This opinion has been made based on interviews with relevant persons and observation of related facilities in the environmental field within theAISIN Group Report 2016.※The report demonstrates once again this fiscal year that AISIN is steadily implementing environmental initiatives based on the Environmental Policy of the AISIN Group.
※The AISIN Group CSR website is created based on the content of "AISIN Group Report 2016".
Aspired Evolution toward 2050 Is Clearly Expressed
AISIN Group Report 2016 clearly articulates the aspired evolution that should be aimed for and priority policy items that include reduction of CO2 emissions to zero over the entire life cycle of the product and zero environmental load based on four environmental axes from a long-term perspective toward 2050. In December 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Agreement draws a vision for a substantive zero emission society and economy that balance the emission and absorption of anthropogenic global warming gases in the last half of the 21st century. As can be seen from this, clearly possessing a long-term vision and steadily implementing short- and medium-term action plans are being demanded throughout the world. AISIN’s various “Zero” initiatives toward 2050 are precisely in accordance with this trend and I have high expectations for the evolving of future activities.
Steady Initiatives Based on the Fifth Environmental Action Plan
AISIN attained all targets for CO2 emissions from production and in distribution,wastes and VOC emissions per sales unit, for which quantitative targets have been set within the Fifth Environmental Action Plan implemented as a plan up to fiscal 2015. This shows that initiatives have been steadily promoted in the four areas of a low-carbon society, a recycling-oriented society, a society in which people coexist with nature and fundamental activities. It is especially noteworthy that AISIN achieved results that significantly exceeded targets for waste and VOC emissions per sales unit.
Formulation of the Sixth Environmental Action Plan
AISIN formulated the Sixth Environmental Action Plan that covers the five-year implementation period from fiscal 2016 as it systematically proceeds with setting specific targets and putting together priority initiatives toward 2050. In working toward the realization of a low-carbon society, AISIN’s initiatives for reducing CO2 emissions at production sites have already been extensively implemented and achieving further large reductions in CO2 emissions is believed to be difficult only through an extension of conventional measures to the present. Therefore, I would like to see AISIN also actively engage in innovative technology development, such as the development of rechargeable lithium-air batteries introduced in this report, in conjunction with earnest efforts based on know-how at each production site.
The content of AISIN’s fundamental activities that cover all themes now indicate a strong awareness of implementing global environmental management in all fields that include environmental compliance, environmental management systems (EMS), fostering of human resources and social contribution activities in the environmental field. Of particular note is the inclusion of a number of important initiatives. These include the global horizontal deployment of waste reduction efforts, the changing of specifications of Aisin MACS chemical substances management system, global initiatives to raise environmental awareness such as training aimed at enhancing detection and prevention of abnormal environmental situations, and improvement in environment management levels in North America, Europe, Asia and at other bases. For this reason, I have even greater expectations for AISIN’s global environmental activities.
Product Development Based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
It is also noteworthy that for over 90% of developed products, during the product development and design stage AISIN undertakes prior assessments of the environmental load in the product life cycle, from the raw materials procurement process to manufacturing, use and final disposal, and develops products with an even smaller CO2 emission burden. By taking this approach, AISIN can contribute to reductions in CO2 in household sectors, where initiatives to reduce global warming gases have been relatively slow.
Steady Advances in Waste Reduction
The attainment of a 35% reduction in waste emissions per sales unit in Japan (AISIN Group), which significantly surpassed the target, can also be commended. The FINE REVO mattress that can be dismantled for separate disposal and that is described in a column deserves special mention as a product that balances the merits of a comfortable bed, which is the most demanded performance feature by customers, with environmental performance that allows each part to be exchanged and thereby enables a reduction in waste volume. In the future as well, I hope to see the development of products that achieve a high degree of balance between product functions and environmental load reduction. Although the results of the initiatives described in the 2015 report for clarifying waste emissions at overseas bases are not yet listed in the 2016 report, I hope to see AISIN accelerate efforts to reduce waste globally in the future.
Deepening Contributions to Biodiversity
AISIN achieved significant results by attaining a 60% reduction of VOC emissions compared with fiscal 2007 versus its target of a 31% reduction. The deepening of contributions to the preservation of biodiversity is also commendable. This includes expanding participation in an employee-led natural ecosystem preservation and regeneration project from Hokuriku to Kyushu and the startup of the creation of an aquatic “park factory” surrounded with greenery and flowers and centered on a biotope and farm in Toyama Prefecture.
Advancing Activities Related to Environmental Communication
In addition to AISIN Group Consolidated Environmental Symposium for employees, AISIN is expanding the circle of environmental communication with local communities by continuously holding learning activities targeting children in Yokkaichi and Kawagoe and eco discussion with students in Toyoda City.
When creating the third-party opinion for the current fiscal year, I listened to on-site explanations of initiatives of Aisin Seiki’s Shintoyo Plant. Various initiatives were implemented based on experience and knowledge led autonomously by the work site in accordance with the keywords of “correct, stop and reduce.” These initiatives included eliminating air leaks from pipes, controlling the number of units of intermediate-pressure compressors in operation in accordance with the burden, and improving safety by moving various types of switches closer to the operator. It became evident that these initiatives are extremely useful in promoting energy conservation and are also highly beneficial in improving environmental awareness, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of involvement of on-site employees. In the future as well, I would like to see AISIN continuously place value on earnest activities based on proposals from work sites and continue its large evolution toward 2050.
Executive Officer and Professor
Nihon Fukushi University