Environmental report 2017

Long-Term Perspective and Management Approach Towards Solutions for Environmental Issues

Long-Term Perspective Contributing to SDGs* Set by Paris Agreement

With the advent of climate change, resource depletion, and declining biodiversity, global environmental issues are becoming ever more urgent. It is imperative to solve these problems in order to secure sustainability. At the United Nation's Sustainable Development Summit held in September 2015, "Transforming Our World - The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" was adopted by world leaders, and SDGs, which include responding to climate change, were added. At the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (known as COP21) held in December 2015, an international framework on climate change—the Paris Agreement—was adopted with the aim of suppressing the increase in average global temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The Mitsubishi Electric Group provides solutions for energy savings and water resource conservation that utilize the strengths offered by the diverse businesses and products of member companies. In addition to such efforts, we continue to try to create new technologies and ideas that resolve environment-related social issues.

  • illustration: Sustainable Development Goals
  • * Sustainable Development Goals: There are 17 goals in three areas—economy, society and environment—to be achieved by 2030.

The following are examples of environmental practices carried out by the Mitsubishi Electric Group that correspond to five of the 17 SDGs.

Mid-Term Perspective Towards Achievement of "Environmental Vision 2021"

diagram: Environmental Vision 2021

The environmental goals to be achieved by the Mitsubishi Electric Group before the end of fiscal 2021 are defined in "Environmental Vision 2021". This policy is based on three pillars: "creating a low-carbon society", "creating a recycling-based society", and "respecting biodiversity and fostering environmental awareness". To effectively realize these goals, we prepare and actively implement an environmental plan every three years.

We prepare our environmental plans by "forecasting"; analyzing the results of previous initiatives, to determine what we need to prioritize in the future. At the same time, we use "backcasting" to analyze and identify specific targets that need to be achieved in order to arrive at our ideal state. By repeating these processes, initiatives aimed at achieving our vision are translated into practical steps.


Key Issues and Management Approach

The 8th Environmental Plan (fiscal 2016 to 2018) sets forth 11 activities in four areas: "realizing a low-carbon society", "creating a resource-recycling society", "realizing a society in tune with nature", and "strengthening our environmental management foundation". For eight of these items, numerical targets have been set from the perspectives of management and environmental impact.
Because we view initiatives aimed at realizing a low-carbon society as being among the most important tasks for the Mitsubishi Electric Group, we have set numerical targets for all of them.

The Mitsubishi Electric Group's management approach* for each environmental aspect of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines Version 4 (G4) and explanations corresponding to each aspect (details page) are shown in the table below.

  • * "Management approach" denotes the methods applied in corporate decision-making and progress management regarding specific aspects of initiatives relating to sustainability. GRI, an NPO that aims to establish international standards for sustainability, suggested this concept in the G4 Guidelines published in 2013.
G4 Environmental Aspect and Management Approach (Open) Indicators Details Page
Materials G4-EN1 Materials used by weight or volume
G4-EN2 Percentage of materials used that are recycled input materials
In business activities and shipments at factories and offices, the Mitsubishi Electric Group procures and uses various common/rare metals, petroleum-derived resins, electric energy, fuel, water, and wood resources. For effective utilization towards preventing the depletion of limited resources, high priority is given to the effective use of resources (maximum reuse of waste generated from production) and reducing resource inputs, as well as managing these initiatives with respective numerical targets.
Energy G4-EN3 Energy consumption within the organization
G4-EN4 Energy consumption outside of the organization
G4-EN5 Energy intensity
G4-EN6 Reduction of energy consumption
G4-EN7 Reductions in energy requirements of products and services

Electricity is the main form of energy used in the production activities of the Mitsubishi Electric Group. In processes that directly use heat energy, we also use fuels such as gas and petroleum. To prevent the depletion of energy resources, efforts are underway to improve the energy consumption efficiency of production lines and utilities. We're also expanding the introduction of demand management and photovoltaic power generation in order to reduce consumption.

To reduce energy consumption during product usage, we're developing products high in energy efficiency and focusing on increasing their use throughout society. In area of transportation (i.e., sales distribution), by improving loading ratios that enable us to reduce the number of trucks on the road, we are making progress in reducing energy consumption.

  • Through improving energy consumption efficiency and reducing consumption, we are working to reduce CO2 emissions. The Mitsubishi Electric Group uses "CO2 emissions per unit of sales" as an important indicator. For details, please see "Emissions".
Water G4-EN8 Total water withdrawal by source
G4-EN9 Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water The Mitsubishi Electric Group was not able to confirm the possibility of using excessive water in each region in Japan and overseas.
G4-EN10 Percentage and total volume of water recycled and reused
The water used by the Mitsubishi Electric Group is mainly tap water, industrial-use water and groundwater. As well as understanding the usage status at all sites, we practice the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) for water and are promoting greater awareness of water stress (i.e., strained water supply/demand conditions) at production sites in Japan and overseas. Regarding the water footprint of products, including the stages of procurement, production and product usage, the possibility of excessive use of water in regions in Japan and overseas has not been verified by the Mitsubishi Electric Group.
Biodiversity G4-EN11 Operational sites owned, leased, managed in, or adjacent to, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas Not applicable
G4-EN12 Description of significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity in protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas The Mitsubishi Electric Group conducts no mining, cultivation or manufacturing of raw materials, and does not destroy woodlands or eco-systems. There has been not large impact due to production bases identified neither in scale nor frequency.
G4-EN13 Habitats protected or restored
G4-EN14 Total number of IUCN red list species and national conservation list species with habitats in areas affected by operations, by level of extinction risk -

The Mitsubishi Electric Group does not mine, harvest, cultivate, or produce raw materials, and therefore does not directly destroy forests or ecosystems. Our production sites have not been verified to have any significant influence in terms of either scale or frequency. This is because our long-standing factory operations in Japan have been coexisting harmoniously with the natural environment for several decades, and because none of our factories in urban areas are in close proximity to areas of high biodiversity value. Production sites overseas are located in industrial complexes, and there are no plans to newly develop production sites requiring large areas.

We have taken action by preparing the Biodiversity Action Guidelines. To ensure that biodiversity is considered in all of our business activities, these guidelines include the pledge of every Mitsubishi Electric Group employee to understand the relationship between business activities and biodiversity. In addition, at individual business sites, we are studying the biology of animals and plants on the premises, while communicating with outside experts on the basis of our findings in order to better understand the situation. These activities are incorporated into the planning of our efforts to conserve biodiversity.

Emissions G4-EN15 Direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1)
G4-EN16 Energy indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 2)
G4-EN17 Other indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 3)
G4-EN18 Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity
G4-EN19 Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
G4-EN20 Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS)
G4-EN21 NOx, SOx, and other significant air emissions

Operations of the Mitsubishi Electric Group emit four types of greenhouse gases through business activities: CO2, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Reducing the emission of these gases is managed through the use of numerical targets. For CO2 in particular, we are working to reduce emissions through energy-saving activities for production lines and utilities, and increasing the use of renewable energy systems in the form of photovoltaic power generation. Here, "CO2 emissions per unit of sales" is used as an important indicator. The Mitsubishi Electric Group invests 0.15% of its sales every fiscal year to reduce CO2 emissions generated during production.

For greenhouse gases emitted upstream and downstream outside of business activities, we are working to reduce emissions generated at the time of product usage and during transportation (sales distribution). The CO2 emitted when products are being used is dozens to hundreds of times greater than that emitted during production processes. Therefore, developing and disseminating products high in energy efficiency generates a mitigating effect. This is also part of the Mitsubishi Electric Group's growth strategy, where we are using the "average reduction ratio of CO2 from product usage" as an important indicator. In the area of sales distribution, we are reducing the number of trucks used by improving loading capacity and moving ahead with modal shift initiatives.

Substances that cause atmospheric pollution, including nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur oxide (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and dust/soot, are being managed on the basis of legal compliance.

Effluents and Waste G4-EN22 Total water discharge by quality and destination
G4-EN23 Total weight of waste by type and disposal method
G4-EN24 Total number and volume of significant spills -
G4-EN25 Weight of transported, imported, exported, or treated waste deemed hazardous under the terms of the Basel Convention 2 Annex I, II, III, and VIII, and percentage of transported waste shipped internationally
G4-EN26 Identity, size, protected status, and biodiversity value of water bodies and related habitats significantly affected by the organization's discharges of water and runoff

The Mitsubishi Electric Group conducts thorough management in accordance with local laws and regulations in Japan and overseas to ensure that the water it discharges doesn't cause pollution or damage to the ecosystem and people's lives and cultures due to chemical substances, chemical/nutritional load or suspended solids. If an individual improvement issue arises at a business site, the site is subjected to continual improvement measures within an individual environmental management program. The total volume of water discharged is being minimized by increasing the water recycling ratio.

In order to minimize the final disposal volume of waste, the Mitsubishi Electric Group conducts thorough waste analysis and separation (conversion to valuable resources), exploits waste disposal contractors, works to improve waste transportation efficiency, and has set "final disposal ratio" as an important indicator. Furthermore, in order to prevent waste-based pollution and end-of-life home appliance disposal issues, we ensure strict legal compliance and are taking steps to introduce an electronic manifest system.

Products and Services G4-EN27 Extent of impact mitigation of environmental impacts of products and services
G4-EN28 Percentage of products sold and their packaging materials that are reclaimed by category

To reduce the environmental impact of our products and services, the Mitsubishi Electric Group promotes Design for Environment activities determined from three perspectives: "reducing resource inputs", "reducing life-cycle CO2" and "avoiding emissions of environmentally hazardous substances".
"Reducing resource inputs" is an initiative linked to creating a recycling-based society. (See "Materials" aspect).
"Reducing life-cycle CO2" is an initiative linked to reducing CO2 emissions during product use. (See "Energy" and "Emissions" aspects).
Avoidance of substances that are particularly harmful to the environment is an initiative linked to preventing atmospheric, water and soil pollution and preserving biodiversity (see "Biodiversity", "Emissions" and "Effluents and Waste" aspects).

Regarding products, in order to design easily recyclable products, we hold Design for Environment technical seminars, which provide an opportunity for feedback on product design. We also develop technologies for recovering and sorting materials, as well as technologies for utilizing recycled materials. End-of-life products recovered under Japan's Home Appliance Recycling Law are processed appropriately and recycled at a Group company.
Regarding packaging, to reduce transportation packaging, we're promoting the use of simpler packaging, expanding the application of returnable containers and packaging, and recycling used packaging.

Compliance G4-EN29 Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations -
To ensure there are no environmental accidents or violations of environmental laws and regulations, we aim to ensure that employees understand and are aware of related laws and regulations. This includes sharing information about recent trends as well as about causes and countermeasures for even the smallest of mistakes. We also conduct regular equipment inspections. At all sites where PCB waste is stored or devices containing PCB are used, inspection/verification of storage/usage conditions is carried out at least once a year together with planning for disposal.
Transport G4-EN30 Significant environmental impacts of transporting products and other goods and materials for the organization's operations, and transporting members of the workforce

The Mitsubishi Electric Group procures raw materials globally, but has not formed a large-scale supply/distribution network for products. Therefore, significant environmental impact as the result of transportation (distribution) has not been verified.

  • For energy consumption and CO2 emissions from transportation (distribution) and reducing the use of packaging materials, please see "Energy", "Emissions" and "Products and Services".
Overall G4-EN31 Total environmental protection expenditures and investments by type
Regarding total environmental protection expenditures, based on the "Environmental Accounting Guidelines 2005" produced by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, a summary of environmental conservation costs, environmental conservation effects (environmental performance), and the economic impact accompanying environmental conservation measures (actual effects of revenue/expense cuts) are calculated and announced each year.
Supplier Environmental Assessment G4-EN32 Percentage of new suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria -
G4-EN33 Significant actual and potential negative environmental impacts in the supply chain and actions taken
To prevent and mitigate negative environmental impact in supply chains, based on the Green Procurement Standards Guide, the Green Accreditation system was implemented in April 2006 to evaluate our suppliers. A green accreditation rate of 100% is being maintained.
Environmental Grievance Mechanisms G4-EN34 Number of grievances about environmental impacts filed, addressed, and resolved through formal grievance mechanisms -
Environmental grievances are processed through the Corporate Environmental Sustainability Group.

Receiving "A-List Company" Recognition, the Highest Evaluation from CDP*

In fiscal 2017, Mitsubishi Electric was named an A-List company in two programs of the CDP: "Climate Change 2016" and "Water 2016". The CDP awarded us this highest evaluation in recognition of the company's actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, as well as exceptional activities in terms of measures and strategies for water resources. For the CDP Supply Chain Program, we also received A-List recognition in the CDP Supplier Climate and CDP Supplier Water categories. Furthermore, for the CDP Supplier Engagement Rating, which assesses initiatives against climate change across the entire supply chain, a top "A" grade was also given. We will continue to press forward with our efforts for environmental conservation.

  • * CDP: An international NGO that examines, evaluates and discloses environmental initiatives of corporations and cities.
diagram: Receiving "A-List Company" Recognition, the Highest Evaluation from CDP