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 2017.The report demonstrates once again this fiscal year that AISIN is steadily implementing environmental initiatives based on its Consolidated Environmental Policy.

Implementation Structure toward the Four Areas of “Evolution” is Clearly Expressed

AISIN Group Report 2017 clearly expresses targets based on the four environmental axes toward 2050, namely 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, while the systematic inclusion of a Groupwide structure centered on the AISIN Consolidated Environment Committee can also be acclaimed. In particular, the establishment of a global system encompassing overseas consolidated companies and four study groups, including the Energy-Saving Study Group, that are undertaking activities as Groupwide cross-sectoral organizations covering the entire environmental field, beginning with reducing energy consumption and waste, deserve special mention. Although laws, regulations and social conventions differ by country, initiatives undertaken as a group globally are indispensable for realizing the 2050 targets. For this reason, I have expectations for the further implementation of these initiatives in the future.

Conspicuous Advance of Priority Tasks Based on the Sixth Environmental Action Plan

From fiscal 2017, AISIN started its new Sixth Environmental Action Plan with fiscal 2021 as the target year. It is noteworthy that among all 19 items, AISIN has already attained fiscal 2021 targets for greenhouse gas 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. Considerations toward the establishment of an “AISIN clean-energy factory,” which aims at significantly reducing CO2 emissions, as well as water stress assessments, deserve high acclaim as advanced initiatives. Additionally, I believe that sharing the idea of reinforcement of environmental education to develop globally competitive human resources in 2020 in fundamental activities fields is an item that is especially noteworthy.

Going forward, to attain the long-term targets for 2030 as well as for 2050, I am hoping to see AISIN adopt even more-proactive initiatives such as those that anticipate the establishment of the next medium-term targets.

Creating a Scenario toward 2030

In aiming for the reduction of CO2 emissions to zero over the entire life cycle of the product by 2050, which is expressed in the Sixth Environmental Action Plan, reliably creating a scenario toward the targets and promoting innovative technology development to support this are important items that will serve as the two wheels of a cart. In fiscal 2017, four main AISIN Group companies formulated a scenario that includes generating renewable energy in addition to promoting technology innovation and reducing energy emissions and this can be acclaimed as an important first step. I hope to see AISIN actively promote the lateral deployment of cutting-edge improvement case examples in Japan and overseas.

Start of Global Assessments of the Actual State of Water and Waste

AISIN’s arrangement of data necessary for reducing environmental impacts has progressed. This includes its comprehensive water risk assessment at production bases using Aqueduct, the World Resources Institute’s water risk assessment tool, and the implementation of surveys on the actual state of waste at domestic and overseas production companies. In the future, I would like to see the development and promotion of effective reduction methods in accordance with regional conditions based on the analysis results of this data.

Environmental Risk Forecast Activities Are Advancing

One other feature of fiscal 2017 initiatives was the compilation of a selection of case examples using the environmental risk prediction training sheet (environmental KYT sheet) to prevent environmental accidents overseas. Moreover, in Thailand and India as well, AISIN started liaison committees consisting of employees engaging in environmental activities as it makes efforts to prevent a reoccurrence of environmental or other abnormalities. Although predicting accidents and abnormalities is an activity that has been actively carried out from the past at domestic production sites, such activities have not always been adequately undertaken at production sites in developing regions due in part to differences in cultural customs. It is necessary to promote initiatives across multiple areas that include responding in technical areas and reducing human error. I am looking forward to the implementation and results of such initiatives overseas.

Receiving Environmental Awards

The emission recycling system at the Kinuura Plant earned the Energy Conservation Center Chairman Prize while the ENE-FARM Type S fuel cell cogeneration system received the Director General Prize of Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. I would like to offer my congratulations on these achievements. I ask AISIN to further develop its activities, including actual examples introduced on its website, that contribute to a reduction in environmental impact in a variety of areas such as product development and manufacturing processes.

In Conclusion

This fiscal year I visited Aisin Seiki’s Ogawa Plant and observed initiatives being undertaken at manufacturing sites. At the same time, I toured the “Otakara (treasure) Center” that handles the separation and recycling of waste into resources. Based on the concept of “waste if mixed, treasure if separated,” the plant launched an educational program for certified waste processers. Only those who complete the education are allowed to carry out separation of nearly 40 types of waste under handling operational rules. I could clearly see that the final exit for the peripheral portion of separation was being reliably managed thanks to the earnest efforts of the persons in charge.

As also exemplified by Aisin Seiki’s Handa Plant’s AISIN Ecotopia, which was presented with the Biotope Award in fiscal 2017, I could feel the symbolic expression of AISIN Group’s distinctiveness whereby employees assume responsibility and work operations are not thoughtlessly consigned externally.

In the future as well, I would like to see the Group continue its large evolution toward 2050.

Satoshi Chikami
Executive Officer and Professor
Nihon Fukushi University