Updated on August 23, 2017
Under the Green Management 2020 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 5%, compared with the fiscal 2015 level, by fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2016, Sony sites used approximately 11.63 million m3 of water, a decrease of approximately 6% compared with the fiscal 2015 level. Water consumption per unit of consolidated net sales was 1.28 m3/million yen in Japan and 0.25 m3/million yen outside Japan.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 industrial 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. In fiscal 2016, Green Cycle Corporation used rainwater for 22.4% of its total water consumption, in the recycling process for crushers, sorters and other equipment, and for everyday use as toilet flushing water.