Water Wisdom from a Climate A-Lister
Last fall, CDP, a global disclosure system for companies and cities to manage their environmental impacts, presented Mitsubishi Electric Corporation with top "A List" rankings for climate- and water-management practices in its supply chain program.
Last fall, CDP, a global disclosure system for companies and cities to manage their environmental impacts, presented Mitsubishi Electric Corporation with top “A List” rankings for climate- and water-management practices in its supply chain program. Mr. Katsumi Fujisaki, a senior group manager with Mitsubishi Electric, leads the planning of the company’s environmental initiatives and disclosing of the company’s environmental report. We spoke with him to learn more about the company’s efforts to mitigate climate change and protect water resources.
INDUSTRIAL WATERWORLD: Mitsubishi Electric has been recognized by CDP for its climate- and water-management practices within its supply chain program. Can you describe some of the company’s initiatives and processes related to water management, specifically?
KATSUMI FUJISAKI: Mitsubishi Electric encourages its factories and branches to obtain ISO 14001 and to operate environmental management systems (EMS), such as continual improvement on energy-saving and efficient use of resources, including water. The company also collects its factories’ environmental data, such as water consumption, CO2 emissions and waste generation, by using its own data management system.
IWW:What were some of the major drivers that motivated Mitsubishi Electric to address water management in its supply chain?
KF: Mitsubishi Electric has been asking its suppliers for green procurement, while being aware of regulatory frameworks such as European environmental laws. It also encourages its suppliers to obtain ISO 14001 and to practice EMS activities at the local level, in addition to managing chemicals, which are related directly to products’ parts and materials. Water management is also included within these activities.
IWW:Mitsubishi Electric is a very big company. How do you communicate your water-conservation efforts across sites?
KF: The company collects data on the amount of water consumption, water discharges and water recycling at its production sites worldwide. Some of the excellent water-saving and recycling cases are shared among its sites.
IWW:Did you encounter any obstacles or challenges while rolling out your water management vision? If so, how did you overcome them?
KF: Not yet. The company will determine medium- to long-term measurement plans on water management in the near future.
IWW:Was it difficult to secure buy-in from staff within your supply chain? If so, how did you motivate them to help you reach your goals?
KF: Mitsubishi Electric does not force its suppliers to be involved to avoid affecting their business operation. It focuses, rather, on helping them understand the importance of responding to social demand.
IWW:In your opinion, why is it important to be conscious about water usage?
KF: Considering the possible fluctuation of water balance due to climate change and water shortages resulting from future population growth, the company thinks that it will be required to conduct business activities with as little water as possible.
IWW:Are you planning additional water management initiatives in the future?
KF: One of the company’s next steps is to keep the water recycling rate in its factories at or above a certain level.
IWW:What advice would you give to other companies considering a water management plan? Can you share any lessons learned?
KF: The company has not reached a satisfactory level to give advice to other companies. The company still has to focus on learning from others to achieve a higher level of water management.