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 Business and the Housing Business, which operate on a business model that does not use high-volume of water. However, our businesses are expanding into sectors that do use water as a valuable resource. Our policy is to reduce the amount of water used with emphasis on these businesses while conducting risk assessments and examining countermeasures for problems that arise.

In addition to manufacturing plants inside and outside Japan, since fiscal 2012, the Sumitomo Forestry Group began examining the consumption of water 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 98.1% 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 these eight companies as important water management companies 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. The Sumitomo Forestry Group has also begun to grasp the actual state of water use even at three overseas companies.

In fiscal 2018, water usage volume targets at our overall domestic group companies and at departments in which data collection became possible in fiscal 2018 specified a reduction of 2.5%. Actual performance, however, was a 3.7% reduction (excluding the biomass power generation operations that were on the verge of beginning full operation). Major factors included water conservation through recycling of industrial water at Sumitomo Forestry Crest’s Imari Plant. Our Mid-Term Sustainability Targets include water use targets for the entire Group, in effect beginning with fiscal 2019. The target for fiscal 2019 is less 2,981,000m³.

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 1m² of floor area is approximately 0.0887 m³.

Water Usage over the Past Four Years*1Independent assurance

Water Usage over the Past Four Years

Water Usage per Department*1Independent assurance

Office Departments in Japan, etc.
(Unit: 1,000m³)
Plants and Power Generation Business Departments in Japan
(Unit: 1,000m³)
Overseas Plants
(Unit: 1,000m³)
(Unit: 1,000m³)
FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2018
Service Water 80 73 79 114 1,258 1,302 581 460 475 1,856
Ground Water 0*2 0 29 0*2 10 14 168 175 174 217
Industrial Water 131 119 125 718 263 470 215 297 310 904
Total 211 192 232 832*3 1,531*3 1,786 964 932 959 2,978

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

*2 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 promotes water conservation by using industrial water to cool manufacturing equipment, then uses the water to dilute plant effluent. New water conservation measures were begun in fiscal 2018, including subjecting waste water (after processing for coagulating sedimentation) to further biological processing, so that water used for dilution in plant waste water quality management could be restricted. These measures are estimated to have resulted in conservation of approximately 350m³ of water per day. Also, the volume of industrial water used in fiscal 2018 was 147,730m³, down 27% from fiscal 2017.

Biological processing facility (aeration blower)

Biological processing facility (aeration blower)

Biological processing facility (aeration tank)

Biological processing facility (aeration tank)

Measuring the COD of effluent

Measuring the COD of effluent

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

  1. Subjecting waste water (after processing for coagulating sedimentation) to further*1 biological processing makes it possible to restrict the water used for dilution in plant waste water quality management (approximately 350m³/day).
  2. Maintain water-quality control by measuring COD*2 and treat wastewater using only the minimum amount of water necessary.
  3. After water is used to cool manufacturing equipment, it is used to dilute plant waste water.
  4. Improve the proportion of rainwater used, such as by upgrading the pumps used for collecting rainwater.

*1 Beneficial microorganisms are supplied with air (oxygen), whereupon they absorb and break down organic substances, lowering COD values.

*2 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.

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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.

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Sustainability Report