Water Resources

The Nisshinbo Group’s Contributions to the SDGs

The Nisshinbo Group contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through water resource activities.
In order to achieve our environmental target regarding reducing water consumption per unit of sales, The Group is managing key performance indicators (KPIs) as part of systematic measures, as follows.

Core SDGs Goals and Targets and the activities of the Nisshinbo Group

The Nisshinbo Group is promoting water resource activities with SDG 6.4 as a core target, as follows.

  • ①Promoting water conservation activities through ISO 14001 activities
  • ②Expanding activities such as the introduction of water-saving equipment at manufacturing sites, reduction of water consumption and reuse of treated wastewater
  • ③Efforts toward sustainable water intake at overseas sites with different water availability conditions, such as use of rainwater and water recycling (returning to groundwater)
  • ④Activities in the Textiles business to purify well water that has been drained and deliver a portion of it to neighboring residents free of charge
  • ⑤Contributing to domestic and overseas wastewater treatment fields by providing microbial carriers for water treatment in the Chemicals business
  • 6. Clean water and sanitation

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

  • Targets: 6.4

    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

Understanding and monitoring water risks

Using the AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas* published by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Nisshinbo Group is conducting water risk assessments at the business sites and in the major supply chains of the Group. The Nisshinbo group monitors sites and supply chains that are rated "very risky." In addition, the Group conduct surveys of water consumption in the supply chain and manage the results of these surveys.

* AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas: Maps based on 12 different water risk indicators, including "physical water stress," "water quality," "water resource regulatory risks," and "reputational risks."

AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas
AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas

CDP Water Security 2021 Evaluation

The CDP is an international NGO working in the environmental field. The CDP surveys more than 13,000 companies worldwide, assigning scores from A to D and more than 1000 cities, states, and regions to assess how CDP effectively responds to issues such as climate change, deforestation, and water security. The Nisshinbo Group received a "B" rating in Water Security 2021.

CDP Water Security 2021 Evaluation
CDP Water Security 2021 Evaluation

Use of Water Resources

Nisshinbo Group's actual water use was 7.0 million m3, a 16% decreased from in the previous year. The volume of water used per sale was 13.8 m3 per million yen, a 24% reduction in the volume of water used per sale in the previous year. In the Textiles business, the amount of water used was reduced by partially replacing the air-conditioning use with recycling.

The volume of water recycled was 0.80 million m3. This was an increase of 7% in the recycling volume of water in the previous year. This is an effect of advanced recycling in the Textiles business.

Water Usage and Water Usage per Unit of Sales

Water Usage and Water Usage per Unit of Sales

(Million m³)

  2017 2018
(Reference value after adjustment)
2019 2020 2021
Water Usage 10.6 10.3 9.4 8.3 7.0
(m³/Million yen)
Water Usage per Unit of sales 20.7 20.0 18.4 18.3 13.8

* In 2018, we changed our fiscal year-end from March 31 to December 31. As a result, the consolidated fiscal year, which is a transitional period, is an irregular accounting period. For this reason, the period used for reference to FY2018 is adjusted to the period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, to match the period of other consolidated fiscal years.

Trends of Water Recycled

Trends of Water Recycled

(Million m³)

  2017 2018
(Reference value after adjustment)
2019 2020 2021
Volume of Water Recycled 0.812 1.053 0.743 0.741 0.796

* In 2018, we changed our fiscal year-end from March 31 to December 31. As a result, the consolidated fiscal year, which is a transitional period, is an irregular accounting period. For this reason, the period used for reference to FY2018 is adjusted to the period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, to match the period of other consolidated fiscal years.

The textiles business accounted for 58% of total water usage.

Trends in Volume of Water Usage by Business

The textiles business accounted for 58% of total water usage.

(Million m³)

  2017 2018
(Reference value after adjustment)
2019 2020 2021
Electronics 1.6 1.6 -- -- --
Wireless and Communications -- -- 0.4 0.5 0.5
Microdevices -- -- 1.3 1.3 1.3
Automobile Brakes 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3
Precision Instruments 1.3 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.8
Chemicals 0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.4
Textiles 7.2 6.9 6.1 5.3 4.1
Others 0 0 0 0 0
Total 10.6 10.3 9.4 8.3 7.0

*1 In 2018, we changed our fiscal year-end from March 31 to December 31. As a result, the consolidated fiscal year, which is a transitional period, is an irregular accounting period. For this reason, the period used for reference to FY2018 is adjusted to the period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, to match the period of other consolidated fiscal years.

*2 In fiscal 2019, the Electronics business was separated into the Wireless and Communications business and the Micro Devices business.

Examples of the Nisshinbo Group Activities

Reduction of Groundwater Consumption

Nagano Japan Radio Co., Ltd., owns four deep wells on the premises and uses water-cooled air conditioners that use groundwater. Cold-water air conditioners account for 8% of the volume of groundwater used. As a measure to reduce water consumption, Nagano Japan Radio has been replacing air-cooling air conditioners for several years. In fiscal year 2021, three units were replaced with air-cooled air conditioners, reducing groundwater by 11,000 m3 per year.

In fiscal year 2022, the company plans to update 18 to air-cooled air conditioners and expects to reduce the use of groundwater by 60,000 m3 per year.

Currently, water-cooled air conditioners in older warehouses are in operation because of the increase in parts inventory caused by the damage from the coronavirus. To reduce water consumption, the company plans to gradually replace the remaining 23 water-cooled air conditioners.

Reduction of Water Consumption in Air Conditioning Equipment

At Nisshinbo Micro Devices Inc., Yashiro Plant, hot water is sent to the air conditioners in the clean rooms to maintain the environment where semiconductors are manufactured. Steam is used for heat exchange to produce hot water. By replacing the heat exchanger with an efficient heat exchanger (from a shell and tube type to a plate type), the amount of steam used was reduced, and the amount of water used was reduced by 431 m3 per year. In addition, effects other than a reduction in water consumption were also observed as shown below.

①Reduced the use of water treatment chemicals by 120,000 yen per year by reducing the use of water.

②Reduced city gas consumption by 70,728m3 per year by reducing steam consumption.

③Because of the change of heat exchanger, statutory inspections are not required, and the cost is reduced by 210,000 yen per year. (Change from Class 1 to Class 2 pressure container)

Heat exchanger
Heat exchanger

Reduction of water consumption by recovering cooling water from compressors

At Nisshinbo Micro Devices Inc., Kawagoe Plant, reduced the use of water by reusing cooling water for compressors that was previously drained.

As a measure, the company laid a new pipe that branches from the drain for compressor piping and returns it to the same cooling water tank as the supplier. Although this cooling water is also supplied to factory equipment, pure water was used to reduce the wear from the filter deterioration on the secondary side. Nisshinbo Micro Devices was concerned about the deterioration of water quality by returning water used in facilities that were not initially production systems, but the company was able to determine that there was no effect by prior testing, and the process was implemented.

In February 2021, construction was carried out, and the effect appeared from that month. In 2021, water use was reduced by 46,000 m3 per year (equivalent to 8.6% of 549,000 m3 of water used per year at the Kawagoe plant). Since purified water was no longer used, the cost of producing pure water was reduced to approximately 3.4 million per year (purified water unit cost is 74 yen).

Compressor filter (before renovation)
Compressor filter (before renovation)
Compressor filter (after renovation)
Compressor filter (after renovation)

Reuse of sewage through wastewater reuse system (MRO)

With the aim of reusing sewage, Nisshinbo Micro Devices Fukuoka Co., Ltd., treats some of the wastewater discharged into the sewage system with a wastewater reuse system (MRO) device using a reverse osmosis membrane. Treated wastewater MRO water is used in the cooling towers, makeup water for scrubbers, and tap water in the power facilities.

In fiscal year 2021, the production load increased by 22.0% over the previous year. The actual amount of sewerage was 138,000 m3 per year, an increase of 1.8% (1,455 m3) over the previous year, and the actual volume of wastewater MRO water was about 89,000 m3 per year (an increase of 1.8% over the previous year).

In the future, the company will continue to make planned improvements and continue to investigate future improvements in treatment capabilities, while working to stabilize facilities.

Wastewater reuse system equipment
Wastewater reuse system equipment

Reduction of Industrial Water Consumption by Reusing Treated Wastewater

In order to reduce the use of industrial water, Nisshinbo Somboon Automotive Co Ltd. in Thailand reused treated water from wastewater treatment facilities to wash water from wet scrubbers, a device that washes effluents from local exhaust systems, in 2021.

This wastewater treatment facility uses an aerobic microorganism that employs a special carrier that attaches bacteria to a Biological Membrane Treatment System (Acticontact). When the pollutant component (BOD) in the wastewater flows into the treatment tank, it comes into contact with bacteria adhering to the carrier, and the pollutant component is decomposed by the action of the bacteria.

By reusing treated wastewater, Nisshinbo Somboon Automotive was able to reduce the use of industrial water by approximately 2,500 m3 per year. This resulted in approximately a 30% reduction in industrial water used over the course of a year.

In addition, the exhaust gas from the wet scrubber is regularly measured to ensure that the exhaust treatment is functioning properly.

Waste water treatment equipment
Waste water treatment equipment

Reduction of water consumption through equipment modification, etc.

Nisshinbo Continental Precision Machining (Yangzhou) Co., Ltd., uses RO (Reverse Osmosis: reverse osmosis) water to dilute water-soluble coolant solutions used during manufacturing and to wash high-pressure irrigators.

Since the amount of tap water used to generate RO water and the amount of effluent at the time of production tended to increase with the increase in production and shipments, the company investigated and examined the process of RO water generation in terms of reducing the volume of tap water used.

RO membranes filter tap water (reverse osmosis membranes) to generate RO water. Because calcium and sodium contained in the water adhere to the RO membranes, RO water must be regularly washed back twice a day.

Previously, tap water was used for reverse irrigation of RO membranes, but as an improvement effort, the company drastically reduced the amount of tap water used by reusing wastewater when generating RO water. This approach will reduce the use of tap water by 3,600 t per year.

Reverse washing of RO membranes
Reverse washing of RO membranes

Water saving by adjusting the operation of water-cooled compressors

At Nisshinbo Chemical Inc., Tokushima Plant, the volume of filtered water used was analyzed by device. Based on the result that about 70% of the filtered water was used for cooling water in the heat exchanger of the 22 kW water-cooled compressor in fiscal year 2020, the company set a reduction in the operating hours of the 22 kW water-cooled compressor as the target for water reduction in fiscal year 2021.

Previously, this compressor stopped only for continuous holidays in January, May, and August, but intensive production resulted in an increase of cessation period of manufacturing facilities by 500 hours per year. By shutting off the unnecessary air supply during the shutdown period and enabling operation of only the standby 7.5 kW air-cooled compressor, the operating time of the compressor was reduced by 500 hours per year.

As a result of these efforts, the company achieved a reduction of 2,400 m3 per year of filtration water consumption in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020 (5% reduction compared to fiscal year 2020).

Reducing Water Consumption by Reusing Spent Water

Nisshinbo Textile Inc., Fujieda Plant, is working to reduce the use of industrial water in an effort to achieve a sustainable manufacturing process.

The Fujieda Plant produces nonwoven fabrics by a process called spunlace. This production method uses no chemicals at all, but a large volume of water is used to produce nonwoven fabrics because of the addition of a high-pressure water stream to collect short fibers in sheet form. In an effort to improve the process, the company reduced the volume of water used through the reuse of water during nonwoven fabric production as cooling water for air conditioning.

In addition, the water-cooled air-conditioning carrier facility at the facility is designed to recover air from the plant, which is hot as a result of the operation of the machine, and to lower the temperature with cooling water before being sent to the plant. The use of spent water for the cooling water resulted in a reduction of 0.6 million tons of water consumed per year.

Nonwoven fabric production process
Nonwoven fabric production process