Approach to Pollution Prevention

Environmental pollution caused by exhaust gas, wastewater, and waste materials containing toxic substances resulting from business activities adversely impacts human health and ecosystems. Pollution can also be caused by the use of products and discarded unneeded products. In Japan, various cases of serious pollution harming human health began emerging in the second half of the 1900s due to the country’s industrialization and economic development, which dramatically increased the amounts of waste materials and toxic substances contaminating the atmosphere, aquatic areas, soil, and underground water. Environmental pollution, once it occurs, poses serious impact to the local communities and biodiversity, which can only be restored to their original state ‒ if it is possible to do so at all ‒ with enormous time and cost. At Shionogi, we are fully aware that pollution prevention continues to be an essential social challenge today, as we endeavor to protect and enhance people’s health and the daily environment.

At Shionogi, we consider legal compliance as one of the values that are essential for achieving our vision. Compliance with EHS-related laws and regulations is an integral part of our EHS policy. Our EHS management system provides a framework in which we ensure strict compliance with laws and regulations relating to air, water and soil pollution while assessing the status of compliance and implementing measures for effective pollution prevention. For example, Shionogi has long been making an effort to reduce pollution risk by operating in-house wastewater treatment facilities and conducting periodic monitoring.

Prevention of air, water and soil pollution

To prevent air pollution, Shionogi strictly observes the regulatory values for NOx, SOx, and particulate matter while reducing SOx generation through boiler fuel conversion. To prevent contamination in sewers and rivers, we maintain voluntary control values for pollutants that are stricter than the legal and regulatory values, carrying out round-the-clock monitoring with the use of TOC*1 meters and oil content monitoring devices. At the Kanegasaki Plant, the Tokushima Plant, and the Aburahi Research Center, where wastewater is released into rivers from operating sites, wastewater is treated and purified at the facilities on their premises before it is released into nearby rivers.

The Kanegasaki Plant, which handles large quantities of chemicals, maintains voluntary control values for soil, taking measurements periodically. The measurements have constantly been below the applicable environmental criteria.

*1 TOC : Total Organic Carbon

Trend to air pollutant (SOx and NOx) emissions and drainage load (BOD, COD)

Compliance with related laws and regulations

Environment-related laws and regulations vary, encompassing a wide spectrum, from waste and energy management to the prevention of air and water pollution and the management of chemical substances. To ensure thorough compliance, we share information on legal and regulatory revisions at the respective operating sites, organize educational programs, and compile relevant information and knowledge in manuals. We also conduct a periodic assessment of the status of legal and regulatory compliance. As with environmental matters, we also promote legal and regulatory compliance and assessment with regard to health and safety affairs.

To date, we have never been subject to litigation or penalties f or EHS-related violations.

In January 2021, it was found that the Tokushima Plant had not submitted an application for permission to install a specific facility under the Act on Special Measures concerning Conservation of the Environment of the Seto Inland Sea. Following the guidance of the Tokushima City Government, we submitted a permit application and a written explanation and took preventive measures.

Number of incidents of excess emissions (exceeding legal restrictions) (Cases)
FY 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Shionogi 0 1 0 0 0
Group companies 0 0 0 0 0
Number of complaints relating to the environment (Cases)
FY 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Shionogi 1 2 1 0 0
Group companies 0 0 0 0 0

Leakage of dichloromethane on the premises of the Kanegasaki Plant

In January 2021, at the Kanegasaki Plant, approximately 17 kL of dichloromethane, a solvent, leaked from an outdoor storage tank onto the premises.

The cause was that snow on the top of the tank fell as a lump of ice and pushed down the handle of the discharge valve connected to the bottom of the tank, causing the valve to open halfway. Immediately after the leakage accident, we made an emergency response to the tank from which dichloromethane was leaking, reported the accident to Iwate Prefecture and Kanegasaki Town, and held a briefing session for the surrounding community.

Currently, we are working with specialists to blockade this area and collect leaked dichloromethane while preventing it from spreading to the surrounding area, and to date no leaks have been confirmed outside the factory premises. For the risk of leakage to outside the premises, we are continuously monitoring the status of soil at observation points underground and are carrying out appropriate monitoring activities.

To prevent recurrence, we have taken structural measures to prevent the discharge valve from opening even if a block of ice falls in the same way. We are also identifying other related factors and taking measures to address them. We are applying these measures to other manufacturing processes and plants to prevent similar accidents from occurring in other areas.

We sincerely apologize for any distress this may have caused not only residents in the vicinity of the plant but also everyone involved.