Reduction of Water Consumption in Business Activities

Around the world, there is a growing sense of crisis over water shortages. It is expected that this problem will become more and more urgent as the demand for water rises with population increase and economic growth in developing countries.

The primary businesses of the Sumitomo Forestry Group include the Timber & Building Materials Businesses and Custom-Built Detached Housing Businesses, which do not have a business model that uses large amount of water. However, our businesses are expanding into sectors that do use water as a valuable resource. Our policy is to reduce water consumption with emphasis on these businesses while conducting risk assessments and examining countermeasures for problems that arise.

In addition to manufacturing plants in Japan and oversea, since fiscal 2012, the Sumitomo Forestry Group began examining the water consumption and the associated sources at bases where actual water usage is measurable, such as at buildings owned by the Sumitomo Forestry Group. In fiscal 2017, we discovered 91.8% of water use is at eight group companies which make up 7.2% of the consolidated net sales by analyzing the water use of all Group companies in fiscal 2016. Therefore, we have positioned eight companies as priority targets and conducted risk assessments for water use at five companies in Japan as well as brought together specific measures to address any cases of insufficient water. We also has begun to grasp the actual state of water use even at three overseas companies.

The target for water use in fiscal 2017 for the entire Group in Japan was a 1.19% reduction, but the results showed the year ended with a 0.1% reduction (excluding the impact of increases due to new businesses). In fiscal 2018, the Sumitomo Forestry Group will set and strive toward a target of 2.50% reduction in all Group companies in Japan, excluding the biomass power generation businesses that have just been launched. In addition, most of the factors for the increase in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 in our plants in Japan and other power generation businesses were due to the new operation of two biomass power generation plants and the purchase of new businesses.

Sumitomo Forestry conducted a sample survey of water used by partner companies at on-site construction of houses in fiscal 2015 to grasp the water consumption in the supply chain and found the volume of water used per 1 m² of floor area is approximately 0.0887 m³.

Water Consumption trends of the Sumitomo Forestry Group Companies*1

Office Departments in Japan, etc. (Unit: m³) Plants and Power Generation Business Departments in Japan (Unit: m³) Overseas Plants (Unit: m³) Total (Unit: m³)
FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2017 FY 2017
Service water 170,117 80,052 72,622 17,612 114,028 1,258,275 460,026 1,790,923
Ground water 3,438 0*2 0 124 0*2 9,688 174,966 184,654
Industrial water 120,306 131,206 119,236 166,444 717,998 262,781 296,613 678,630
Total 293,861 211,258 191,858 184,180 832,026*3 1,530,744*3 931,605 2,654,207

*1 Covers sites where actual water usage is measurable, such as at buildings owned by the Sumitomo Forestry Group.

*2 Ground water up to fiscal 2015 includes water purchased from the water authorities as a ground water source. Since fiscal 2016, water purchased from the water authorities is all included as service water based on standard disclosure.

*3 A portion of the industrial water for fiscal 2016 was calculated as public water in fiscal 2017 due to a revision in the data collection category.

Efforts at Sumitomo Forestry Crest

Sumitomo Forestry Crest’s Imari Plant manufactures synthetic resin adhesives and other products. It primarily promotes three measures for reducing water usage. First, it uses industrial water to cool manufacturing equipment. Then, it reuses the water to dilute plant effluent.

Measuring the COD of effluent

Measuring the COD of effluent

Measures Used at the Sumitomo Forestry Crest’s Imari Plant for Saving Water

  1. Collect some of the water used for washing equipment, and reuse it as a raw material.
  2. Improve the proportion of rainwater used, such as by upgrading the pumps used for collecting rainwater.
  3. Maintain water-quality control by measuring COD* and treat wastewater using only the minimum amount of water necessary.

* Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD): An indication of the amount of oxygen required to oxidize an organic compound in water; one of the most important indicators of water quality.

Participation in Relevant Incentives

The Sumitomo Forestry Group provides answers to the CDP Water questions and discloses more detailed information about efforts on risks related to water since fiscal 2017.

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