This opinion has been made based on interviews with relevant persons and observation of related facilities in the environmental field within the AISIN Group Report 2018. The report demonstrates once again this fiscal year that AISIN is steadily implementing environmental initiatives based on the Environmental Policy of the AISIN Group.

Environment Management System for the Entire Group Is Clearly Expressed

The main features are the launch of the new AISIN Consolidated Environment Committee organized by the president and the establishment of a structure that enables top management to reliably implement environmental management in regards to policies that were previously decided by environmental officers from 14 main Group companies.

To further reduce the environmental impact that includes reducing CO2 emissions, besides promoting environmental management in production processes as an extension of past efforts carried out individually by each company, AISIN can now determine the circumstances in which it must consider how and to which departments it will allocate limited management resources and how to generate efficient and effective results. In this sense, decisions by top management will become even more important.

Additionally, to implement environmental management globally, it will become essential to promote a global horizontal sharing of the environmental management knowledge and technologies of each Group company. Nonetheless, it is evident that four study groups, namely the Energy-saving Study Group, the Environmental Conservation Study Group, the EMS Study Group, and the Products Environmental Study Group, that carry out activities under the All AISIN Environmental Meeting are fulfilling crucial roles. I have high hopes that the activities of these four study groups will produce meaningful results for a reduction of CO2 emissions to zero over the entire life cycle of the product, zero environmental load, adoption of a regional program aimed at preserving biodiversity and establishment of a system to evaluate the consolidated global environmental management system, which are the four environmental axes toward 2050. I can envision activities spanning multiple study groups for the adoption of a regional program aimed at preserving biodiversity toward creating a society in harmony with nature. However, I am hoping to see AISIN clearly identify the study group that will play the lead role in undertaking these efforts and to globally implement initiatives in accordance with the natural characteristics of each region.

Steady Progress of the Sixth Environmental Action Plan

Fiscal 2018 marked the second year of the Sixth Environmental Action Plan that started in fiscal 2017, with fiscal 2021 as the target year. AISIN has already virtually attained fiscal 2021 targets for CO2 emissions per sales unit and for waste and VOC emissions per sales unit, for which quantitative targets have been established within production and logistics activities. Moreover, further progress in building a global EMS such as by launching environmental committees in Indonesia and Brazil also deserves acclaim.

Meanwhile, progress in developing a drought risk assessment system using Aqueduct*1 has reached the stage of allowing the selection of high-risk business locations and this also deserves mention. From the next fiscal year onward, I hope to see the fiscal 2021 targets concretely established.

Regarding the four indictors for which quantitative reduction targets have been set, in the future I also look forward to the acceleration of initiatives for quantitatively ascertaining emissions per unit at overseas business locations and establishing targets.

Furthermore, numerous targets were already attained as of fiscal 2017 and for this reason I ask you to consider establishing even higher targets.

Initiatives for Reducing Overall CO2 Emissions by 2030 Are Moving Forward

As initiatives aimed at reducing overall CO2 emissions by 2030, AISIN is utilizing photovoltaic (solar) power generation and geothermal heat and introducing BDF*2 for its transport trucks. Also, the large reduction in CO2 emissions and the creation of a safe and comfortable workplace environment by introducing innovative technologies for the building design and production processes at Aisin Seiki’s south building at the Nishio Die-Casting Plant, which I observed first hand during the fiscal year, can be highly acclaimed.

In the future as well, I hope to see the active promotion of initiatives based on innovative technology development for a reduction of CO2 emissions to zero over the entire life cycle of the product by 2050, which is expressed under the Sixth Environmental Action Plan.

Recycling and Appropriate Disposal of Waste Are Progressing

I highly acclaim the large reduction in industrial waste at Aisin Takaoka by recycling casting sand, which was originally processed as industrial waste, for use as core sand and reusing this sand in-house from fiscal 2018. Additionally, the disposal of high-concentration PCB devices is being systematically carried out across the entire Group.

In the future, I look forward to seeing waste generation reduction and recycling promoted globally, including at overseas production locations where relative regulations are not strict, by sharing advanced case examples.

Initiatives for Coexistence with Nature Advance

At Aisin Keikinzoku Ariso Plant’s Ariso Fureai Park, which was developed from fiscal 2017, the establishment of a biotope for restoring Houjouzu lagoon* 3, a local original landscape, and stocking Japanese kitanomedaka (or “rice fish”), an endangered species, have gotten underway. Nature restoration with native species of the region is an extremely important initiative from the perspective of conserving biodiversity. In the future, how about more actively publicizing these initiatives on AISIN’s own website? I am hoping to see the establishment of a system that will allow numerous people to participate in satoyama-satochi (undeveloped woodlands and land) restoration activities in Naka-ikemi Wetland, Fukui Prefecture; in the AISIN Ecotopia, located at Aisin Seiki’s Handa Plant (Aichi Prefecture); and in activities for exterminating alien species in each region.

In Conclusion

This fiscal year I visited Aisin Seiki’s Nishio Die-Casting Plant and observed the innovative production site at the south building and was shown around the wastewater processing center. I gained a good understanding from the perspective of how the center undertakes advanced water treatment such as by using activated carbon adsorption for wastewater with certain processing difficulties and how it contributes to preserving water quality in public water areas. I could feel the symbolic expression of AISIN Group’s distinctiveness whereby operational management of processing facilities is not consigned externally and like initiatives at other plants the company assumes firm responsibility for areas including technology maintenance that it handles.

In the future as well, I would like to see even better environmental management implemented across the entire the Group.

  1. 1.Aqueduct: A global water risk mapping tool (includes physical water stress, water quality, water resources-related legal restriction risk, reputation risk, etc.) released by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
  2. BDF: Fuel for diesel engines produced from biologically derived substances. The AISIN Group recovers cooking oils used at employee cafeterias and refines this into fuel.
  3. 3. Houjouzu lagoon: A lagoon that existed within a sand dune in the northern part of Imizu city (presently Port of Toyama-Shinko), Toyama Prefecture
Satoshi Chikami

Satoshi Chikami
Professor, Nihon Fukushi University