Environmental product development lifecycle

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  • Think/Design and Development
  • Choose/Materials Procurement
  • Create/Manufacturing Processes
  • Deliver/Logistics
  • Use/Product Environmental Information
  • Recycle&ReuseProduct Recycling

Manufacturing Processes

Global Warming Prevention

Carbon dioxide emissions produced during the consumption of energy, most notably electrical power and fossil fuels, receive the most scrutiny as the primary cause of global warming and are thus the focus of the most intensive reduction efforts. However, there are other substances with an even higher global warming potential that should not be ignored. Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), greenhouse gases used for cleaning and etching processes in semiconductor and liquid crystal display manufacturing operations, are two such substances.

Our initiatives in this area therefore revolve around (1) reducing CO2 emissions by conserving energy; and (2) reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO2.

1. Energy conservation

Epson is carrying out upwards of 1,000 separate actions to reduce CO2 emissions. These four approaches are.

  1. Maintenance and improvement of management
  2. Cutting energy use in basic facilities and buildings at plants
  3. Cutting energy use through production equipment and process innovations
  4. Introduction of new types of energy

For 1 through 3 above, Epson is carrying out several programs such as proper temperature control of air-conditioner, turning off lights that are not in use, revising operation and number of production facilities, waste heat recovery and downsizing of production machines. Good cases are introduced to other departments and plants. We grasp the achievements of these activities by qualitative target.*1

*1:The qualitative target approach, which is Seiko Epson's innovation, assesses the current status to track how close we are to the achieving our targets, using more than 100-item checklist to assess how close we are to achieving our targets.
Each promotional organization is responsible for self-ratings on a scale of 1 to 5. The department in charge of supervising environmental activities at the Head Office reviews the results and discloses the status of qualitative target achievements in each promotional organization to improve environmental efforts.

2. Reduction of greenhouse gases

As for emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO2, we are taking a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, we break down the molecules before releasing these gases. On the other, we simply find ways to use them in smaller amounts.
This dual approach is yielding good results: much reduction was achieved from FY2000. The reduction was attributable to the introduction of equipment to reduce these substances and improvements in treatment processes.

3. The Epson Method

A simple method developed by Epson for measuring PFC usage.

4. Plan / Progress of global warming prevention

Greenhouse gas emissions(global)

1990 GHG from sources other than energy use are calculated using corresponding emissions in 1995.
In Japan we used an average value published by the Federation of Electric Power Companies as a conversion factor to calculate equivalent CO2 emissions from energy consumed.
Outside Japan we used national emissions factors provided by the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association (JEMA).
To calculate CO2 emissions from fuels both in Japan and abroad, we used the CO2 conversion factors published jointly by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry in Version 2.4 of a GHG emissions calculation and reporting manual.
To calculate the CO2 equivalent of emissions of GHG other than CO2, we used conversion factors published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001.

Zero emissions

Epson instituted a "zero emissions" program to promote the effective use of resources, reduce waste levels, and help extend the lives of final disposal sites.
Our zero emissions program began with an effort to recycle 100% of our waste products. All Group companies in Japan and overseas production sites met their material recycling targets. Currently we are shifting towards resource conservation initiatives, which seek to reduce the resource inputs into production processes.

Zero Emissions Level 2 activities at Epson

Waste emissions trend

Chemical substance management

Epson recognizes that all chemical substances involve at least some risk. Accordingly, we categorize them as "use prohibited," "reduce use and emissions," and "change to safer substances."
In 2003, we enacted a regulation that stipulates the proper control of chemical substances. Two years later, in 2005, we built and introduced a data management system called "E-Chem" that allows the centralize management of information on chemicals used at Epson sites around the world.
We continue to work aggressively to reduce emissions of chemical substances. In addition to programs designed to track, control and reduce chemicals subject to PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) control, we have moved to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). We also promote a variety of measures to reduce environmental emissions by identifying and adopting greener alternatives to certain chemicals, minimizing amounts used, and introducing combustion abatement systems.
Starting in 2007, all Epson business units began programs to manage, track, and reduce their own chemical emissions. We use 2005 emissions as a benchmark. The goal of the programs is to moderate emissions around the globe even as our operations expand.

Factory environmental risk management

We Epson comply with pollution-prevention laws and regulations by adhering uncompromisingly to the Group's unified regulations and standards.
Each promotional organization practices ISO 14001 to identify all risks in the workplace, such as potential failure to meet standards, complaints we may receive and accidents that may occur. For each potential risk, we take preventive measures based on the results of risk assessment and work continuously to minimize impact.

Measures for soil and water contamination

Since 1998, Epson has been voluntarily conducting soil and groundwater surveys, and has conducted cleanups following these guidelines:

  1. Never allow the accidental release of contaminated groundwater outside the plant premises
  2. Take safe and effective measures for cleaning
  3. Complete cleaning in the shortest period

We continue to pump and treat groundwater that was contaminated by trichloroethylene due to past business activities at four sites in Japan. We are also evaluating bioremediation as a means to hasten the cleanup.

Initiatives overseas

With China introducing increasingly strict environmental legislation, Epson convened an environmental meeting to bring all concerned personnel up to speed on the latest developments and actions being taken in response. Our affiliates in China have been highly proactive, particularly in addressing water quality concerns. For example, they have been working to improve service water quality, increase the rate at which factory wastewater is recycled, and strengthen quality controls for wastewater discharged from their factories. As there is a likelihood of further environmental changes and even stricter regulations, we have been sharing information about water and resources to ensure that we stay on top of the situation.

Better Products for a Better Future

At Epson, we know that planning for the future requires a strong commitment to the environment. That is why we strive to create innovative products that are reliable, recyclable, and energy efficient.
Better products that use fewer resources help ensure a better future for us all.

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