There is no longer any doubt that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Instances of damage caused by storms, floods, droughts and other extreme weather events are increasing, and the scale of the damage is growing, and there is growing concern over the risk to the global economy.
At the Mitsubishi Materials Group, we are advancing initiatives for reducing CO2 emissions by setting targets for individual facilities in accordance with our Environmental Policy. We are also assessing and controlling risks and opportunities related to climate change.
Physical risks related to climate change at each facility, including water risks associated with acute and chronic risks of extreme weather events such as superstorms, floods, storm surges and drought are covered by the risk management activities of the Group.
With respect to transition risks, any tightening of regulations on greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions trading schemes) could pose a financial risk to all of our businesses. Above all, our cement business is believed to face considerable financial risk because the business not only produces CO2 through its use of energy sources, but it also produces CO2 emissions through the thermal decomposition of limestone, the main raw material in cement production.
At the same time however, demand for technologies, products, and services that will help to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions is expected to increase, which could create more business opportunities. At the Mitsubishi Materials Group, we take initiatives including the development of materials, products, and technologies that contribute to decarbonization, the development and promotion of the use of renewable energy such as geothermal power generation, participation in projects pushing forward demonstration experiments or studies into suitable locations related to CO2 capture and storage, and activities to preserve the forests we own.
In March 2020, we at the Mitsubishi Materials Group decided to support the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which was established by the Financial Stability Board, and also decided to participate in the TCFD Consortium, which consists of companies, financial institutions, and other organizations which support those recommendations. We will continue to disclose information proactively in accordance with the TCFD recommendations, through the assessment and control of the risks that we face and opportunities related to climate change, and by considering the reflection of risks and opportunities in our medium- to long-term management strategy and risk management.
In April 2019, we established the Sustainable Development Department under the Corporate Strategy Department to plan and promote strategic initiatives on risks and opportunities related to global warming by linking them with a company-wide management strategy. In addition, the Climate Change and Energy Panel, a dedicated subcommittee under the Sustainable Management Office that was established in April 2020, is considering scenario analyses based on the TCFD recommendations, setting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and advancing consultations, and is sharing of information, and furthering other activities related to climate change. The results of the monitoring of this panel's activities are to be reported at the Executive Officers’ Meeting and to Board of Directors on a quarterly basis, after being reported to, deliberated on, and other actions at the Sustainable Management Office.
The panel is discussing the medium-and long-term impact of climate change on our businesses and greenhouse gas reduction targets, which are the main themes of its activities in fiscal 2021.
With respect to the medium- and long-term impact on our businesses, after identifying climate-change-related risks and opportunities in each business and analyzing the impact they may have on each business, measures to address them are discussed. We will conduct scenario analyses, which the TCFD recommendations recommend to be disclosed and used in strategy formulation and plan to disclose information that we believe is particularly important.
We are having discussions and consultations regarding greenhouse gas reduction targets, with the agenda including R&D and capital investments for innovation as well as energy conservation and the utilization of existing technologies, aiming to set medium- to long-term goals for contributing to building a decarbonized society, which is a goal of the Company.
The vast majority (approx. 91%) of the water we consume at the Mitsubishi Materials Group is seawater used as cooling water. Consumption of fresh water (such as industrial water and groundwater) is relatively low. However, because a shortage of fresh water may affect our business activities, securing the necessary quality and amount of water is essential for the business operation of the Group. In addition, we have considered the seriousness of the water-related problems that have occurred frequently in recent years, such as flooding caused by typhoons or torrential rains, and the great impact of these problems. We manage the risks related to these problems accordingly.
We implement measures for reducing water risks at individual facilities. To secure water resources, we save water through measures including the recycling of water, the introduction of equipment with low water consumption, and the renovation of equipment to reduce water consumption. To counteract the risk of flooding, we take initiatives including the elevation of buildings, pumps, and electric equipment, the installation of drainage pumps, as well as the implementation of disaster drills assuming high water events. We also take measures to prevent abnormalities in the quality of the effluent from our facilities and to prevent water quality accidents. These measures include the management of effluent under our own standards that are stricter than laws and regulations, as well as the introduction of sensors that detect abnormal water quality and a system that stops water discharges automatically.
To understand the status of water risks at our manufacturing facilities (including some research institutions) to reduce the water risks of the overall Group, we conducted risk assessments in fiscal 2020 using Aqueduct, a water risk assessment tool developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI). We also conducted hearings at individual facilities to check their conditions in detail concerning risks identified by Aqueduct.
Using Aqueduct, we assessed risks at individual facilities concerning items related to water risks, including items regarding the securing of water resources and others regarding the effects of flooding caused by rivers or high tides. As a result, we found that we have overseas facilities located in areas with a high level of risk relating to water resources, flooding, or water quality, as well as facilities in Japan located in areas that have a high risk of flooding.
Based on the results of the water risk assessments made using Aqueduct, we conducted hearings concerning items related to water risks at each facility to find out about incidents that had occurred in the past and measures for reducing risks that have been taken at each facility, among others.
As a result of these hearings, we judged that there was nothing of great concern, because no water incidents had ever occurred, or measures for reducing the risks had been taken individually at facilities that were judged by Aqueduct to be high risk.
Moving forward, regarding the results of risk assessments made with Aqueduct, we will consider the detailed water risk conditions of each facility that were revealed based on the results of the hearings and also consider the information on the water consumption and water pollutant load of each facility that we have obtained. Through these and other measures, we will continue to pursue assessment methods that are suitable for the Group’s businesses and apply them to reduce water risks.
Total greenhouse gas emissions (non-consolidated + main consolidated subsidiaries) for the Group in fiscal 2020 was 11,044 thousand tons. Which was a decrease of 443 thousand tons compared to the previous year.
In fiscal 2020, our non-consolidated greenhouse gas emissions from energy sources were 3,204 thousand tons. It decreased by 224 thousand tons compared to the previous year.
*Greenhouse gas emissions derived from non-energy sources comes mainly from limestone, which is used as a raw material. As it is difficult to substitute or reduce volumes of limestone, however, our emissions target covers greenhouse gas emissions derived from energy sources, which can be reduced by energy saving initiatives.
Greenhouse gas emissions on a non-consolidated basis were reduced by 394 thousand tons CO₂ (5% reduction) compared to the previous year, mainly due to a decrease in cement production. In addition, the basic unit was improved by 0.8% due to the improvement of Naoshima Smelter & Refinery (79% compared to the previous year).
Energy consumption decreased by 4% compared to the previous year due to a decrease in cement production, but the basic unit improved by 0.7% due to an increase in the use of thermal energy alternatives for waste plastic and recycled oil. Business Operator Classification Evaluation System : S class (S class: improvement of basic unit of 1% or more on average over the past 5 years is required).
* Energy consumption per unit is calculated in accordance with the periodic report guidelines prescribed under Japan’s Act on the Rational Use of Energy (Energy Conservation Act). As the Company’s business is diverse, we identify a “value intimately related to energy use” for each business and use it as the denominator for calculations. We calculate each business’s contribution by multiplying the year-on-year of each business’s energy consumption per unit with that business’s share of the Company’s total energy use. The product is the Company’s total consumption per unit (year-on-year). Greenhouse gas emissions per unit is calculated in the same way.
|Category||Non-consolidated||Domestic group companies||Overseas group companies||Total companies|
|From energy sources
|From non-energy sources||From processes||3,854||173||674||4,701|
|Greenhouse gases other than CO2||19||38||3||61|
Total from non-energy sources
|From energy sources
|(Reference) Total from energy sources||3,204||1,085||1,252||5,541|
We regard it as a top priority to save energy wherever possible at our manufacturing facilities and plants. That is why we are so committed to energy saving activities. Specific activities include switching fuels, making effective use of untapped energy, upgrading processes and equipment, installing high-efficiency equipment, optimizing device specifications, and reviewing equipment controls and operating practices. We are constantly working to save energy at smaller facilities, too, including Head Office, branches, sales offices and research facilities, through measures such as installing LED lighting.
The Group’s efforts to realize a sustainable society include establishing global warming prevention targets to be met by 2020 and acting on our total commitment to achieving higher energy efficiency through such means as actively pursuing energy saving at our facilities. We are monitoring progress toward achieving our targets at 13 facilities (with five plants counted as one in the cement business). Our performance in fiscal 2020 registered 100% or higher achievement of our targets at 2 facilities but under 50% at the remaining sites. In addition to pursuing CO2 reduction initiatives, we are working to achieve clearly defined targets, such as effective use of recycled resources, aimed at contributing to a recycling-oriented society.
* We have set out the following scale to indicate progress.
☆☆☆☆: 100% or higher achievement of milestones at the end of fiscal 2019 for achieving the 2020 targets,
☆☆☆: Between 80% and 100% achievement,
☆☆: Between 50% and 80% achievement,
☆: Zero to 50% achievement
We are working to reduce power consumption, through measures such as ensuring adequate mill maintenance, reviewing maintenance of exhaust heat power generation systems, increasing electrical equipment efficiency, and switching to LED lighting, while also striving to improve energy efficiency through initiatives such as increasing the amount of alternative thermal energy sources that we use, making energy-saving upgrades to burning equipment, and introducing low-temperature burning technology as an innovative technology.
We are working to increase energy use efficiency through measures such as saving energy from compressors and related equipment, increasing efficiency from transformers and motors, and switching to LED lighting, as well as to improve energy efficiency through initiatives such as reviewing operations for individual furnaces, in order to reduce fuel oil consumption.
We are working to reduce power consumption through measures such as improving water pump controls, saving energy from air conditioning, refrigeration, compressors and related equipment, installing higher efficiency electrical equipment, switching to LED lighting, and upgrading various other processes, as well as to improve energy efficiency through initiatives such as optimizing controls on boilers and heat recovery equipment.
We have been running an award scheme to promote activities at facilities throughout the Mitsubishi Materials Group since fiscal 2011, aimed at preventing global warming, preserving resources, and protecting the environment. The results of our fiscal 2020 contest are outlined as follows.
Under our corporate philosophy, "To provide beverage containers friendly to human beings, society and the earth," we at Universal Can Corporation work on the promotion of energy conservation, water quality control, and waste reduction as our priority environmental initiatives in pursuit of the reduction of environmental impact. We applied good initiatives being taken at other plants, such as switching to LED lighting and introducing inverter oven circulation fans. At the same time, we took initiatives such as the replacement of steam boilers with high-efficiency ones during the fuel conversion to city gas, the reduction of chemical use and sludge from wastewater treatment at wastewater treatment facilities with the introduction of a dissolved air flotation device and the replacement of filter presses, and our continuous activities collecting aluminum beverage cans. These initiatives led to steady achievements, such as the reduction of energy and waste unit consumption, which were regarded highly. We will continue activities which will lead people to say "We were right in choosing Universal Can Corporation," under the slogan of "Can For You!"
At the Kyushu Plant, we promote the reduction of environmental impact and energy conservation by proactively using waste and recycled resources. Aiming to increase the volume of processed waste plastics further, we increased the number of crushers and transportation equipment and solved process-related issues which hampered our increasing the volume, from FY2018 to FY2019. In addition to reducing the unit consumption of heat energy by increasing the volume of waste plastics, we processed illegally abandoned waste at Teshima, Kagawa prefecture and processed disaster waste generated by the torrential rain in Northern Kyushu, thereby contributing to the recovery of the environment and the reconstruction of disaster-afflicted areas, which was highly praised.
Our CO2 emissions from logistics for fiscal 2019 totaled 44,856 tons for Mitsubishi Materials (up 946 tons from the previous year), and 79,443 tons for the Mitsubishi Materials Group*¹ (up 2,123 tons). Meanwhile, energy consumption per unit*² came to 16.05 kiloliters per million ton-kilometers for Mitsubishi Materials (0.7% worse than the previous year), and 20.16 kiloliters per million ton-kilometers for the Group as a whole (1.5% worse than the previous year).
We will continue to promote a modal shift with a focus on long-distance transport and optimize logistics throughout the Group in our efforts to build a logistics system with low environmental impact.
|Mitsubishi Materials||Group companies*1||Mitsubishi Materials||Group companies*1|
For the Group, tackling climate change has been one of its most important tasks for building a decarbonized society. Reflecting this, the Group has been approaching manufacturing with a view to reducing the environmental impact and has developed and promoted the use of renewable sources of energy, such as geothermal energy.
We regard “next-generation vehicles,” “IoT and AI,” “urban mining” and “clean energy and decarbonization" as social needs that the Group should grasp in our medium-term management strategy. In the areas of "next-generation vehicles" and "IoT and AI," we will expand the scope of its copper and aluminum products, seals, wear-resistant tools, and sensors, while developing new products and businesses. In the areas of "urban mines" and "clean energy and decarbonization," we will create new products and businesses from among those related to recycling, renewable energy and hydrogen society.
As specific examples, we have been making announcements since 2019 on the development of metal base substrates for high-brightness LEDs for next-generation vehicles, uniform electrodeposition coating technology for high-heat-resistant and high-insulation resins, and die-bonding sinter materials for next-generation power modules. We are promoting dissemination by advancing the elemental technology development which is indispensable for these next-generation vehicles. We will continue our development to be put into practical use in stages by around 2050.
In the headlamp of the next-generation vehicle, the adoption of the high-brightness LED advances in place of the conventional light source for the energy saving. We have developed a metal base substrate that is lower in cost than conventional ceramic substrates while having the high heat dissipation required for high-brightness LEDs.
We intend to build the reliability of the printed circuit boards and launch a mass production process in order to commercialize and disseminate them by around 2022.
High insulation reliability under high temperature is required for coils used in power inductors, motors and reactors, which are used in inverters for controlling high-output motor power supply of next-generation vehicles.
Recently, with demand for further miniaturization of those coil devices, a uniform coating technology is getting required to perform insulation of complex-shaped conductors. We have developed a unique electrodeposition technology that can uniformly coat resin film with high heat resistance and high insulation property even for complex shapes.
In the future, further upgrading of film characteristics will be carried out, and the construction of mass production process of electrodeposition machining will be aimed at by around 2022.
In the next-generation type power module used in the inverter for high output motor power supply control of the next-generation vehicle, there is a demand for the function enhancement in the die bonding for high-temperature operating semiconductor element such as SiC to the copper material. Previously, it was necessary to apply precious metal plating such as gold and silver to the substrate surface, and pressurize while heating. We have developed a die bonding material that can bond semiconductor die to substrate without pressure nor precious metal plating to the copper surface of the substrate, and can exhibit the bonding strength and heat resistance equivalent to the conventional die bonding products.
In the future, further improvement of reliability and optimization of the process will be carried out, and the commercialization and dissemination will be aimed at around 2021.
We contribute to reducing greenhouse gases by maintaining operation of exiting geothermal power stations sustainably and launching new geothermal power stations gradually in areas currently under construction and exploration.
In order to build more efficient geothermal power plants at lower cost, we improve engineering skills regarding resources exploration, resources development, plant engineering and operation management, which currently the Group owns.
Geothermal power generation is characterized by extremely low lifecycle CO2 emissions among renewable energies like hydroelectric power generation and also featured by a domestic energy source among renewable energies and a stable power source that is not affected by weather.
We started operation of the Onuma Geothermal Power Station (Kazuno City, Akita Prefecture, 9.5MW), which is the third geothermal power station in Japan in 1974, and started a steam supply project to the Sumikawa Geothermal Power Plant of Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. (Kazuno City, Akita Prefecture, 50MW) in 1995 in cooperation with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. In May 2019, Wasabizawa Geothermal Power Station (46.2MW in Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture) began operation, jointly sponsored by Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., Inc. In August 2019, Appi Geothermal Energy Corporation, a joint venture of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. and Electric Power Development Co., Ltd., began construction of the Appi Geothermal Power Station (14.9MW in Hachimantai City, Iwate Prefecture) and is scheduled to begin operation in 2024. All of the power stations are located in heavy snowfall areas, and the Appi Geothermal Power Station, in particular, has the highest altitude in Japan and is expected to accumulate snow in excess of 4m, making it extremely challenging in terms of construction and operation.
Geothermal power generation is a technique of generating electricity by extracting steam and hot water from the underground, so exploration and development skills for underground resources hold the key to success. We plan to improve the skills cultivated over many years in mine development, and to explore promising geothermal resources by conducting geothermal surveys in new regions throughout Japan, mainly in the Tohoku region, and to start up geothermal power plants gradually. Preliminary surveys have already been conducted in multiple areas, and full-scale surveys involving drilling of wells are scheduled to start one after another from when preparations are completed.
The Group has joined Challenge Zero,* a project launched by the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren; hereinafter, the "Keidanren"). In this project, the Group will deploy technologies, products, and services, that contribute to building a decarbonized society, in Japan and in other countries. The Group will also proactively collaborate with companies from the same industry and from other industries, and also with academia, government organizations, and others, thereby committing itself further to resolving issues related to climate change.
Information about specific initiatives the Group is taking as a part of Challenge Zero will be provided on the official Challenge Zero website maintained by the Keidanren.
At the Mitsubishi Materials Group, we take two approaches to study how to reduce the CO2 emissions from production activities, by putting to good use the outstanding technologies for assessing underground structures, which we have built up since our foundation, as well as our human resources.
In May 2008, we invested in Japan CCS Co., Ltd., which was established under the leadership of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Through Japan CCS, we are participating in the Large-scale CCS Demonstration Project in Tomakomai and Investigation of Potential Sites for CO2 Storage. This company achieved the injection of 300,000 tons of CO2 in November 2019. We are also contributing to assessment studies for CO2 storage in Demonstration Project of Sustainable CCS Technology headed by Ministry of the Environment, which started in fiscal 2017.
Outline of CCS
Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Plant
Images and photos provided by Japan CCS Co., Ltd.
Toward the Practical Application of Bioplastic Materials Derived using CO2- fixation in Algae.
In the Development and Demonstration Project for Reduction of CO2 Emission: 2017 to 2019, a Ministry of the Environment project, we completed the "Joint development of carbon reduction technology through the efficient production of algae biomass and conversion of the algae biomass into a highly functional plastic," a joint research project with the University of Tsukuba, NEC Corporation, and Sobio Technologies Inc.
Based on small-scale testing that continued until the previous fiscal year, we implemented continuous treatment by using multiple cultivation tanks, each with a capacity of 2,000 liters, at our cement manufacturing plant in the current fiscal year. We confirmed that plastic production is possible at the rate of approx. 1 kilogram of plastics from about 4 kilograms of CO2 collected through this means of treatment. We submitted the research findings to the Ministry of the Environment, and the evaluation has been completed.
The bioplastic, which is produced by using CO2 generated in the cement manufacturing process, has performance which enables it to serve as an alternative to petroleum-based synthetic plastics. This has enabled us to showcase a method for contributing to a low-carbon, recycling society.
We stably generate environmental loading-reducing electric power through our Ohnuma Geothermal Plant and Sumikawa Geothermal Plant (steam supply only, power generated by Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc.), both in the Hachimantai area of Kazuno, Akita prefecture, as well as the Wasabizawa Geothermal Power Plant (owned by Yuzawa Geothermal Power Corporation, established jointly with Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc.), which began commercial operation on May 20, 2019 in the Takamatsu and Akinomiya areas of Yuzawa, Akita prefecture. In fiscal 2020, we generated a total of 601 GWh of power. The operation of our geothermal plants and steam supply systems effectively reduced CO2 emissions by approx. 190,000 tons (*calculated based on emissions from Sumikawa Geothermal Plant of Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. and our equity stake in Wasabizawa Geothermal Power Plant of Yuzawa Geothermal Power Corporation).
In conducting the geothermal power generation business, we have to confirm the geothermal systems of Sumikawa area, in order to maintain continual and stable supplies of steam. We are working to maintain a geothermal reservoir at the Sumikawa Geothermal Area, with the aim of increasing the amount of power generated in the future. We have been examining data, and reanalyzing geothermal systems since we started operations at the site, as we continue to focus on maintaining stable operations.
In addition to operating existing power plants, we are currently working on new projects too. Yuzawa Geothermal Power Corporation, established jointly with Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. started construction of Wasabizawa Geothermal Power Plant in May 2015 and began commercial operation of this plant on May 20, 2019. In October 2015, we established Appi Geothermal Energy Corporation in conjunction with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. We were joined by Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. in June 2018. The three companies are promoting commercialization and started construction in August 2019.
We are also in the process of conducting joint surveys with other companies in the Bandai-Azuma-Adatara area of Fukushima prefecture. We are hoping to carry out further studies in the Komonomori area of Kazuno, Akita prefecture, providing that we can secure support from the local community.
We have a long history of generating hydroelectric power, dating back to 1898, when we built seven hydroelectric power plants in Akita prefecture, for the purpose of supplying enough power to run Osarizawa Mine (opened as a gold mine, later operated as a copper mine, closed in 1978) and homes in the local area. We were compensated for one of those power plants when a dam was built and the plant was submerged in 2000. The remaining six however are still operating today, selling all of the power that they generate to a power company. Since 2014, we have successfully completed upgrades at three hydroelectric power plants, in an effort to deal with aging facilities. We also completed updates at Oyu Hydroelectric Power Plant (Kazuno) in March 2018. In addition, in May 2019, we began to construct the New Komatagawa Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Komata River, a branch stream of the Ani River in the reservoirs along the Yoneshiro River in Kita-Akita City, Akita since the No. 4 Komatagawa Hydroelectric Power Plant, which was completed in 1953. We are determined to continue securing both stable operations and stable revenue in the future.
In fiscal 2020, the combined total of power generated by all six hydroelectric power plants was 82 GWh. Our operation of hydroelectric power plants effectively reduced CO2 emissions by approx. 50,000 tons.
Having entered the solar power business in 2013, making effective use of idle group land, by 2017 we had built power plants in five locations as part of a joint venture with Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company Limited. We are currently operating plants in Makabe (Ibaraki prefecture), Fukui (Fukui prefecture), Torigoe (Fukuoka prefecture), Irigama (Miyagi prefecture), and Yabuki (Fukushima prefecture).In fiscal 2020, the combined total of power generated by all five solar power plants was 29 GWh. The operation of these power plants effectively reduced CO2 emissions, with a 10,000 ton reduction attributable to us, representing our share of the power plants.
* The above figures have been recalculated based on the latest data published by the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry (2010).
In 2000, Mitsubishi Materials Techno Corporation entered the business of ground-source heat, which is heat from a renewable energy source, as a provider of total engineering solutions. The company has been providing services in the process from project proposal through investigation, design, construction, and maintenance.
The company has continued its R&D efforts and acquired patented technologies through a project commissioned by NEDO and others, aiming to become the No.1 company in geothermal technologies. As a result, the company has succeeded in building infrastructure using ground-source heat by developing commercial systems with various heat exchange methods, including not only the common borehole method but also foundation pile, horizontal, and earth retaining wall methods. At present, Mitsubishi Materials Techno Corporation is promoting sales of these technologies as systems for using ground-source heat utilized through urban infrastructure, aiming to contribute to smart cities in the future.
Approx. 120 systems from the company have been installed. In FY2020, the company completed one of the largest projects in Japan, which combines the borehole method (100 m in depth x 120 boreholes) and the horizontal method (nine approx. 100 m long trenches), at the construction site of the Nishine Hospital of Hachimantai City. It also completed one of the largest projects in the Tokyo metropolitan area, which applied the foundation pile method (66 cast-in-place piles) at the construction site of the new building of Yokohama City Hall. Through these and other projects, the use of ground-source heat is expanding. Moving forward, Mitsubishi Materials Techno Corporation plans to strengthen project proposals with the open loop method, with which groundwater is pumped up directly and used.