Activity to Decrease Environmental Burdens

The GS Yuasa Group is working to lessen the Group's environmental burden not only at the manufacturing stage but also throughout the product life cycle.

Development and design

Designing environmentally conscious products

The GS Yuasa Group's products have some impact on the environment during every stage of the product life cycle, from procurement and manufacturing to transportation, use and disposal. In order to reduce the environmental burden throughout the product life-cycle caused by the consumption of resources and the generation of greenhouse gases and waste, the Group is committed to improving the product performance through designing that considers selection of raw materials, ease of disassembly and segregation, energy conservation, and appropriate labelling.

For an environmental assessment of product design, design departments employ design standards and then evaluate the suitability of products in design review (DR) meetings based on environmental impact assessments of every stage of the product life cycle. When environmental impact standards are not met, we review the design standards and redesign the product. We use the expertise of several departments in addition to design departments, including engineering, marketing, procurement, quality and the environment, to make sure that the results of Design for the Environment (DfE) are communicated widely, which also maximizes their effectiveness.

Environmental Assessment Items

  1. Energy conservation
  2. Volume reduction
  3. Recyclability
  4. Ease of disassembly
  5. Ease of separation processing
  6. Safety and environmental conservation
  7. Material selection
  8. Ease of maintenance
  9. Energy efficiency
  10. Reusability (life extension)

Flow of Environmental Assessment

image:Flow of Environmental Assessment

Reflecting information in the products we distribute

Important information, such as customer requirements for GS Yuasa Group products, is used when we change the design of existing products or design new products. This helps boost the value of our Design for the Environment. Information from interested parties related to after-sales service, returns and complaints are used as a valuable resource to improve the environmental performance of products.

Management of chemical substances contained in products

The GS Yuasa Group takes steps to provide products with minimal environmental burden based on the Chemical Substance Management Guidelines, which clarify the standards for chemical substances in products. These guidelines are part of initiatives to examine chemical substances contained in materials delivered as stipulated in the GS Yuasa Group green procurement criteria. With these guidelines, we classify chemicals contained in our main materials, as well as the secondary materials and the parts used in the products that the Group makes and sells as either prohibited substances or managed substances. The GS Yuasa Group works with our business partners who supply main materials, auxiliary materials and components to identify and definitively manage the substances covered by the guidelines to raise the environmental quality of our products.

Popularizing environmentally considered products

The GS Yuasa Group defines environmentally considered products as those products that help mitigate global warming, and we are actively working to develop and popularize such products.

In fiscal 2019 we started incorporating into the Group's Mid-Term Management Plan sales targets for environmentally considered products, making it part of our business strategy to work on climate change through the products we provide to customers.

Examples of Environmentally Considered Products

ItemDescriptionExamples of products
Batteries for vehicles with start-stop systems Batteries for vehicles with start-stop systems (ISS) for improving gas mileage by allowing the engine to stop instead of idling to reduce fuel consumption
image:Batteries for vehicles with start-stop systems
Storage battery system A system to effectively utilize renewable energy (power conditioners, lithium-ion battery, etc.)
image:Storage battery system1 image:Storage battery system2
Automotive Lithium-ion Batteries Hybrid vehicle batteries and electric vehicle batteries that contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gases
image:Automotive Lithium-ion Batteries1 image:Automotive Lithium-ion Batteries2

Click image to enlarge

Production

Identifying chemical substance emissions

Today, among the chemicals used in GS Yuasa Group plants, the following substances are subject to reporting under the PRTR Law.* The Group incorporates the management of hazardous substances into environmental management and regularly assesses how they have been handled to reduce environmental risk and related legal compliance.

PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) Law

This law covers identifying, etc., the emissions of specific chemical substances into the environment and promotes improved management. The law requires businesses to collect, tabulate and disclose data related to hazardous chemical substances, their sources, the amount of emissions and how much is transferred out of the plant, including as waste.

Class I Designated Chemical Substances (substances that may damage people's health or interfere with the growth of animals and plants) are subject to reporting under the PRTR system. Of these substances, those that have carcinogenic properties are classified as Specific Class I Designated Chemical Substances.

Status of release and transfer of substances subject to the PRTR Law(kg)

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Substances
subject to
the PRTR Law
Sites Released
into the air
Released
into public
waterways
Transferred
to sewage
system
Transferred
outside the
site
Total
Lead
compounds*
Kyoto 62.0 0.0 3.1 36,000.0 36,065.1
Osadano 34.0 0.0 12.0 3,000.0 3,046.0
Gunma 29.0 3.2 0.0 24.0 56.2
GS Yuasa Energy 11.0 6.8 0.0 3,200.0 3,217.8
GS Yuasa Ibaraki Co., Ltd. 15.0 4.5 0.0 50.0 69.5
Arsenic and its
inorganic
compounds*
Kyoto 2.8 0.0 0.3 3.3 6.4
Gunma 0.0 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.6
GS Yuasa Energy 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.4
Antimony and
its compounds
Kyoto 9.7 0.0 0.3 50.0 60.0
Osadano 0.0 0.0 4.1 0.0 4.1
Gunma 0.0 1.7 0.0 0.0 1.7
GS Yuasa Energy 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4
Manganese and
its compounds
Kyoto 0.0 0.0 0.0 1,100.0 1,100.0
Osadano 3.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 3.4
Lithium Energy Japan 0.0 0.0 0.0 11,000.0 11,000.0
Nickel
compounds*
Kyoto 0.0 0.0 0.0 210.0 210.0
Osadano 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.4
Odawara 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Lithium Energy Japan 0.0 0.0 0.0 860.0 860.0
Cobalt and
its compounds
Kyoto 0.0 0.0 0.0 240.0 240.0
Osadano 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Lithium Energy Japan 0.0 0.0 0.0 860.0 860.0
Dichloromethane GS Yuasa Ibaraki Co., Ltd. 1,500.0 0.0 0.0 32.0 1,532.0
Cadmium and
its compounds*
Odawara 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Triethylenetetramine GS Yuasa Ibaraki Co., Ltd. 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total   1,667.1 17.0 19.8 56,630.1 58,334.0

:Production of Specific Class I Designated Chemical Substances

Reducing waste emissions

In addition to reduction of waste (including lead-containing sludge and waste alkali) that contains hazardous substances generated during the production process, the Group is also actively working on reducing the generation of non-hazardous waste (such as wood scraps and waste plastic).

At the Gunma Plant, we were able to reduce the consumption of stretch film by altering stretch film used for packing products to a highly elastic material. As a result, the amount of waste generation associated with the use of stretch film was reduced by approximately 380 kg. Further, GS Yuasa Ibaraki Co., Ltd has been able to reduce the generation of waste wooden pallets by approximately 5.5 tons by miniaturizing the wooden pallets used at the time of product shipment to match the product size. In both cases parts used in production activities are optimized so as to reduce waste generation.

The Group promotes recycling of waste and also focuses on activities to reduce waste generation.

image

Product packaging using stretch film

image

Miniaturized wooden pallets

Energy conservation activities

The Group promotes efficient use of energy through improvement activities aimed at enhancing productivity (including efficient use of production facilities and updating to energy-saving equipment), as well as energy-saving activities by using LED lighting equipment and renovating plant buildings.

At the Kyoto Plant, the energy consumption of air conditioning equipment was reduced through control of temperature rise in the room by painting the roof of the plant building with thermal insulation coating. In plant buildings where thermal insulation coating was implemented in fiscal 2019, power consumption could be reduced by approximately 170 MWh, which is equivalent to a power-saving effect of about 10% of the electricity used in the building.

In addition, the Group has set long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets (reductions of 30% or more by fiscal 2030 in comparison to fiscal 2018) associated with its business activities, and has started projects aimed at achieving this target. In these projects, we aim to formulate and promote energy strategies with an eye to transitioning to a decarbonized society by strengthening energy conservation activities and procuring renewable energy.

image

Factory roof before thermal insulation coating

image:

Factory roof after thermal insulation coating

Operation of wastewater treatment assuming abnormal weather

As hazardous substances (such as lead) are used to manufacture storage batteries, the Group is continuously engaged in activities to minimize the adverse effects on the environment around the plant. In addition, we have adopted preparatory measures that conform to regulatory standards for discharge of wastewater off-site, in the event of abnormal weather (such as heavy rainfall) caused by climatic changes.

At the Osadano Plant, roof deposits (including hazardous materials) are regularly cleaned by the sprinkler system installed on the roof of the factory. The wash water from the artificial sprinkling is released after conducting proper wastewater treatment. We are committed to working on stabilization of the water quality of wastewater by adopting regular countermeasures to deal with heavy rainfall.

image:Sprinkler system installed on the factory roof (Osadano Plant)

Sprinkler system installed on the factory roof (Osadano Plant)

Transportation

Energy conservation activities for logistics

The GS Yuasa Group promotes energy conservation for freight forwarding (shipping) as one way to reduce the environmental burden during the product life cycle.

As part of coordinated efforts to save energy, we created a system to identify the quantity of goods being shipped, as well as energy consumption and CO2 emissions during logistics. We have established a system to identify the quantity of goods being shipped, as well as energy consumption and CO2 emissions during logistics, and are implementing energy saving measures such as reducing the quantity of items shipped between sites by integration of physical distribution bases and a modal shift from trucks to rail containers and other related systems for transportation.

In addition, the Group has been designated as certified by the Eco Rail Mark System* for five series of batteries for automobiles and motorcycles. By getting customers to purchase certified products, we are promoting activities in which customers and companies can participate together to reduce the burden on the environment.

Our Group promotes logistics that consider the environment by active utilization of rail freight transportation.

A system of certification by the Railway Freight Association, for companies and products that make thorough use of rail transportation for minimal environmental burden.

image:Examples of GS Yuasa Group products with Eco Rail certification

Examples of GS Yuasa Group products with Eco Rail certification

Resource recycling

Resource Recycling of Used Product

The GS Yuasa Group believes in the importance of creating and operating a system for recycling resources from our used products to help create a recycling-oriented society. To achieve this goal, the Group is promoting initiatives for processing used products and resource recycling by using the wide area certification system.

A wide-area certification system aims to involve the manufacturers of a product in the product's recycling and disposal once it reaches the end of its useful life. These systems make possible more efficient recycling and provide feedback on product design leading to easier disposal and reuse, while ensuring that discarded goods are disposed of properly.

In January 2008, the GS Yuasa Group in Japan acquired wide-area certification from the Ministry of the Environment for industrial batteries and power supplies, and in January 2009 started accepting orders in earnest for a recycling system based on this certification. Even following the start of operations, we continue to make improvements such as expanding the scope of covered products and reviewing operational rules to create mechanisms for the reliable and proper disposal of used industrial batteries.

In the future, we will promote even more effective operation of the wide-area certification system to improve customer service as well as to recycle and properly dispose of post-use products.

Amounts Handled under the Wide-Area Certification System (Industrial Batteries, Power Supplies)

graph:Amounts Handled under the Wide-Area Certification System (Industrial Batteries, Power Supplies)

Increasing Usage Rate of Recycled Lead in Products

The GS Yuasa Group is working to increase the usage rate of recycled lead—the primary material used in lead-acid batteries, one of our core products.

In fiscal 2019 we started taking action to work toward a recycling-oriented society as part of our business strategy by incorporating into the Group's Mid-Term Management Plan targets for the usage rate of recycled lead contained in our lead-acid batteries.

The GS Yuasa Group has been taking action to recycle our post-use products by building and operating a recycling system based on extended producer responsibility (EPR). Going forward, we also plan to strengthen our efforts to promote the use of recycled materials in our products.