Sustainability

Initiatives for a Recycling-Oriented Society

Promoting Effective Use of Resources

To boost yield from manufacturing process improvements, the NGK Group reuses in-process materials in an effort to curb discarded materials while also focusing efforts on recycling to reduce final disposal volumes to promote resource recycling.

Reducing Discarded Materials from Manufacturing Activities

In the same way as for CO2, the NGK Group works to suppress the generation of waste (discarded materials) by formulating and managing annual improvement plans with the aim of achieving the waste reduction targets contained in the Five-Year Action Plan.
In fiscal 2020, as with CO2, there were numerous factors that hampered waste reduction, such as lower demand for NGK’s main products and a strong yen. However, the basic unit per net sales improved from the previous year to 45% compared to fiscal 2013 and reached the Five-Year Action Plan. This was thanks to the continuing improvement activities of our manufacturing divisions, such as improving the material utilization rate and production yield, and recycling within each process.
Meanwhile, the reduction rate against BAU, which indicates the rate of improvement in the basic unit per production volume from the fiscal 2013 level, was 24%, achieving the final five-year target of 23% of the Five-Year Action Plan.
We will continue with these and other efforts with the goal of further improvement in the Fifth Five-Year Environmental Action Plan.

Amount of Discarded Materials Generated / Basic Unit per Net Sales*
(All NGK Group manufacturing sites)

Graph of waste generated per unit of net sales. The basic unit per net sales improved from the previous year to 45% compared to fiscal 2013 and reached the Five-Year Action Plan.

Soshin Electric, which was spun off from the NGK Group in fiscal 2020, are omitted for the whole period.

Reduction Rate against BAU*
(All NGK Group manufacturing sites)

Graph of reduction rate against BAU. The reduction rate against BAU, which indicates the rate of improvement in the basic unit per production volume from the fiscal 2013 level, was 24%, achieving the final five-year target of 23% of the Five-Year Action Plan.

Soshin Electric, which was spun off from the NGK Group in fiscal 2020, are omitted for the whole period.

Promoting Resource Recycling

At the NGK Group, we promote resource recycling initiatives, pursuing rigorous sorting and separating practices and seeking out new methods of recycling.
In fiscal 2017, we started sharing information with our production sites in Japan regarding waste recycling methods and companies that can process such waste. This has allowed us to choose highly reliable waste processing contractors and continue to improve waste recycling efficiency. Through such ongoing efforts, we have managed to sustain a domestic recycling rate of 99% or higher since fiscal 2013, which is the target set under the Five-Year Action Plan.
Meanwhile, at our Group companies outside Japan, where the situation varies according to country and region, suitable targets are set taking into account circumstances specific to each location. The average recycling rate at the 21 overseas Group manufacturing companies has remained at over 90% (with the exception of three companies that generate non-recyclable waste).

Examples at Group Companies Outside Japan

At Group companies outside Japan, waste material separation management is strictly enforced. Waste separation rules are posted where waste materials are stocked and color-coordinated containers are provided for each category of waste to avoid confusion.

Risk Management of Water Resources and Response

The NGK Group recognizes the management of water resources as an important issue for the company in achieving a sustainable society, and promotes relevant initiatives as described below.

Water Risk Evaluation

To ascertain water supply risks for each of our production facilities in and outside Japan, the NGK Group performed a simplified internal survey to assess water shortage risks based on the water supply capacity of rivers in the respective regions. For production facilities located in areas where there is a risk of water shortages, particularly overseas, we commissioned a third party to conduct a comprehensive survey. As part of that survey, in addition to the water supply capacity of rivers, factors such as groundwater, seasonal fluctuations in water supply capacity, and the holding capacity of dams are evaluated and used to create water supply/demand forecasts. The risk of water-related disasters (flooding, landslides) and water quality deterioration (public health, ecosystem) is also analyzed as part of a comprehensive risk assessment.

These efforts allow us to determine waster risk at all overseas manufacturing sites, information that we share among all of our sites.
Although no serious water-related risks have been identified to date at any of our facilities, we stay abreast of regulatory trends and we strive to make more efficient use of water.

Number of Manufacturing Bases Outside Japan with Inherent Water-Related Risks

Region Number of bases Water supply/
demand
Disasters Vulnerability
to
pollution
Current 2040 Public
health
Ecosystems
North and Central America 5 0 1 0 0 0
Europe, other 5 2 0 0 2 3
China 3 0 0 0 0 0
Asia, Australia 7 0 5 0 1 1

Promoting Efficient Water Use at Group Companies

NGK created guidelines (an implementation status checklist) aimed at appropriate water usage and, in fiscal 2015, launched inspections to ascertain the efficiency of water usage at all manufacturing sites in and outside of Japan. Going forward, we will enhance these guidelines through internal and external case studies while encouraging efforts at each location to strengthen the operational structure against a future tight water supply.

NGK Ceramics Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V.

We use precious local water resources as appropriately and efficiently as possible, including the recycling of water used inside plants, at Group companies located in highly water-stressed regions.
For example, at NGK Ceramics Mexico, manufacturing process waste water is filtered using reverse osmosis membranes and the recycled water is reused as coolant and boiler water or sprinkled on vegetation. Since production lines went into full operation in fiscal 2014, the basic unit of water usage per production volume has improved with each year.
The fifth Five-Year Environmental Action Plan, which starts from the current fiscal year, we will begin managing water consumption at Group companies on the basic unit per net sales to promote effective water use.

Picture of customer gas-filled switches to be disposed of, collected by NGK Stanger and Hokuriku Energys. The sulfur hexafluoride they contain is safely recovered and then recycled.

Filtration device using reverse osmosis membranes

Cooperation with Suppliers

Believing that it is important to address issues related to water resources throughout the supply chain, the NGK Group asks its suppliers to practice water resource-related risk management and efficient water usage in accordance with the CSR Procurement Guidelines. In fiscal 2020, 99.9% of companies in NGK’s domestic supply chain agreed to our request.