Way of Thinking about Water Resource Conservation
It is said that available fresh water is only about 0.01% of the Earth's total water resources. We understand that the water crisis is one of the global risks, considering further increase in water consumption because of economic growth and population increases in near future.
As risks of extreme water shortages is becoming higher as one of social issues, Panasonic Group has been working to conserve water resources both in its products and production activities, in order to fulfill its social responsibility and to reduce risks in the management. Our Environmental Policy sets that we make efforts to conserve water resources by using water efficiently and preventing water pollution. In accordance with Panasonic Group's environmental action plan "Green Plan 2021" and the new environmental action plan "Green Impact Plan 2024," we have been continuously working on reducing the water used in our production operations. As for risk management, we had conducted water conservation activities, aiming to complete our water risk assessment at all our production sites 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 Worldwide 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 of Panasonic Group. At present, no water risks that could affect Panasonic Group's 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.
For promoting these activities, Panasonic Group have established a structure for the promotion of environmental management, including water management. We are now conducting environmental activities using PDCA cycle under the structure, and are upgrading the environmental management level. In addition, we have organized an Environmental Risk Management Structure to continuously reduce environmental risks; under the structure, we (1) identify environmental risks and promote risk management in whole Panasonic Group every fiscal year and (2) promptly respond to the risk when it arises. Through these activities, we will continue to manage our environmental risks.
Moreover, Panasonic Group have participated in the Water Project, a public-private partnershipproject 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.
Panasonic Group 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.
Tableware Washer and Dryer (Dishwasher)
For the table wares for five people, dishwashing using this dishwasher consumes just around a sixth of the water used in dishwashing by hand.
(Approx. 11 liters compared with approx. 75 liters when dishwashing by hand - A reduction equivalent to approximately 32 large 2 liters PET bottles)
Also, in the use of the ECONAVI operation, the dishwasher detects the condition of the table wares cleanliness, and adjusts the water supply temperature during the washing and the heating temperature during the drying depending on the detection result. With the function, the power consumption is reduced by around 5% and the operating time is shortened by around 4 minutes, which reduces power consumption.
Central Water Purifier
Central water purifier provide the domestic water that doesn't contain iron and turbidity from the well water. In Indonesia, where the penetration of tap water is still low, water pumped from wells is widely used for domestic use. Well water in Indonesia often contains iron and looks muddy, causing problems, such as changing the color of clothes affected by iron when used for washing and leaving stains in the bathtub or toilet, so the clean domestic water is needed. This central water purifier can even remove iron, which was difficult to remove from well water by Panasonic's unique rapid oxidation treatment technique. This device can also remove muddiness and supply purified water for domestic use for household. Moreover, this water purifier has a structure that allows for easy maintenance by users, which enables a low-cost. Low-maintenance, and easy-to-install system.
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)
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.
Initiatives for Water Resource Conservation through Production Activities
By collecting and reusing wastewater from our manufacturing processes and air conditioning systems, Panasonic Group has been reducing the amount of makeup water used and wastewater effluent. Through these activities, we reduce environmental loads on water resources due to the intake and effluent of water in production activities.
As many regions around the world are threatened by water shortages, Panasonic Group has been conducting production activities, balancing water resource conservation in focused regions.
The amount of water used at factories in fiscal 2022 resulted in 17.24 million m3, which is reduced by 10.2% versus the fiscal 2021. The water used at our factories per basic unit of production*1 got better yearon-year thanks to positive effects of the structural reform.
Our use of recycled water*2 in fiscal 2021 was 2.54 million m3, accounting for 14.7% of the total amount of water used. The amount of discharged water in fiscal 2020, 2021, and 202 resulted in 18.02 million m3, 14.81million m3, 13.39 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).
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.
FY2021 Breakdown of Water Consumption (by region)
Panasonic Industry Co., Ltd. (54 sites), uses the highest amount of water in all operating companies in Panasonic Group. The company managed to achieve a year-on-year decrease of 27.2% in water consumption (7.88 million m3) in fiscal 2022, thanks to their focused efforts and business restructuring. The achievement rate for reducing the amount of water used per basic unit was 157%, showing an improved basic unit because production is recovering from the negative effects from the COVID-19 pandemic in the previous year.
Against the backdrop of the increasing occurrence of natural disasters in recent years, such as earthquake and flood disasters, Panasonic Industry Co., Ltd. Saga site achieved a reduction of environmental risk and environmental impact, considering a possible chemical leakage from the outdoor storage site in the company premises. This was accomplished by replacing their water purification system, which used a chemical-based regeneration method for the ion-exchange resins, to a system that uses an electrical regeneration method.
At the same time, the company installed a wastewater collection system that separates the wastewater generated by the water purification into concentrated wastewater and collection water. The company is now able to reduce the water consumption for the entire factory by 18 thousand m3 per year by reusing the collection water.
Panasonic Group will continue our efforts to conserve water resources.