Panasonic Group has been working to minimize environmental impact by identifying the hazardous substances used in our products, assessing the impact of such use, and voluntarily discontinuing the use or reducing the release of such substances. Since 1999, we have been conducting the 33/50 Reduction Activity to materialize reduction by 33% in three years and by 50% in six years. In Japan, we started promoting reduction of amounts to use, release, and transfer specified chemical substances at our factories in fiscal 2000. Against the target in our voluntary action plan, a reduction by 50% from the fiscal 1999 level, we achieved a 75% reduction in the chemical substance use and a 62% reduction in the release and transfer in fiscal 2005. Since then we have been continuing the activity, focusing on substances with particularly large amounts of release and transfer, setting a voluntary action target of reduction by 30% compared to the fiscal 2006 level. As a result, we achieved a 46% reduction in the amounts of release and transfer of specified key reduction-target substances across all factories worldwide in fiscal 2011.
Reflecting international trends in chemical substance management, our reduction measures have focused increasingly on particularly hazardous substances from fiscal 2011. Our Chemical Substances Management Rank Guidelines (for Factories) was established in 1999 as a guideline to help manage the above chemical substance reduction activities. In Version 1, the guidelines specified a list of chemical substances to be managed, mainly focusing on carcinogenic substances. The guidelines were later updated to Version 2 in 2000 to include rules concerning the Japan PRTR Law. Version 3, introduced in 2004, additionally covered a list of substances specified by chemical substances management legislation in Japan. The chemical substances covered by Version 4 and later from 2009 are those specified in legislation on human health and environmental impact in Japan, the U.S., and Europe, as well as those specified under international treaties.
Under our Chemical Substances Management Rank Guidelines (For Factories), we have focused our management on select chemical substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment. Further, Panasonic Group created a unique indicator, the Human Environment Impact,*8 which is used globally in all our factories. Conventionally the chemical substances were managed by "quantity," such as usage amount or emissions/release. However, such quantitybased management has a problem in that some highly hazardous substances do not become subject to reduction or management if the usage amount was small, and therefore would fall out of the scope of impact assessments. In addition, the toxicity criteria varied according to substance types and regional legislation, which made standardized management across the Group difficult. To address this issue, we worked together with experts from both within and outside the Group, reclassified chemical substances based on an overall assessment of their hazardousness, and specified a hazardousness factor for each classification.
Specifically, we set a hazard classification to each substance by utilizing carcinogen risk assessments issued by international organizations, together with publicly available hazard information and lists of ozone depleting substances.
For substances that have multiple hazard information items, the item ranked with the highest hazard risk is used for classification. We utilize this Panasonic Group internal indicator as the Human Environmental Impact indicator to promote efforts to ensure reduction of highly hazardous substances with greater environmental impacts, such as carcinogens and ozone depleting substances, according to the risk level. The Panasonic Group Chemical Substances Management Rank Guidelines is also available on the website on Panasonic Group Green Procurement activities to promote collaboration with our suppliers, encouraging them to offer materials that do not contain hazardous substances.
*8 Human Environmental Impact = Hazardousness factor x Release and transfer amount.
Further, we maintain our compliance in different countries by obtaining the latest information about the various chemical regulations enforced in each country through our regional headquarters and local industrial organizations.
As for the VOC regulations amended in China in 2020, we successfully completed compliance confirmation and replacement with compliant components in each business division thanks to cooperation from local suppliers.