Co-existence with the Environment
Taking on the challenge of carbon neutrality
We have set our own greenhouse gas reduction target for FY2030 at 50 % below the FY2013 level, which was approved by the international Science Based Targets (SBT) Initiative in February 2021. Our vision "Evolution 2030" calls for an 80 % of its eduction by FY2030 and a 100 % reduction by FY2040, and we are progressing toward these goals even further ahead of schedule.
In FY2021, we launched the "Carbon-Neutral Project" with the vice president as the project leader. This has let to the creation of a carbon neutral technology roadmap, and 6 working groups, where comprised of young engineers are participating, are developing technologies to achieve decarbonization.
Furthermore, we will contribute to carbon neutrality not only for our own company but also for the society as a whole by reducing energy used for heating and cooling through the promotion of high-insulation products.
We are working to reduce the amount of fuel used in our manufacturing processes. In addition to improving the efficiency and energy-conservation performance of our production facilities, we are electrifying our heat source equipment and switching from liquid fuels to natural gas.
Furthermore, we are using existing technologies to develop and demonstrate the use of hydrogen, ammonia, and other substances in our gas burners.
As such, we are working on both energy saving and energy creation. In terms of energy creation efforts, we are working to introduce solar power generation (installed on rooftops, fields etc., at seven plants and factories in both domestic and overseas), hydroelectric power generation (using the power of water flowing through pipes), biomass power generation and boilers (using wood waste produced during manufacturing for in-house consumption), and wind power generation (using exhaust wind inside factories). We have tripled our investment in renewable energy relative to FY2020 levels and are stepping up our efforts accordingly.
In order to measure our progress in reducing CO2 emissions, we established a database to visualize CO2 emissions by identifying the energy consumption of each piece of equipment at the manufacturing stage. In product development, we have introduced the "Environmentally Friendly Design Evaluation Sheet," which relates CO2 emissions to evaluation criteria during design and development.
Scope 3 emissions account for the majority of the CO2 emissions associated with YKK AP's business activities across the supply chain as a whole. Of these, emissions from the procurement of materials used in the manufacture of products account for 80% of the total. In particular, the procurement (mining, refining, and overseas transportation) of aluminum ingots used for aluminum products and other products has a significant impact, and increasing the utilization rate of recycled materials (re-used raw materials such as aluminum scrap recovered from the market) will have the greatest impact toward achieving carbon neutrality.
All aluminum scraps generated in the manufacturing process are reused, and we have already achieved an internal recycling rate of 100%. We also aim to achieve a 100% recycling rate for market-obtained aluminum scrap generated outside the company. In September 2023, an aluminum recycling furnace will start operation at the Shikoku Plant, and we plan to install the same equipment at other manufacturing sites in the future. In addition, we will work toward technical progress in aluminum recycling through co-creation between industry, government, academia, and the private sector. We are involved, as the lead company, in the "Creation of a Toyama Resource Recycling Society Model," an industry-academia fusion hub concept project to revitalize aluminum-related industries in Toyama Prefecture, led by the University of Toyama.
In regard to logistics, we have introduced double-trailer trucks for transportation over land, increasing the amount of cargo transported at once by 1.8 times the previous level. By introducing "trunk line relay transportation," which includes consolidating transportation routes and improving loadability by combining partial loads, "secondary delivery," which includes joint delivery and alternate-day delivery, and "modal shift," which includes using railroad containers, we are making ongoing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.
Taking on the challenge of a circular economy
In pursuit of realizing a circular economy, we promote activities that are in line with the Three Rs (Reduce; Reuse; and Recycle) to reduce waste materials, and reuse and recycle materials.
We aim to improve recycling rates (zero landfill) and reduce waste output by 40 % from our business activities. We focus on valorizing and reusing waste and enhancing resource efficiency.
We have already achieved the 100 % recycling rate for industrial waste generated from domestic manufacturing facilities and continue our efforts to reach 100 % domestically and internationally.
To "reduce industrial waste", we prioritize reducing plastic packaging materials through simplifying packaging, shifting them to returnable ones, and standardizing packing materials. Additionally, we have introduced facilities at the Kurobe Ekko Plant to produce RPF (refuse-derived paper and plastics-densified fuel) from waste plastics like film and laminate, along with recycled paper and wood chips, further promoting waste valorization.
We are committed to a circular economy for aluminum and vinyl, which are the primary materials of our products.
For aluminum, we have already achieved 100% internal recycling, and for external recycling, we are expanding the use of market scrap materials and actively utilizing recycled aluminum. In the future, we will accelerate aluminum recycling by implementing recycling furnaces in the aluminum casting process.
We are also actively engaged in recycling the vinyl produced during the manufacturing process for vinyl windows and after use. We have installed crushing and sorting equipment at each of our vinyl window manufacturing sites, and by reusing the materials as raw materials for vinyl profiles and gaskets* for insulating glass, our internal recycling rate improved to 28% in FY2022. We are working with industry and academia to build an industry-wide system to collect and recycle vinyl windows in the market, including participation in the "Reviewing Committee for Recycling of Used Vinyl Windows," (Vinyl Environmental Council, etc.), which was established in 2019.
- Parts used to fit glass into sashes
Implementation of guidelines for environmentally friendly design
To minimize CO2 emissions throughout the supply chain, we developed the "Environmentally Friendly Design Guidelines".
Five items that contribute significantly to CO2 reduction during the product lifecycle are "visualization of CO2 emissions," "standardization of packaging materials," "visualization of environmentally hazardous substances," "ease of disassembly and separation," and "environmentally friendly design guidelines and evaluation methods." These items indicate YKK AP's approach and policy regarding environmental considerations, and efforts are underway to evaluate and improve its products.