Updated on August 29, 2018
Many of Sony's electronics products contain between a few hundred and a few thousand parts that are made of a variety of chemical substances, some of which may be classified as hazardous and may harm the environment if they are not properly controlled prior to product disposal.
To prevent such environmental harm, some countries and regions have introduced laws and directives, such as the European Union's Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) Directive*1 restricting certain chemical substances in products. In Japan, products that contain certain chemical substances are required to carry the J-Moss*2 mark, while in China it is required to disclose information on chemical substances contained in products in line with the Management Methods on the Pollution Control of Electronic Information Products, often referred to as China RoHS.*3
In light of the global nature of its markets and supply chains, Sony has established its own global standards for the management of chemical substances, titled "Management Regulations for the Environment-related Substances to be Controlled which are Included in Parts and Materials (SS-00259)",*4 taking into account the related laws and regulations around the world and simultaneously the opinions of various stakeholders. In line with these standards, Sony ensures globally consistent management of chemical substances in parts and materials.
Sony has set up necessary procedures to ensure compliance with the EU's REACH*1 regulation requirements and revised RoHS Directive. In response to its obligation under REACH to provide information to customers, as well as to the CE marking requirement of the RoHS directive, Sony has adopted the chemSHERPA*2 scheme based on IEC62474.*3 This enables Sony to collect data on specified chemical substances in parts and materials purchased from suppliers for management in an internal database.
To guide its efforts to manage chemical substances in products in compliance with Sony's own global standards for management of chemical substances, titled "Management Regulations for Environment-related Substances to be Controlled which are included in Parts and Materials" (SS-00259), Sony has established three core principles:
In 2002, Sony established the Green Partner Environmental Quality Approval Program, which outlines Sony's Green Partner Standards for chemical substance management. Sony audits suppliers based on these standards. Sony purchases electronic parts only from suppliers who have passed this audit and have been certified as Green Partners. Sony also applies the Green Partner Environmental Quality Approval Program to manufacturing partners. To further enhance the efficiency of the system to manage chemical substances, in autumn 2003 Sony introduced the Green Book, a raw materials database, which was made available to Sony's direct suppliers via its electronic supplier portal. In the Green Book, Sony has registered only those materials that it has measured and confirmed compliance with the SS-00259 standards for Sony's designated raw materials such as recycled plastics and wires, and also for molding resins, paints, inks, and other materials that are commonly used by multiple first tier suppliers. To assist REACH compliance, Sony has started to collect information on raw materials listed in Green Book data on the content of certain chemical substances and makes this data available to its suppliers and contract manufacturers.
New parts and materials are tested to ensure conformity with SS-00259 standards in addition to compliance with conventional quality control standards. Data on the content of certain chemical substances collected from suppliers are thoroughly evaluated for this purpose. By implementing these strict management procedures worldwide, incompliant products are prevented from entering the market.
To prevent prohibited substances from accidentally entering products, Sony requires suppliers to conduct ICP analysis on the specific parts and materials. For some high-risk substances Sony has also implemented internal control systems that involve using, for example, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and other measurement devices, to Sony sites worldwide, to help confirm that prohibited substances are kept out of products.
Sony Mobile Communications inc. (SOMC) is promoting efforts to manage chemical substances in its Xperia™ Smartphones and tablets. Starting in 2002, SOMC was known as one of the first companies in the industry to phase-out brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in mobile phone (circuit boards, cables and casings). Since then SOMC has continued the journey and phased out BFRs in all parts, and also phased out chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as well as phthalates, beryllium, and antimony trioxide in plastic and resin. Going forward, SOMC will continue phasing out all brominated and chlorinated compounds as well as antimony.
Some of the televisions sold by Sony employ Color IQ™, a light-emitting semiconductor technology developed by QD Vision, Inc. of the US. Combining QD Vision's Color IQ™optical components with Sony's proprietary display technologies greatly expands the color gamut for display devices and makes it possible to provide a visual experience characterized by more natural, richer colors. The Color IQ™ component contains a very small quantity of cadmium. This cadmium is fixed within a hardened resin which is sealed in glass inside the television. Customers can therefore enjoy high image quality without being exposed to cadmium.
Color IQ™ televisions comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations in countries and regions where Sony sells them. Sony provides its consumers, authorized repair workshops, and recycling companies with information relating to the Color IQ™ component in order to enable proper collection, handling, recycling, and disposal of the component upon repair or disposal of the televisions, in accordance with applicable local environmental laws and regulations.
Sony also takes precautions to increase the safety of its packaging materials and ensure that hazardous substances, including heavy metals, are not mixed into packaging materials by managing materials in line with its proprietary "Management Regulations for Environment-related Substances to be Controlled which are included in Parts and Materials" (SS-00259). The packaging section of SS-00259 is based on, among others, EU directives on packaging and packaging waste.