Protecting the Aquatic Environment

In addition to our initiatives aimed at reducing overall water use, we have realized thorough purification of wastewater from worksites by operating stable and sophisticated wastewater treatment facilities.

  1. Responding to Increasing Sophistication of Activated Sludge Treatment
    At all Works, we are striving to develop management technologies for water treatment that will further reduce our environmental impact and apply these technologies to realize safe and secure wastewater treatment.
    At some Works, for process wastewater that is difficult to break down we have developed an activated sludge treatment utilizing microbial immobilization technology to stabilize the process water and reduce treatment costs. We are still considering applying this treatment to a wider scope of water.
  2. Responding to Water Quality Standards
    We are strengthening our voluntary management to continually reduce the COD, nitrogen, and phosphorus in wastewater emitted into the ocean and waterways from wastewater treatment facilities. In addition, we have realized stable treated water quality by enhancing the management technologies used in water treatment facilities. We are continually working to reduce the impact of water emissions from our plants on Tokyo Bay and other closed coastal waters where systems have been implemented to regulate the total water emissions of COD, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
  3. Promoting the Effective Use of Water
    We uncover various issues related to the use of fresh water on the worksite level and assess and manage the associated risks. In addition, we strive to reduce the amount of water we use by examining more effective ways to use water by application, while continuing to maintain and improve the quality of water released from our business sites into public water resources such as the ocean and waterways.

Water Usage (Sumitomo Chemical Group)

(Million tons)
 FY2017FY2018FY2019
Sumitomo Chemical Group 1,033 944 1,014
(Breakdown 1)      
Sumitomo Chemical 267 249 263 ★
Group companies in Japan  759  688 743 ★
Overseas Group companies 7.19  7.34 7.40 
(Breakdown 2)      
Seawater 930 848 918
Fresh water 103 96.0 95.4

Note: Water usage volume includes seawater

Evaluating Water-Related Problems

The Sumitomo Chemical Group is evaluating water-related risks at each production base from the perspective of water supply and demand risks and water pollution susceptibility risks.

Evaluating Water Supply and Demand Risks

The Group evaluates the baseline water stress in communities where a plant is located as well as underground water stress, the severity of droughts caused by seasonal changes in the water supply, the water storage capacity of the drainage basin, projected changes in water stress, and the percentage of water resources in the drainage basin that are protected.

Evaluating Water Pollution Susceptibility Risks

The Group evaluates water supply and demand and its fragility in terms of access to drinking water, water pollution, protected downstream areas, and the presence of endangered species in bodies of fresh water identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

As a result of the evaluation results, we are taking specific actions to reduce risks going forward for plants evaluated to have high water-related risks.

Measures to Continue Production in High Water-Related Risk Areas

The Sumitomo Chemical Group conducts business activities in many places around the world, and some of its Group companies engage in production activities in countries and regions designated as having a high baseline with regard to water stress (physical risk) according to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas. Sumitomo Chemical India’s Bhavnagar plant is one example.
To secure water for its production operation needs, the Bhavnagar plant purchases river water from the local municipality. Recently, however, there has been an increase in the surrounding population and demand for water for farms. This, coupled with a decrease in annual rainfall, has made it difficult for the plant to secure the water needed for production operations.
The Bhavnagar plant then decided to purchase a portion of the household wastewater that the surrounding municipalities are responsible for treating, and treating the wastewater itself to use in its production operations. First, the plant laid down two kilometers of pipe to transport the household wastewater to the plant. A unique aspect of this plan is that to treat the wastewater, the plant does not use the general activated sludge method but rather uses the pollutants contained in the wastewater as nutrients to farm worms (vermiculture).
Through this initiative, the plant was able to reduce its purchasing of river water by more than 70% while solving the plant’s long-standing issue of securing a stable water supply for production activities. As an added bonus, its water purchase costs were cut to around half.

Wastewater being purified through earthworm farming