Environmental protection

★: Assured by an independent assurance provider

Promoting the Effective Use of Water

The Sumitomo Chemical Group recognizes that the importance of water as a limited natural resource is a global issue. 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)

(Millions of tonnes)

Sumitomo Chemical★ 282 243 253
Sumitomo Chemical and Group companies in Japan★ 1,043 975 1,017
Overseas Group companies 6.48 7.09 7.19


  • Including seawater
  • Data for previous fiscal years has been retroactively adjusted to enhance accuracy.

Effective Procurement of Raw Materials

To maximize production efficiency for such chemical raw materials as ethylene and propylene, Sumitomo Chemical suspended operations at its ethylene plant in 2015 and consolidated production at Keiyo Ethylene Co., Ltd., which is a joint venture between Maruzen Petrochemical Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Chemical.

Raw Material Use (Group, Sumitomo Chemical)

(Thousand tonnes)

  2015 2016 2017
  Group Sumitomo Chemical Group Sumitomo Chemical Group Sumitomo Chemical
Hydrocarbon compounds 1,940 1,553 1,779 1,525 1,835 1,593
Metals (excluding minor metals) 123 117 116 111 120 115
Minor metals 0.08 0.02 0.17 0.05 10.17 0.02

Notes: Tanaka Chemical Corporation and SCIOCS COMPANY LIMITED are included in Group companies from 2017.

Thorough Waste Management and the Reduction of Landfill Waste★

Sumitomo Chemical and Group companies in Japan work in unison to make industrial waste treatment more transparent and to properly manage it. We have worked to help achieve the goals of the Japan Business Federation’s voluntary environmental action plan, a major industry initiative. Among these goals was to reduce the amount of industrial waste sent to landfills to 70% below the fiscal 2000 level by fiscal 2020. In addition, we set in-house reduction targets and work to reduce the amount of waste generated and promote recycling. In fiscal 2017, landfill waste was 1 thousand tonnes on a non-consolidated basis and 21 thousand tonnes for Sumitomo Chemical and Group companies in Japan, representing reductions well beyond the targets of the above-mentioned action plans. From fiscal 2017 onwards, we will continue to properly manage waste and reduce landfill waste with the target of reducing landfill waste 80% compared with fiscal 2000.

Processing PCB Waste

As for both high- and low-concentration PCB-containing waste, the entire Group is stepping up its equipment surveys, seeking to identify PCB-containing devices currently in use, including condensers, transformers, and stabilizers. In addition, we are disposing of waste in line with the regulations stipulated in the Act on Special Measures against PCB Wastes.

Protecting the Atmosphere, Water, and Soil

Sumitomo Chemical and Group companies in Japan work to identify major environmental risks in each field in line with the latest laws and regulations, including the Air Pollution Control Act, Water Pollution Control Act, and Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act. We take measures to systematically reduce risks related to highly important and urgent matters.

Protecting the Atmosphere

Reining in PM2.5* Emissions

We conduct detailed surveys of boilers, gas turbines, heating furnaces, dry furnaces, cracking furnaces, waste incinerators, and other such equipment, testing for emissions of VOCs and other gaseous atmospheric pollutants, soot, SOx, NOx, and hydrogen chloride, which are also the source of secondary particles and PM2.5. We strive to further reduce emissions for each source.

  • Particulate matter of up to 2.5 μm in diameter

Enhancing Fluorocarbon Management

We are executing a plan with a definitive deadline to completely phase out refrigeration equipment that uses CFCs and HCFCs as refrigerants. With regard to refrigeration equipment that uses HFCs as well, we have begun considering systematically switching over to equipment that uses HFCs with a low global warming potential or to non-CFC equipment. We aim to dutifully adhere to this plan, which, in line with the Act for Rationalized Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons, includes devising ways of minimizing leaks when industrial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is in use as well as taking thorough, swift action once problems related to equipment installation are uncovered.

Emissions of Mercury into the Atmosphere from Waste Incinerators

We measured concentrations of mercury (both gas and particles) emitted into the atmosphere by our waste incinerators, which we own as assets, and completed a study of the impact of these emissions. The results have confirmed that mercury is being effectively removed by emission gas removal equipment, including bag filters and scrapers installed at incinerators, and that the concentration of mercury released into the atmosphere from any of our incinerators does not exceed the emission guidelines set under the Air Pollution Control Act.

Protecting Aquatic Environments

Regulations for Reducing Total Water Emissions

We are continually working to reduce the impact of water emissions from our plants on Tokyo Bay and other closed coastal waters where regulations are in place for reducing the total water emissions of COD, nitrogen, and phosphorus. To help achieve the goals of the eighth basic policy on reducing total water emissions, which has a target fiscal year of 2020 and covers all prefectures in Japan, we will continue to work to treat water emitted by our Works.

Promoting Safer and More Reliable Water Treatment

We have developed water treatment management technology that helps reduce our impact on the environment and are employing this technology to realize safe and reliable water treatment at all our plants.

Protecting the Soil Environment

Based on soil management conditions at Sumitomo Chemical business sites, we have established targets to prevent harmful substances (oil, heavy metals) from spreading beyond the boundaries of these sites. To this end, we have continued surveys and evaluations of soil contamination as well as remediation work on Group-owned land. We have also monitored groundwater close to our boundaries on a regular basis to confirm that levels of hazardous materials, including heavy metals and oils, are below those stipulated by environmental standards.

Biodiversity Preservation Initiatives

Taking biodiversity into consideration is one of Sumitomo Chemical’s most important pillars as it strives toward building a sustainable society. We actively participate in a private-sector biodiversity partnership while giving considerable thought to what we should be mindful of as a chemical company. We are also expanding individual activities at Group companies.

Example Activities

  • Promoting “Sumika Sustainable Solutions”
  • Improving energy efficiency, recycling resources, promoting the 3Rs, encouraging CSR procurement
  • Undertaking environmental impact assessments at the planning stage for new plant construction and implementing countermeasures
  • Implementing environmental protection projects jointly with NGOs
  • Complying with internal safety management regulations pertaining to the use of genetically modified organisms
  • Undertaking proper management of chemical substances

Sumitomo Chemical’s Commitment to the Conservation of Biodiversity

  1. We position the conservation of biodiversity as one of our most important management issues and strive to help protect the global environment.
  2. We work to continuously reduce environmental impact in our production operations and our development and supply of products and services and in cooperation with third parties in the supply chain and thereby contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.
  3. By regularly implementing education programs, we ensure that employees fully recognize and understand the importance of biodiversity and promote our commitment to its conservation.
  4. We continuously engage in corporate social responsibility activities that contribute to environmental protection and lead to greater trust and confidence from society.
  5. We disclose the results of these efforts and maintain effective communication with the general public.

Looking Ahead

To effectively use the earth’s limited resources and shift to a sustainable society, we must fulfill our ever expanding role in the field of environmental conservation. The Sumitomo Chemical Group aims to further reduce environmental risks through measures intended to address environmental conservation issues. These measures are centered on ongoing strict risk management, adherence to domestic and overseas regulations, careful monitoring of environmental trends, and promoting proactive and effective voluntary activities.