Sustainability

Environmental

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 2019, 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 steadily improved over the previous fiscal year, allowing us to achieve our fiscal year target and, as was the case last year as well, reach the target under our Five-Year Action Plan ahead of schedule. 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%. This not only achieved the fiscal year target but also met the 23% target set for the final year of the Five-Year Action Plan a year ahead of schedule.
In fiscal 2020, we will continue with these and other efforts with the goal of further improvement.

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

Graph of waste generated per unit of net sales. In fiscal 2019 55,000 tons of waste was generated, and the basic unit per net sales was 68 with fiscal 2013 set at 100.

Basic unit per net sales calculated with the value in fiscal 2013 set at 100.

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

Graph of reduction rate against BAU. The figure for fiscal 2019 was 24%.

Reduction rate against BAU: The percentage rate of emissions reduction resulting from implemented actions against a computed value for the hypothetical absence of the actions.

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 No. 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

Water Usage Guidelines

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.

Promoting Efficient Water Use at Group Companies

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.

Picture of filtration device using reverse osmosis membranes in operation at NGK Ceramics Mexico.

Filtration device using reverse osmosis membranes

Basic Unit of Water Usage per Production Volume
(NGK Ceramics Mexico)

Graph of basic unit of water usage. The amount of water used in fiscal 2019 was 230,000 tons, and the basic unit per production volume was 62 with fiscal 2014 set as 100.

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 2019, 99.5% of companies in NGK’s domestic supply chain agreed to our request.