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.

Social Issues

New Target

Reduce group-wide water consumption volume (per unit of sales) by at least 20% compared with FYE 3/2018 baseline by FYE 3/2031

  • New KPI and target from FYE 3/2021

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
52 Business Locations
Mainland China
5 Business Locations
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 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

The Meiji Group continues to work on water conservation activities and strives to recycle water. At some offices, rainwater is used as toilet water, and cooling water is reused to make effective use of 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 Co., Ltd., 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.

Meiji Co., Ltd., Asahikawa Plant, hose with water-saving nozzle
Meiji Co., Ltd., Asahikawa Plant, hose with water-saving nozzle
Chillers in Karuizawa plant
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.

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.

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
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 independent practitioner's assurance for the domestic water use volume of FYE March 2020 by Deloitte Tohmatsu Sustainability Co., Ltd., indicated in our Integrated Report 2020.