Eliminating Hazardous Substances and Preventing Pollution

Canon thoroughly manages chemical substances i to prevent environmental pollution and adverse effects on people’s health.

Research and studies are being carried out around the world on the impact risk of chemical substances on the environment and people’s health. Europe, in particular, has taken the lead in expanding its regulations. Canon strives to grasp new regulatory trends at an early stage and take action, ensuring that it provides products that are safe for the environment and people in every country and region where Canon products are used.

Management of Chemical Substances in Products

We established in-house standards for managing chemical substances in products in line with the most stringent regulations in the world.

Canon has built a Group-wide environmental assurance system for managing chemical substances in products. Taking the laws and major environmental-labeling requirements around the world into consideration, we established in-house standards in line with the most stringent regulations in the world. Specifically, our management system classifies chemical substances into three categories: “prohibited substances,” which cannot be used in products; “use-restricted substances,” for which we are working to find alternatives by specific deadlines; and, “controlled substances,” the amount of which should be monitored.

Utilization and Development of the chemSHERPA System for Information Sharing on Chemical Substances

To manage chemical substances appropriately, it is important to share information on the chemical substances contained in materials, parts, and products accurately and efficiently along the supply chain from upstream to downstream, and to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.
In the past, companies each employed their own survey formats to request the suppliers for the information about chemical substances in products, which meant that suppliers were requested to respond to their customers multiple times in different formats even with regard to the same parts or chemicals. This situation incurred substantial burden on and costs to the entire supply chain. Furthermore, using such a variety of survey formats gave rise to concerns about the decreased reliability of data as it was communicated across the supply chain.
Amid such circumstances, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan) decided to sponsor chemSHERPA (chemical information SHaring and Exchange under Reporting PArtnership in supply chain) as a common platform for sharing information, facilitating the seamless transmission of information between companies to confirm compliance with regulations on chemical substances in products.
Applying the IEC62474* international standard, the chemSHERPA data scheme enables the management of compliance verifications for chemical substance regulations for each material and part. It can enable more effective verifications as well, since revisions to regulations are updated in a timely manner.
Having previously collected and managed information on chemical substances contained in products in line with IEC62474, Canon completed the introduction of chemSHERPA in 2017. Since its introduction by Canon, more than 99% of survey replies have been made through chemSHERPA. This has led to increased workplace efficiency. Some suppliers have also adopted pre-filled survey replies that contain some of the required information. This shift to a more standardized approach contributes further to operational efficiency.
Meanwhile, for suppliers who have difficulty with the reply process, guide manuals in Japanese, English and Chinese have been prepared to promote the progressive global adoption of chemSHERPA.

* IEC62474: Material Declaration for Products of and for the Electrotechnical Industry. International standards issued by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) in March 2012 aiming to streamline the material declarations on chemical substances and compositions contained in the products of the electrotechnicalindustry in the global supply chain.

Contributing to Upgrading of Supply Chain Information Sharing at the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a body that carries out international standardization in all electrical, electronic and related technologies. As a member of the Technology Committee (TC111) that formulates its environment-related standards, Canon contributes in particular to the formulation of standards for information sharing on chemical substances contained in products. In this way, we work in partnership with specialists worldwide to upgrade the sharing of supply chain information.

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Managing Chemical Substances Used in Manufacturing Processes

Canon separates the chemical substances, regulated in terms of safety such as negative impact on human health, the environment, and flammable risk, into three categories. In turn, effective measures are in place for each category.

The chemical substances handled during manufacturing at Canon include “controlled chemical substances” regulated in terms of safety such as negative impact on human health, the environment, and flammable risk. Canon separates these substances into three categories: A) Prohibited substances; B) Emission reduction substances; and C) Regulated substances. In turn, effective measures are in place for each category.

A) Prohibited substances;
Prohibited substances are defined as specified greenhouse gases (PFC/HFC/SF6), other soil and groundwater pollutants, and substances that significantly impact people’s health.
B) Emission reduction substances;
Greenhouse gases other than PFC/HFC/SF6, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other substances specified by Canon are designated as emission reduction substances.
C) Regulated substances
Regulated substances are chemical substances with defined compliance requirements, including compliance with reference values and the ascertainment of usage and storage quantities.

Reducing Use and Emissions of Controlled Chemical Substances

Canon engages in various initiatives at its operational sites to reduce emissions of controlled chemical substances, including reducing the consumption and re-use of them through improvement of production processes.
Total emissions of controlled chemical substances in 2020 amounted to 372 tons, a year-on-year decrease of approximately 18%, which was achieved through ongoing measures to promote re-use. Facility closures associated with COVID-19 also contributed to the decrease.

Emissions of Controlled Chemical Substances and Amount of Chemical Substances Designated by the PRTR System*

Reducing Use and Emissions of Controlled Chemical Substances
  • PRTR System: Pollutant Release and Transfer Register System, a notification system for the transfer and release of chemical substances.
  • Controlled chemical substances exclude regulated substances.
  • Figures for 2017 onwards include data for Canon Medical.

Reducing Emissions into the Atmosphere and Waterways and Preventing Pollution

Canon alleviates the environmental impact of its operational sites by reducing emissions of NOx*1 and SOx*2, which are major causes of air pollution and acid rain; reducing discharges of phosphates and nitrogen compounds, which cause the eutrophication of water environments; and, reducing BOD*3 and SS*4, which indicate an environmental impact in water areas. One example of this is Canon Components, the first member of the Group to introduce wastewater treatment based on the membrane separation activated sludge system. This method uses membrane filtration for solid-liquid separation in order to ensure reliable treatment of the various types of process effluent that result from the wide range of production items it handles. Compared to the previous method using pressure flotation, the system achieves lower and more stable BOD values in the wastewater.

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
    A major cause of air pollution, acid rain and photochemical smog, Nox is generated when the nitrogen in fuels is oxidized or when nitrogen in the atmosphere is oxidized during high-temperature combustion.
  • Sulfur oxides (SOx)
    A major cause of air pollution and acid rain, SOx is generated when fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, are burned.
  • Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
    BOD is the amount of oxygen consumed when microorganisms degrade organic matter in water. Larger figure shows worse water quality.
  • Suspended solids (SS)
    A collective term used for substances of less than 2mm in diameter that float in the air and do not dissolve.

To prevent air pollution, when installing or updating equipment that uses fuel, we opt for fuels that minimize generation of air pollutants (such as sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and soot), and have banned the use of heavy oil in principle.
Furthermore, we have designated ozone-depleting substances and persistent organic pollutants cited in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as banned substances.
With regard to wastewater, each operational site sets standard values based on local laws and regulations. Also, control values are set at 80% of the site. We regularly check the status of compliance with management standards.

Soil and Groundwater Remediation Status

Canon places high priority on soil and groundwater protection. In line with this, we established the Canon Group’s Basic Policy on Soil and Groundwater Pollution and implement comprehensive measures based on it. In the unlikely event that soil or groundwater pollution is found at one of our operational sites, cleanup and remedial actions are carried out in close accordance with all relevant laws.
Also, our standard when acquiring new land is to conduct a preliminary soil examination and carry out any other necessary procedures, such as soil remediation, before making the purchase. We also monitor the chemical substances used at each site, remaining fully aware of the national and regional standards where each site is located in order to implement countermeasures according to the situation at each location.

Status of Soil and Groundwater Clean-up Activities*

Operational sites Substances Measures
Shimomaruko 1,2-dichloroethylene Water quality measurement, injection of treatment agents
Utsunomiya parking lot 1 Fluorine and its compounds, etc. Pumping, water quality measurement
Toride Trichloroethylene, etc. Hexavalent chromium and its compounds Pumping, water quality measurement
Bando Trichloroethylene, 1,1-dichloroethylene Pumping, water quality measurement
Nagahama Canon Hexavalent chromium and its compounds Covering, water quality measurement
Canon Components Mercury and its compounds Covering, water quality measurement

*Reports are made to the authorities concerning sites where purification is in progress.

Going forward, we will continue with the above initiatives and carry out monitoring and reporting of operational sites with completed remediation in a timely manner.

PCB Waste Management

In accordance with relevant laws, Canon strictly manages polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), which damages living organisms and the environment. As of December 2020, 10 operational sites were storing PCB waste. In terms of highly concentrated PCB waste, there are 1,511 fluorescent ballasts in storage. This PCB waste is processed sequentially by Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation (JESCO).

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Other Canon's Environmental Material Activities

We introduce other Canon's Environmental Material Activities.

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