Green Factories (procurement and production initiatives)
Reduction of Chemical Substances Risks in Production
Working on reducing chemical risks based on the concept of the precautionary principle
There is international consensus on the need for companies that manufacture and use chemical substances to take steps to minimize the adverse effects of chemicals, not only on human health, but also on the environment. Based on this shared perception, many countries around the world are revising their regulations concerning chemical substances. Having taken a position in advance of this new international current, based on a concept known as the "precautionary principle," Konica Minolta has focused on enhancing its advance evaluation of chemical risks, reducing the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere, and eliminating hazardous substances from production processes and products to improve safety management for workers and product users.
Prior Risk Assessment of Chemical Substances
Using its unique safety verification system to achieve the appropriate management of chemicals
Risk assessment of candidate materials using a safety verification system
Konica Minolta has established a safety verification system that assesses the risk of candidate materials when considering the use of new chemicals in the process of creating products. Using this system, the Group practices appropriate management based on comprehensive chemical risk assessment in terms of product safety, environmental safety, and work safety.
Designation of prohibited and restricted chemical substances
Konica Minolta designates prohibited and restricted chemicals based on its own criteria in order to eliminate chemicals with unacceptable hazards in the prior risk assessment carried out before the adoption of a chemical substance. These criteria include not only chemicals regulated by law, but also chemicals recognized as significantly hazardous by specialized institutions.
Calculating risk points for chemicals
Konica Minolta calculates points for the hazard risk of substances based on a unique calculation method used in its safety verification system. This quantifies the hazardousness points based on three factors: (1) type and degree of hazardousness; (2) level of safety measures; and (3) amount used. Using these numbers, it is possible to compare different types of risks—such as the danger of an explosion or serious health effects such as carcinogenicity—on the same scale. In this way, Konica Minolta quantitatively assesses the potential risks of hazardousness in chemicals.
Risk management that envisions substance usage
Since risks differ depending on the form of exposure, Konica Minolta classifies substances into four categories that envision usage, ranging from use under strict safety controls (e.g., at production sites) to use by the general public, which cannot be assumed to take safety measures. It then specifies safety requirements according to the different risks in order to carry out more practical risk management.
When there is a necessity to use highly hazardous chemicals, Konica Minolta holds a safety determination meeting to stipulate rigorous management conditions for minimizing risks in terms of procurement, storage, handling, and disposal.
Risk assessment during continual use
Even after incorporating a chemical into the production process after conducting a risk assessment, Konica Minolta checks periodically to make sure that there are no changes in the amount used or the conditions of use. If there are any changes, a risk assessment is performed again to ensure appropriate management.
Reducing and Fully Phasing out Chemicals
Reducing VOCs based on Konica Minolta's own risk management indicators
Konica Minolta assesses risk based on a chemical's hazardousness and amount of use and is committed to finding alternatives and reducing those substances judged to have a high risk. Since 1993 it has been making efforts to reduce atmospheric emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from production sites worldwide. It identified VOCs with particularly high risks for full phase-out, and has maintained the full phase-out status for those identified items.
Reducing atmospheric emissions of VOCs
Konica Minolta is systematically reducing VOCs in line with its own environmental impact index, which multiplies the impact on the human body and the environment by a location coefficient as a management indicator. Each site has established reduction goals in line with the Green Factory Certification System and is working to achieve them.
|Hazard coefficient||Example of substances|
|Substances that pose a risk to human health
Substances that pose a risk to ecosystems
Substances that pose a risk of atmospheric pollution
|×10||dichloromethane, ethyl acrylate, n-heptane|
|Substances that pose a risk of having an indirect adverse impact on the environment||×1||isopropyl alcohol, methanol, ethanol, acetone, ethyl acetate|
- Environmental impact index: An index unique to Konica Minolta.
Environmental impact index (point) = Atmospheric emissions of VOCs [t] × Hazard coefficient × Location coefficient
Hazard coefficient: Set at 1-fold, 10-fold, or 100-fold depending on the severity of the impact on human health and the environment (set independently by Konica Minolta based on the coefficient used in the safety evaluations conducted by Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan)
Location coefficient: Outside the industrial park: 5; inside the industrial park: 1
Substances for Which Konica Minolta Achieved a Full Phase-Out
Konica Minolta earmarked the VOCs below for full phase-out, having judged them as having an especially high risk based on the hazardousness and amount of use of each substance and made systematic efforts from early on toward that end. Those efforts resulted in the achievement of a full phase-out in fiscal 2010, which has been maintained ever since.Additionally, emissions of dimethyl formamide were reduced to zero in 2004, and that state has been maintained ever since.
Countermeasures against Contamination of Soil and Ground Water
Striving to manage the state of contamination through regular monitoring, to facilitate cleanup, and to prevent the spread of contamination
Konica Minolta has implemented countermeasures at sites where soil or ground water contamination has been identified to ensure that the contaminants do not affect the surrounding environment. This is followed up by periodic observation and managed strictly.
The Group has organized a specialist team to manage remediation of polluted sites and to prevent the spread of contamination. Detailed surveys conducted under the team's supervision serve as the basis for developing countermeasures and examining suitable purification technologies.
The Group reports the results of its observations and remediation efforts periodically to local government agencies and to concerned neighboring residents.
Establishment of Guidelines for Managing Soil Contamination Risk
Guidelines have been set in April 2011 for risk management of soil contamination as management indicator of Konica Minolta's unique Green Factory Certification System for comprehensive evaluation of the environmental activities of its production sites, and the certification standards for Level 2 require compliance with these guidelines.
Guidelines for Managing Soil Contamination Risk
- The risk of soil contamination has been assessed through preliminary surveys at production sites known to have a high risk from past surveys.
- If soil contamination (in excess of the standard value) is observed, measures are taken to prevent damage to human health.
- Measures are also taken to prevent run-off of contamination outside the site.
Dealing with Asbestos
Konica Minolta is conducting a survey into the usage of sprayed asbestos in the buildings of all its sites and affiliated companies in Japan. As of March 2014, it had confirmed that there are no health risks due to exposure. Going forward, it will continue to maintain and manage this situation while systematically removing the asbestos.
Dealing with PCBs (Condition of Storage)
Konica Minolta takes steps for the proper storage and management of PCB wastes kept in all its sites and affiliated companies in Japan. It also reports the condition of storage to the government in accordance with the law. Since 2007, it has been commissioning the disposal of wastes with high concentrations of PCBs to JESCO.* From here on the Group will continue to dispose of the waste as soon as possible according to JESCO’s capacity to take in batches. Since fiscal 2012, it has also been gradually disposing of waste with low concentrations of PCBs, in light of the certification status for treatment.
- JESCO: Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation
Figures in parentheses indicates low-concentration PCBs