The Asahi Kasei Group's Environmental Contribution Products | Sustainability | Asahi Kasei

The Asahi Kasei Group's Environmental Contribution Products

What are Environmental Contribution Products?

Under "Cs+ for Tomorrow 2021," our medium-term management initiative, the Asahi Kasei Group is striving for sustainable society based on the concept "Care for People, Care for Earth."
For sustainable society, we believe it is important to develop products and businesses that contribute to reducing the impact of society on the environment in addition to reducing emissions, such as greenhouse gases, at the Group's production sites. The Asahi Kasei Group defines products that contribute to the improvement of the environment over the entire life cycle when compared with products considered to be the standard in the current market and products that contribute to the improvement of the environment when compared with our existing products as Environmental Contribution Products.

The Asahi Kasei Group assesses its products for environmental impact over the entire life cycle (Life Cycle Assessment: LCA). In the past, we have defined and certified products that can contribute to CO2 reduction at the product use stage as global warming conscious products. In view of recent demand for contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from an LCA perspective and the growing importance of reducing environmental impacts in areas other than greenhouse gases, such as risks to water, the Asahi Kasei Group formulated Guidelines for Environmental Contribution Products* in January 2019 in a revision of the contribution of products to reducing environmental impact including CO2.

  • *In preparing the guidelines, we referred to Guidelines for Assessing the Contribution of Products to Avoided Greenhouse Gas Emissions, The Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan, Guideline for Calculating the Reduction in CO2 Emissions, Japan Chemical Industry Association, Guideline for Quantifying GHG Emission Reduction Contribution, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and other reference materials.
  • Asahi Kasei's core technologies+Environmental issues to be addressed→Environmental Contribution Products→Contributing to sustainable society

In making the abovementioned calculations, we use MiLCA, an LCA tool provided by the Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry.

What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

Although CO2 is generated during the manufacture of materials and intermediate products in the Asahi Kasei Group, there are also many examples of products which contribute to improving the environment by reducing environmental impact, including CO2, during use considering the entire product life cycle, such as contributions to energy conservation.
The evaluation of the environmental impact of products over their entire life cycle is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

  • Assessing environmental impact (CO2, etc.) of the entire life cycle, Raw material extraction→Manufacture→Distribution→Use→Disposal

Internal Certification Process

Strategic business units and core operating companies propose products for internal certification. The Asahi Kasei Group receives advice from a third-party organization on the suitability of the environmental contribution calculation methodology and approach from an LCA perspective for the proposed products, and defines products that have been internally certified as Environmental Contribution Products.
We also receive advice on the appropriateness of the calculations of contributions to reductions from outside experts when reviewing certifications.

  • Internal Certification Process: Proposer→Secretariat→Internal screening→LCA Review Panel, Management Council, etc. Proposer←→Advisory, Secretariat←→Advisory

LCA Review Panel (held July 19, 2019)

Chair
Atsushi Inaba (Professor, Kogakuin University)
Members
Kensuke Kobayashi (Associate Professor, Prefectural University of Hiroshima)
Keigo Matsuda (Associate Professor, Yamagata University)
Hiroyuki Uchida (Senior Consultant, Mizuho Information & Research Institute, Inc.)

At the LCA Review Panel, Asahi Kasei Group personnel explain the details of calculations and receive comments and advice from the outside experts on the suitability of the establishment of baselines and the approach to contribution to reductions.

List of Environmental Contribution Products (certified in fiscal 2019)

Product name Reason for certification SDGs contributed to

Lithium-ion battery (LIB) separators

The separator is one of the four main components (cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator) that make up the batteries (LIBs) for electric vehicles (EV/HEV/PHEV).
As a result of their growing popularity, electric vehicles are contributing to a reduction in CO2 during driving, compared with gasoline vehicles. Improving the battery performance (extending range and ensuring safety) is essential to the popularization of electric vehicles, and our development of separator technology is playing a part in this.
  • GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION
S-SBR is used for the tread (the part in contact with the road) on passenger vehicle tires. Based on the development of original technology, it balances low fuel consumption and braking performance of tires at a high level, contributing to dramatically increasing the fuel efficiency of automobiles.
  • GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION
Caustic soda and chlorine are manufactured through the electrolysis of brine. The methods of electrolysis are the mercury process, the diaphragm process and the ion-exchange membrane process. The ion-exchange process is an environmentally-friendly method that does not use mercury or asbestos. Asahi Kasei is the only manufacturer in the world that manufactures and sells ion-exchange membranes, electrolytic cells, and electrodes, and boasts the top share of the global market. We have engaged in continual development to enable electrolysis using even less electricity, and our latest ion-exchange membrane grade has the lowest power consumption (compared with Asahi Kasei products: approximately 2% less than the current grade).
  • GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
  • GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE
  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION
Xyron™, a type of engineering plastic, is an environmentally-friendly material with non-halogen flame retardance and reduction of resin usage due to its low specific gravity. Its properties also include dimensional precision, mechanical strength, and resistance to electrolyte solution. Widely used for electric vehicle battery packs and modules, it has played a major role in the spread of electric vehicles.
  • GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION
  • Hebel Haus™
  • Hebel Maison™
Long Life Homes and Net Zero Energy Houses: Compared with regular housing, our homes contribute to reduction of CO2 during manufacture of all components and construction by meeting the standards for Net Zero Energy Houses, which balance household energy usage at zero or lower through power generation, advanced insulation, and energy conservation, and providing Long Life Home products with a basic structural life of at least 60 years.
  • GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
  • GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE
  • GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
  • GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION

Manufacturing process for acrylonitrile

Acrylonitrile, which is the raw material for ABS resin and acrylic fiber, is manufactured by making propylene (or propane) react with ammonia using a catalyst.
Asahi Kasei has continually developed catalysts that enable the efficient manufacture of acrylonitrile from less raw materials.
Asahi Kasei's catalysts can not only reduce raw material consumption compared with manufacturing acrylonitrile using other, ordinary catalysts (in the model case) but can also reduce emissions of by-products, particularly CO2, and the CO2 emissions associated with waste processing. These catalysts, therefore, make a significant contribution to the manufacture of acrylonitrile with a low environmental impact.
  • GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
  • GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION

Other products and businesses that contribute to the environment:

  • Lamous™ (organic solvent-free)
  • Polycarbonate production process (non-phosgene process using CO2 as raw material)
  • Microza™ (water filtration membrane)
  • Tenac™ (low VOC performance)
  • Asaclean™ (reduces plastic waste)
  • UVC LED (mercury-free with low power consumption)
  • Neoma Foam™ (high performance insulation), etc.