Updated on August 29, 2018
Under the Green Management 2020 mid-term environmental targets, Sony is working 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 2017, Sony sites used approximately 13.91 million m3 of water, an increase of approximately 20% compared with the fiscal 2016 level. The main increase was attributable to an increase in device production volumes. Water consumption per unit of consolidated net sales was 1.41 m3/million yen in Japan and 0.49 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*1 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, recycling and initiatives for reducing water consumption. Examples of these initiatives are described below.
Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center has adopted improvements to reduce water used for combustion treatment to remove exhaust gas emitted from production lines. This water is recycled using wastewater recovery facilities, but in the case where total organic carbon (TOC) and fluorine concentrations exceed certain levels, the water is detoxified using wastewater treatment facilities and then released into the sewer system, necessitating a fresh supply of water. To reduce the volume of wastewater and fresh water consumption, the Kumamoto Technology Center collaborated with the manufacturer of the water treatment facilities to add biological treatment and ion removal membranes to the water treatment process, for TOC and fluorine removal. The resulting improvement in wastewater quality enabled the facility to increase the volume of water recycling and reduce fresh water consumption by approximately 45%.
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.