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Updated on September 7, 2016

Reducing Water Consumption

Water Consumption Reduced by 54% from Fiscal 2000 Level

Under the Green Management 2015 mid-term environmental targets, Sony worked to reduce the consumption of water at its sites in line with its target of achieving an absolute reduction of 30%, compared with the fiscal 2000 level, by fiscal 2015. In fiscal 2015, the last year of Green Management 2015, Sony sites used approximately 12.38 million m3 of water, a decrease of approximately 54% compared with the fiscal 2000 level, despite being up about 17% from the previous fiscal year. The reduction from fiscal 2000 levels was achieved by implementing water conservation and wastewater recycling measures at Sony sites. Water consumption per unit of consolidated net sales was 1.22 m3/million yen in Japan and 0.31 m3/million yen outside Japan.
Under Green Management 2020, which started in April 2016, Sony is working on a new target for fiscal 2020 of reducing absolute water usage at Sony sites by 5% compared to the fiscal 2015 level.

Sony also takes steps to ensure the quality of wastewater at its sites. In addition to observing related laws and regulations in each of the countries and territories in which it operates, Sony manages wastewater quality using stricter criteria than it is required to. For example, the introduction of sophisticated water treatment facilities has enabled it to reduce BOD and COD levels* in wastewater.

*
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels are common measures of water pollution.

Reducing Water Use at Manufacturing Sites

For semiconductor and consumer electronic products, vast amounts of water are needed not only in the manufacturing process but also in the recycling process. At its plants all over the world, Sony is taking a variety of measures to preserve local water resources, including wastewater and rainwater recycling and initiatives for reducing water consumption. Examples of these initiatives are described below.

Controlling Water Consumption by Improving the Production System at the Nagasaki Technology Center


  • A wastewater recovery system for gas detoxification equipment
Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation completed an initiative for controlling water consumption at Nagasaki Technology Center, a semiconductor production plant, when it installed a new production line intended to boost production capacity. As one part of this initiative, the center began reusing wastewater for gas detoxification equipment, which renders the gases used in the semiconductor production process harmless. A large quantity of industrial water is needed to eliminate the toxins in such gases, and with the installation of the new production line and additional gas detoxification equipment, the amount of industrial water consumption was set for an increase. In response, the center installed a wastewater recovery system to reuse the wastewater from the gas detoxification equipment, enabling it to recover and reuse about 80% of the water. Moreover, the center began using the system to recover and reuse wastewater from other production equipment, allowing it to significantly limit the increase in industrial water consumption related to increased production.

Wastewater Recycling by Kumamoto Technology Center


  • Blow water is reused for the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filtration system.
The Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center undertook a project to recycle wastewater in semiconductor manufacturing processes. Blow water from the water measuring system used in the production of ultra pure water for semiconductor cleaning was recycled for distillation into pure water, and general service water used to cool ammonia removal systems was recycled to supply water to scrubber systems. These measures enabled the Kumamoto Technology Center to reduce 12,680 m3 of industrial and well water use annually.

Collecting and Using Rainwater at Green Cycle Corporation


  • A rainwater storage tank next to the warehouse building
As a member of the Sony Group, Green Cycle Corporation specializes in the recycling of used consumer electronic goods and other products. Aiming to reduce the amount of water it consumes, the company carried out an initiative to use rainwater. Before using the rainwater, it analyzed its quality and confirmed that it could be used as industrial water without affecting the production process, and then refurbished the 1,620 m2 roof of the warehouse on its site to serve as a collection area. Over the year since the initiative began in May 2014 through April 2016, Green Cycle Corporation was able to significantly reduce its water consumption, using rainwater for 18% of its total industrial water, in the recycling process for crushers, sorters and other equipment, and for everyday use as toilet flushing water.
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