Pollution Prevention and Chemical Substance Management
Murata strives to minimize environmental risks of our business activities affecting the local community and to be ready to handle any problems promptly when they happen. To this end, we do our best to disclose information pertaining to such efforts, including inviting local residents to company tours so that they can understand Murata’s environmental conservation activities.
Looking toward the realization of sustainable social systems, Murata strives to provide products with minimal impact on the global environment.
In addition to complying with laws and regulations such as the RoHS Directive and the REACH regulations, we have established voluntary standards that incorporate consideration of global trends related to environmentally hazardous substances and requests from our customers. By means of the management system shown in the diagram below, we are actively working to reduce or eliminate the use of environmentally hazardous substances in our products.
We are also responding preemptively to the revision of laws relating to environmentally hazardous substances.
The current RoHS Directive restricts the content of ten types of chemical substances in electrical and electronic devices marketed in the EU.
Of these, restrictions on four types of designated phthalic esters were added by a revision that went into effect on July 22, 2019. Acting in advance of the RoHS Directive revision, Murata prohibited the use of designated phthalic esters in newly developed products from July 2017. Also, we are managing the packaging and tools that come into contact with products in the course of processing and logistics, in order to prevent contamination from contact.
In reducing the use of environmentally hazardous substances, as in other areas of our activity, Murata is working with the security of society, the community, and our customers as our top priority.
Regulatory chart for environmentally hazardous chemical substances contained in products (excerpt)
Regulatory chart for environmentally hazardous chemical substances used in manufacturing processes
Preventing Environmental Accidents and Soil Contamination
We are aware of the significant environmental risk accompanying the use of chemical substances, and we are taking steps to avoid pollution. We take into particular consideration the degree and duration of environmental impacts when storing and transporting chemical substances within our facilities, applying four voluntary standards for proactive prevention.
We contract legally certified waste disposal specialists for the disposal of industrial waste and we visit their processing facilities regularly to ensure proper treatment. We also conduct surveys to minimize the risk of soil pollution caused by ground deformations when constructing plants.
We would like to note that in fiscal 2019, Murata was not involved in any serious environmental accidents or breaches of environmental laws and regulations, and we were not subject to any fines or penalties.
Voluntary standards for prevention of environmental accidents and pollution (equipment-related)
- Prohibition of underground storage tanks
In principle, storage tanks for new and waste fuels, organic solvents, and acids and alkalis, in addition to raw water tanks for wastewater treatment, will be located above ground. If it is unavoidable that a tank must be positioned underground, a double-walled tank must be used.
- Permeation barrier coatings
Locations in which fuels, as well as new and waste organic solvents, and acids and alkalis are handled will be provided with beds treated with a permeation barrier coating or made of stainless steel.
- Prohibition of underground piping
Pipes for transporting fuels as well as new and waste organic solvents, acids and alkalis, and waste liquids from industrial processes, will be located above ground.
- Emergency containment structures
Operational areas in which new liquids are received from tanker trucks, etc. or waste liquids are discharged will be provided with a structure that allows immediate containment of any leakage outside the area if an accident occurs.
Management of environmentally polluting substances
At Murata, we record data on the chemical substances we use in our Japan plants in a database, and we use a system that allows us to easily understand and manage the status of use of individual chemical substances.
We use this system for the discharge and transportation calculations required by the Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof (PRTR Law).
Of the 462 classes of substances that are subject to reporting under the terms of this law, in its Japan operations between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, Murata used one ton or more of 29 classes of substances including toluene, xylene, and lead and lead compounds. The amounts used are shown below.
Volume of use and volume of discharge/transportation of PRTR substances (Total for Japan)
Control of emissions of air polluting substances
Murata is voluntarily working to control its emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are a contributor to atmospheric pollution. We are introducing exhaust gas treatment equipment (regenerative thermal oxidizers [RTO]) at worksites that use a high volume of VOCs. Last year, we installed the equipment. Our use of VOCs has increased as our production has expanded, but through our voluntary efforts we have been able to eliminate 95% of our usage.
Soil and groundwater contamination surveys and decontamination
Murata has been quick to carry out surveys on soil and groundwater contamination caused by past business activities and has actively worked toward early remediation.
Specifically, depending on the properties of the soil, the concentration of contamination, and the location of the contaminating source, we apply the in-situ bio method, the in-situ iron powder method, the in-situ oxidation and decomposition method, or other decontamination methods using state-of-the-art technologies to decontaminate the area according to the source of contamination. In addition, we install wells at the boundaries of the facilities in question to enable us to monitor the status of decontamination of the groundwater.
Communications with local residents about environmental risk
We consider minimizing the impact of our business activities on local communities to be one of the most important aspects of our corporate social responsibility, and we work hard to respond swiftly if a problem occurs.
In fiscal 2019, the Murata Group’s plants received nine complaints regarding noise and other matters, and we quickly resolved these issues in consultation with local residents.
We also strive to promote information disclosure, by such means as inviting local residents to tour our operating sites, so that they can better understand our active environmental efforts.