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About Meiji

At a Glance

At a Glance

Get to know Meiji at a glance – from our core business to our most important numbers.


Targets of the 2020 Medium-Term Business Plan (effective until March 31, 2021)*
KPI Results
FYE 3/2019 FYE 3/2020 FYE 3/2021
Reduce company-wide water consumption volume per unit of sales by at least 20% by FYE 3/2031, compared with FYE 3/2018 1.5% 3.8% 5.3%

* Scope of aggregation: Consolidated Meiji Group

Targets of the 2023 Medium-Term Business Plan (effective up to March 31, 2024)*
KPI Base Year Target
FYE 3/2024 FYE 3/2031 FYE 3/2051
Reduce company-wide water consumption volume per unit of sales by 50% by 2050, compared with FYE 3/2018 FYE 3/2018 10% 20% 50%
Replenish an amount of water to nature equivalent to 100% the amount used in our products by 2050 (Water Neutrality) - 27% 45% 100% (Water Neutral)
Address water risks in regions where our business sites are located, and regions where we procure raw materials - - - -

* Scope of aggregation: Consolidated Meiji Group

Position on Water Resources

Global demand for water is expected to increase further due to improved living standards associated with population and economic growth. Predictions indicate that more and more areas will face water scarcity. Water is an essential resource for the Meiji Group's business activities.

For this reason, the Meiji Group recognizes securing water resources as one of its most key social issues.
We have therefore established water resources targets, and making efforts to reduce environmental impact, such as through efficient use of water, and proper drainage management across the entire Meiji Group. We also conduct water risk evaluations at each of our business site both in Japan and overseas.

Further, the Meiji Group also works with its employees and stakeholders to cultivate water resources through forest and watershed conservation activities.

Secure Water Resources

Water Risk Survey Results

To understand the impact of water risk on our business continuity, we use Aqueduct and other tools to survey water risk at both Japan and overseas production sites and research facilities. We also conduct interviews at these sites. Aqueduct is a tool published by the World Resources Institute to evaluate global water risk by latitude and longitude.

Using Aqueduct survey results, alongside analysis of our own domestic and overseas production sites (quantity and quality of water used, and the products manufactured), we identified sites which face a high water risk.
From our FY2020 results, we can see that water consumption in areas with relatively high risks to water resources* has dropped to 3% or below of total water consumption.
Looking towards the future, we will identify an order of priority, and a schedule for carrying out necessary water risk countermeasures, then implement them systematically.

* Using Aqueduct, we analyzed severity of stress on water resources (including Baseline Water Stress and Baseline Water Depletion), as well as Seasonal Variability. The term "areas with relatively high risks to water resources" above refers to areas where Aqueduct's risk analysis pointed to a high current or future risk.

Survey Results Based on Aqueduct*
Drought Risk Flood Risk Water Quality Risk
Total (73 Business locations) 15%
(52 Business Locations)
(5 Business Locations)
Asia (Excluding Japan and China)
(13 Business Locations)
The U.S. and Europe
(3 Business Locations)

* The locally provided water hazard map information is incorporated in the flood risk results for Japan and the United States.

Water Usage Volume Results

Water Extraction Volume*
FYE 3/2017 FYE 3/2018 FYE 3/2019 FYE 3/2020 FYE 3/2021
Extraction total
(thousand m³)
- 24,082 23,483 23,397 21,895
per unit of sales
(m³ per hundred thousand yen)
- 1.94 1.87 1.87 1.84
(thousand m³)
24,104 22,305 22,056 21,979 20,513
(m³ per hundred thousand yen)
2.07 1.92 1.89 1.89 1.86
(thousand m³)
- 1,192 878 903 845
Asia (Excluding Japan and China)
(thousand m³)
- 511 487 459 479
North America and Europe
(thousand m³)
- 74 62 56 58

* Domestic data is from domestic Meiji Group. Water consumption volume per unit of sales is calculated from domestic sales. Global data includes Meiji Group as a whole, including the domestic Meiji Group, overseas production plants, and (from FYE 3/2019 data onwards) KM Biologics.

Water Extraction Volume by Water Source*
Unit FYE 3/2020 FYE 3/2021
Fresh water total thousand m³ 23,397 21,895
% 100 100
Tap water thousand m³ 2,619 2,391
% 11 11
Water for industrial use thousand m³ 5,329 4,888
% 23 22
Rivers, lakes and marshes thousand m³ 0 0
% 0 0
Ground water thousand m³ 15,446 14,613
% 66 67
Rainwater thousand m³ 3 3
% 0 0

* Including overseas Meiji Group

Water Drainage Volume*
FYE 3/2017 FYE 3/2018 FYE 3/2019 FYE 3/2020 FYE 3/2021
Drainage total - - 20,586 19,437 18,225
Japan 20,255 17,914 19,702 18,415 17,248
China - - 696 790 761
Asia (Excluding Japan and China) - - 141 180 162
North America and Europe - - 47 53 54

* Domestic data is from domestic Meiji Group. Global data includes Meiji Group as a whole, including the domestic Meiji Group, overseas production plants, and (from FYE 3/2019 data onwards) KM Biologics.

Water Drainage Volume by Destination*
Unit FYE 3/2020 FYE 3/2021
Drainage total thousand m³ 19,445 18,226
% 100 100
Sewerage thousand m³ 8,737 8,156
% 45 45
Discharge into rivers thousand m³ 10,614 9,991
% 55 55
Discharge into ocean thousand m³ 0 0
% 0 0
Discharge into groundwater thousand m³ 94 78
% 0.5 0

* Including overseas Meiji Group

Responsible Extraction and Discharge of Water

Water resources are indispensable for the business operations of Meiji Group, and management of water resources is an extremely important theme for the realization of a sustainable society. We will endeavor to secure important water resources by properly managing water intake and drainage, such as efficient use of water, introduction of facilities that consider water saving, and water quality management of wastewater. In addition to acquiring and disclosing group-wide water intake and drainage data, we will establish group-wide management standards, introduce an environmental data management system, and conduct audits by a third-party organization for the purpose of improving data transparency and reliability.

Reduce Water Consumption by Introducing Water Saving Equipment

Meiji Group is working to increase the efficiency of its water use in all areas, including in locations that face high water risk. For example, by stopping water flow outside of operation hours, coordinating dilution of discharged water, and by investigating and repairing sites of water leakage.

As a result, we are continuing to improve the efficiency of water consumption (per unit of sales) on an annual basis.

In the future, we will consider expanding the number of plants that make use of rainwater and other non-drinking water in bathrooms and similar facilities, as well as taking measures to reuse discharged water.

Water Reduction Cases at Manufacturing Sites

The Meiji Group is working to use water efficiently by installing water-saving nozzles at faucets at multiple factories. In addition, at the cheese production line at the Karuizawa Plant of Meiji, well water used for heat exchangers for cooling cheese raw materials was drained to sewage with a single water flow. Therefore, by installing a refrigerator to circulate well water and reuse it for cooling, we reduced the annual water consumption by about 16,000m³.

Photo: hose with water-saving nozzle in Asahikawa plant

Hose with water-saving nozzle in Asahikawa plant, Meiji


Chillers in Karuizawa plant

At Meiji's Toda Plant, we examined various flow rates of industrial water used for cooling when transferring raw materials from fermentation tanks to liquid storage tanks and found an optimized flow rate, which reduced water usage by approximately 2,900 m³/month.

Figure: Water saving at Toda plant

KM Biologics has installed greywater* recycling systems in four of its manufacturing buildings at its Kumamoto Production Center. These systems collect recyclable water for primary use from production facilities. This greywater is then used as makeup water in cooling towers. Water discharged from the cooling towers as secondary use water is first filtered and disinfected, and then used in toilets. Overall, approximately 30,000 m³ of water is recycled annually at the Kumamoto Production Center.

* Greywater: Non-potable water that is suitable for general and industrial use

Figure: Greywater recycling system in Kumamoto Production Center

Measures to Replenish Water Resources

Meiji Group is committed to replenish an amount of water to nature equivalent to 100% of the amount used in our products by 2050. With an eye to meeting this target, we have set the following milestones: increase to at least 27% equivalent of the water we use by FY2023, and increase to at least 45% by FY2030.

Field flooding project

KM Biologics uses groundwater for production and waterlogs fields (saturate the soil with water) as part of a program to reduce the impact on the environment. We replenish and recharge the groundwater by diverting water from the Shirakawa River nearby and flood the fields with water for about 3 months before planting crops. We have been doing this since 2005 and have been replenishing approximately 500 thousand tons of groundwater annually, which is more than what is used at the head office and the Kumamoto Plant. In FY2020 we replenished approximately 550 thousand tons of groundwater.

Photo: field flooding project
Participation in groundwater conservation group

KM Biologics joined the Kumamoto Groundwater Foundation in 2012 to work toward a healthy groundwater environment together with the local community. The Kumamoto Groundwater Foundation is a groundwater environment preservation group that has implemented effective groundwater preservation measures based on research results. As a member of this foundation, we conduct educational activities related to groundwater preservation through participating in groundwater preservation symposia and encouraging employees to purchase water-offset rice, i.e. rice grown in fields that engage in groundwater recharge. During FY2020, we contributed an estimated 15,160m³ of water conservation through water-offset rice initiatives.
(Conservation period: June 2020 to September 2020)

Initiatives on Quality of Intake Water

The Meiji Group is engaged in initiatives related to the quality of intake water.
Some of its plants have incorporated RO (reverse osmosis) membranes into their manufacturing lines, removing impurities and preventing flavor defects arising from input water quality, as well as maintaining a high standard of water quality. An RO membrane is a type of filtration membrane that can separate materials and is capable of removing ions and organic substances from aqueous solutions.

Quality Management of Discharged Water

We have set more stringent standards for discharged water than the legal standards in Japan, and we are working on preventing water pollution. In order to reduce our environmental footprint of discharged water, we install equipment that uses activated sludge treatment and methane fermentation at plants or for processes that discharge a lot of water.
As of FY2019, we can confirm that there have been zero breaches of laws and regulations concerning wastewater quality.

Photo:  methane fermentation process

Methane fermentation process

Meiji's Unique Bacillus subtilis BN1001(BN1001) to Guarantee Wastewater Quality

Certain Meiji Group plants make use of BN1001—a microorganism discovered by Meiji, then subject to research and development. Using this bacteria's unique ability to break down oils and fats, as well as unpleasant odors, we are working to further improve wastewater management.

Photo: facility that uses BN1001 to deal with oil waste

At Shikoku Meiji's Matsuyama Plant, the BN1001's unique properties are being harnessed to deal with a certain kind of oil waste known as ‘oil balls.'

The BN1001 is a microorganism of natural origin, discovered in the late 1980s in the soil by a research institute, located at that time in Yokohama. At first, it was the subject of pharmaceutical research. However, when its exceptional ability to break down fats and oils was discovered, and its safety confirmed, it was put to work improving hygiene in areas like bathrooms and kitchens.

The BN bacillus is a helpful microbe with an outstanding ability to break down oils, and is classified as a substrain of the Bacillus subtilis (of the same classification as Bacillus subtilis var. natto). It was named ‘Bacillus subtilis BN1001', and patented (patent number 2553727: helpful microbes, or their usage), as well as entrusted to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (FERM P-11132).

Initiatives to Combat Flooding

Nihon Kanzume, a Meiji Group company, suffered flood damage in 2016 as a result of a nearby river overflowing. Following this event, countermeasures were taken to combat future floods, including installation of a 3.5 meter-high water barrier, creating embankments, and so on. Going forward, and with consideration to BCP (business continuity plan), the Meiji Group has committed to taking further measures to progressively cover other locations facing high flood risks.

Photo: Nihon Kanzume water barrier

Nihon Kanzume water barrier

Independent Practitioner's Assurance of Water Use Volume

In order to improve the reliability of the data, we obtained the independent practitioner's assurance for the domestic water use volume of FYE 3/2021 by Deloitte Tohmatsu Sustainability indicated in our Integrated Report 2021.