Water

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. The Meiji Group is therefore making efforts to reduce environmental impact, such as efficient use of water and proper drainage management. It also conducts water risk evaluations at each of its business sites, 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.

SDGs
Social Issues

Reduce domestic water use volume (base units) compared with FYE March 2016 baseline by FYE March 2031

KPI

By more than 20% compared with FYE March 2016 baseline

  • * excluding KM Biologics Co., Ltd.

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 with the local community. Aqueduct is a tool published by the World Resources Institute to evaluate global water risk by latitude and longitude.
Based on Aqueduct survey results, we identified our water risk from three aspects (Drought Risk, flood risk, water quality risk), implementing measures for each location.

 

Survey Results Based on Aqueduct

Drought Risk Flood Risk Water Quality Risk
Japan
52 Business Locations
Mainland China
5 Business Locations
Asia
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.

Appropriate Water Management

Water is a vital resource for the Meiji Group, and as an invaluable resource in the world, we believe its management is essential for achieving a sustainable society. Therefore, we set a target to reduce our water consumption by 20% (base unit, compared to FYE March 2016) by FYE March 2031. To achieve this target, we will appropriately manage water intake and discharge as well as mitigate risk, and thereby conserve water and ensure the continuity of our businesses.

Approach

Reduce Water Consumption via Appropriate Water Management and Water Conservation Equipment

We are constantly working hard to save water and reduce its footprint in the environment from our water intake. We have revised our production processes to enhance our water-use efficiency and are also working to recycle water.

Water Usage Reduction Examples at Meiji Plants

The Meiji Group is endeavoring to use water efficiently by installing water-saving nozzles at water spigots across multiple plants.

Meiji Co., Ltd., Asahikawa Plant, hose with water-saving nozzle
Meiji Co., Ltd., Asahikawa Plant, hose with water-saving nozzle
Recycling Cooling Water for Reduced Water Usage

The Karuizawa plant operated by Food Segment produces cheese. For years, the plant had used well water in the heat exchangers used to cool cheese ingredients on the cheese production line. This water was used only once, exiting the plant as wastewater. The plant installed chillers through which well water can be circulated and recycled. The new system yields a 16,000m³ annual reduction in water usage at the plant.

Chillers in Karuizawa plant
Chillers in Karuizawa plant
Reduced Water Consumption Through Greywater System

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
Paddy field flooding at KM Biologics Co., Ltd.

KM Biologics Co., Ltd. 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 recharging approximately 500 thousand tons of ground water annually, which is more than what is used at the head office and the Kumamoto Plant.

Participation in Groundwater Conservation Group

KM Biologics Co., Ltd. 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 the fiscal year ended March 2020, we contributed an estimated 6,780m³ of water conservation through water-offset rice initiatives.
(Conservation period: June 2019 to September 2019)

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.

Meiji Co., Ltd., Moriya Plant, RO Membrane Equipment
Meiji Co., Ltd., Moriya Plant, RO Membrane Equipment
Improving Wastewater Quality Through Appropriate Chemical Substance Management

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.

Methane fermentation process
Rainwater storage facility
Initiatives to Combat Flooding

Nihon Kanzume, Co., Ltd., 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.

Nihon Kanzume, Co., Ltd., water barrier
Nihon Kanzume, Co., Ltd., water barrier
Independent Practitioner's Assurance of Water Use Volume

In order to improve the reliability of the data, we obtained the indepedent practitioner's assurance for the domestic water use volume of FYE March 2019 indicated on p.43 in the Integrated Report 2019 by Deloitte Tohmatsu Sustainability Co., Ltd.
We work hard to improve the reliability of all environmental data.