law Concerning Special Measures for Promotion of Proper Treatment of PCB Waste was revised in 2016, changing the processing period set in the basic plan for the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls. In compliance with the change, NEC is revising its disposal plans to ensure that waste is processed within the set deadline.
Conformance to the PRTR Act (Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof)
The balance of inputs and outputs of substances used by the NEC Group among the chemical substances that are subject to the PRTR Act (Class I Designated Chemical Substances: 462 substances) is summarized in the following illustration.
Compared with the report of the previous fiscal year, total volume handled increased due to an increase in production volume.
For chemical substances released into the atmosphere and public water bodies (including discharges into sewage systems), NEC has set its own voluntary standards, which are more stringent than the levels required by law, and ensured that these standards were strictly met.
Water Management and Efficient Use of Water Resources
We ascertain water consumption and waste water amounts at all of our bases and business sites. The status of our environmental burden, including water consumption, and of our progress on targets for reducing it, is reported annually at the Business Strategy Council and disclosed publicly. If we recognize the possibility of a major impact on our business related to water, reports are made constantly at Business Strategy Council meetings held twice monthly and at the monthly meetings of the Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for overseeing the situation. In addition, at quarterly environmental management promotion meetings held by the manager of the Environmental Management Promotion Department of NEC Corporation, we manage the status of our environmental burden, including water consumption, and the status of progress on reduction targets, report the results to the executive officer in charge of the environment. This officer reports to the Business Strategy Council and the Board of Directors as necessary.
When situations arise that could impact business, such as floods, the division overseeing the supply chain discusses impact forecasts and countermeasures. The countermeasures are deliberated in the Business Strategy Council and the Board of Directors before being implemented.
Response to Water Risk
The impact of climate change-induced water risks related to water pollution, depletion, and climate change on the NEC Group's production sites and supply chain was evaluated and confirmed using the Aqueduct water risk platform provided by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
This tool provides a wide range of data including indicators of physical water stress, water quality, legal risks related to water supply, reputation risk, and groundwater risk. We will use these to promote countermeasures and manage these risks continuously.
At our business sites, production sites, and research laboratories, we conduct water volume monitoring and sampling tests at discharge outlets in order to quickly identify any changes. We have also set in-house standards that are stricter than national and local regulations and we take measures to counter water risks.
The impact on ecosystems and habitats from NEC’s water consumption amount and the amount and quality of its water discharge is negligible. Please see p. 28 for Environmental Act violations and incidents involving water that occurred in fiscal 2020.
Response to Water-stressed Areas
Based on Aqueduct survey results, NEC Platforms Thai Co., Ltd--a production base for NEC products--is located in a water-stressed area* in terms of baseline water stress. NEC Platforms Thai has therefore installed a water storage tank capable of securing enough water for three days of use, and has established a system that allows collaboration with municipal government and the local industrial estate in the event of an emergency.
- *Water stress: A state in which the balance between water supply and demand in a region is tight. The indicator score is based on the "maximum volume of water available per capita," and a region is considered to be under water stress if the score falls below 1,700m3, which is the minimum standard for water required per capita every year to meet domestic, agricultural, industrial, energy and environmental needs. According to Aqueduct, a region is considered to be at very high risk if its water withdrawals are more than 80% of their available supply on average every year.
Water Consumption and Consumption Intensity
NEC uses municipal supply water, aquifer water, water for factories, and recycled water. We have reduced water consumption at all of our sites, aiming to achieve a reduction of 0.5% compared with fiscal 2019.
In fiscal 2020, we continued to reinforce our existing water-saving measures. Companywide water consumption rose 16% (compared with fiscal 2019), but the increase was due to a wider scope of companies worldwide included for data collection. If data had been collected within the same scope as fiscal 2019, water consumption for fiscal 2020 would have decreased by 7.5% year on year.
We will continue to treat limited water resources with care, and conduct forest preservation activities in areas that serve as water sources.
Examples of Water Consumption Reduction Initiatives
Reducing water consumption by introducing steam condensate recovery equipment
The NEC head office building uses steam for air conditioning (heating and humidification). The installation of a steam condensate recovery system (hot well tank) enables condensate generated in the steam supply process to be reused as boiler water. As a result, we were able to reduce water consumption by 1,670m3 per year in FY 2020.
Reducing water consumption by introducing a wastewater reuse system
At the NEC head office building, hand washing water in each restroom, wastewater from the hot water supply room, cooling tower blow water, and rainwater are treated using the sludge method and activated carbon filtration method, and reused as gray water for toilet flushing water (wastewater from toilets and urinals). As a result, we were able to reduce our annual water consumption by 5,650m3 in FY 2020.
Since 1997, NEC has adopted in-house standards that are stricter than national and local government standards to ensure that its wastewater amount does not exceed them.
In addition, to minimize the trade-off effect with chemicals related to wastewater treatment, we are taking steps to reduce the amount of chemicals used. Specifically, we constantly monitor the status of water quality to ensure that we do not use more chemicals than necessary. Furthermore, by promoting recycling of water, we have reduced the volume of new chemicals used.
Inclusion in the CDP Water A List
NEC’s water management initiatives and information disclosure in fiscal 2020 were recognized by its inclusion among the “A List” companies holding the highest rating in the CDP “Water” division.
CDP Water Security Questionnaire 2020 (excerpt) *in English
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