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In fiscal 2005, Hitachi formulated the Regulations for Environmental CSR-Compliant Monozukuri to manage the chemical substances contained in its products at all stages—from development and design, procurement, and production to quality assurance and sales. With regard to chemical substances used in our business operations, we manage risk by assigning three ranks to the use of such substances: prohibition, reduction, and control. We also reduce risk by educating chemical substance handlers and managers on laws and regulations and on proper risk assessment.
To ensure compliance with Europe's REACH*1 and other regulations, we continuously revise the list of chemical substances in our products that are to be managed. In October 2015, we modified the list of Voluntarily Controlled Chemical Substances so that 18 prohibited substances (Level 1) and 27 controlled substances (Level 2) are now listed.
Hitachi reviewed its Green Procurement Guidelines to reflect our new Environmental Vision, and in October 2016 we issued a revised edition. Furthermore, as a result of the amendment of China's RoHS*2 in July 2016, we conducted an explanatory meeting in China, and 37 employees from 10 business units and Group companies participated in the event.
|Classification||Application||Substance (Group) Names|
|Chemical substances that the Hitachi Group prohibits from being included in procured products (substances banned or restricted by domestic or foreign regulations for use in products, including packing materials, that may be used in products procured for the Hitachi Group)||
|Substances for which monitoring and control are required by domestic or foreign regulations, or for which special consideration for recycling or appropriate disposal is required, including substance groups whose use in supplied products may be restricted for certain uses||
Working closely with suppliers and customers, we gather and make available information on chemical substances across the supply chain via the Integrated Management System for Chemical Substances Contained in Products, which has been in operation since fiscal 2005. As of March 31, 2017, chemical substance information for more than 1.31 million parts and products was registered under this integrated management system. In fiscal 2016, we upgraded our system to respond to the shared information transmission scheme (chemSHERPA) on chemical substances contained in products.
We have been cutting emissions of chemical substances from our factories and other sites through stricter management, such as by expanding the number and scope of controlled chemical substances. Initiatives in fiscal 2016 to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) included switching from VOC-containing paints to water-soluble and powder paints as well as expanding their use, changing to material components that require no coating, and altering washing processes. These efforts enabled us to successfully achieve our targets. Information on our efforts has been translated into English and Chinese and shared globally with Hitachi Group members. We also monitor and manage emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx),*1 which are required to be measured under the laws and regulations applicable at our business locations.
We comply with Japan's Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) Law*2 through Group-wide monitoring of chemical substances released into the atmosphere or into public waters, removed outside our plants as waste, or discharged into sewage systems, reporting the results to local governments for each office or plant. Although some substances are exempt from reporting due to their small quantities, our policy is to keep data on the handling, emission, and transfer of all PRTR substances totaling 10 kilograms or more per year, recognizing the need to control these substances as well.
To ensure the proper management of chemical substances used in its business operations, Hitachi has operated a database for chemical substance management called CEGNET since 1998 to keep track of the latest laws and regulations and the company's own voluntary regulations.
CEGNET also collects and aggregates data on the amount of chemical substances handled, emitted, and transferred in our operations, helping to reduce the volume of chemicals that we handle.
Equipment that uses polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and PCB waste materials are systematically disposed of within the time limit established by the national government of Japan. The storage and disposal of PCBs within the Group are monitored every year to promote efficient disposal. In fiscal 2016, disposal was completed for PCB waste materials stored at 55 business sites.
In connection with Europe's REACH regulation, we will continue our checks and preparations in the lead-up to the next round of notification deadlines. As in fiscal 2016, we will continue our initiatives to reduce the release of regulated chemical substances.
Hitachi Appliances' Taga Works manufactures washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, rice cookers, and other home appliances; IH cooking heaters and other all-electric appliances; and products in new environmental fields, such as LED lighting and residential photovoltaic power generation systems.
The Taga Works is currently promoting paintless parts for design accents, such as by switching to high gloss polypropylene (PP) for the design elements on its front load washing machines. This has reduced the amount of paint used in painting by 15.3% (9.6 t/year) compared with fiscal 2015, contributing to a reduction in the release of chemical substances.
Paintless Parts for the Design Elements of Front Load Washing Machines