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 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 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.

From fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2018, Sumitomo Forestry Group water consumption increased due to the operation of the Mombetsu Biomass Power Plant and Hachinohe Biomass Power Plant. Biomass power generation leads to increased water usage because power is generated by burning wood and other biomass fuel to boil water and create steam for powering turbines.

The Sumitomo Forestry Group has set conservation and effective utilization of water resources as a target in the Mid-Term Sustainability Targets announced in May 2019 with specific water consumption targets for entire Group for conducting progress management.

In fiscal 2019, the entire group used 2,897,000 m³ of water, which achieved our target of 2,981,000 m³ or less. Water saving measures for circular use of industrial water at the Sumitomo Forestry Crest Imari Plant was a major factor in reaching this target. Overseas manufacturing plants reduced their water use in fiscal 2019 by 6.2% compared to fiscal 2018 because of water-saving activities, such as the use of rainwater.

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

Water Usage over the Past Four YearsAbout symbol for Independent assurance*1

Water Usage per Department*1

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)
FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019 FY2019
Service Water 73 79 78 1,258 1,302 1,324 460 475 392 1,795
Ground water 0 29 37 10 14 12 175 174 190 239
Industrial water 119 235 114 263 470 432 297 310 318 863
Total 192 232 230 1,531*2 1,786 1,768 932 959 900 2,897

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

*2 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

The Imari Plant of Sumitomo Forestry Crest, which manufacturers such products as synthetic resin adhesives, uses industrial water to cool its manufacturing equipment. Afterwards, this water is reused to dilute factory wastewater and for other purposes as a water-conservation measure. In addition, from fiscal 2018, wastewater (coagulation sedimentation treated water) is further treated biologically to control the amount of water necessary for dilution for factory wastewater water quality management. This and other new water-saving measures led to an industrial water usage of 84,100 m³ in fiscal 2019, a 43% decline compared to fiscal 2018.

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 since fiscal 2017.

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Sustainability Report