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Eliminating Hazardous Substances and Preventing Pollution

Reinforcing Systems for Proactively Managing Chemical Substances to Further Stricter Regulations

The lens cleaning process at the Utsunomiya Plant of Canon Inc. Efforts are being made to minimize the use of chemicals by reusing cleaning liquids.The lens cleaning process at the Utsunomiya Plant of Canon Inc. Efforts are being made to minimize the use of chemicals by reusing cleaning liquids.

Issues and Approach

Today, air, water, and soil pollution caused by chemical substances have become global social issues. Out of concern for public health and safety, laws and regulations to reduce the environmental impacts of chemical substances are being developed and tightened. One example is the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) adopted at the first International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM), which was attended by government organizations from 103 countries and regions. This action plan for sound management of chemicals worldwide by 2020 involves measures to support risk reduction, strengthening knowledge and information, strengthening of institutions, law and policy, enhancing capacity building, addressing illegal traffic, and improved general practices.
Canon uses chemical substances throughout the product manufacturing process, and in the products themselves. Canon therefore works proactively to not only ensure thorough compliance with current regulations but also to get ahead of tightening restrictions governing the management of chemical substances. Canon takes various measures to eliminate the hazardous substances contained in products and used during the production process. Such measures include finding alternative substances, reducing usage and emissions, and pursuing possibilities for rendering these substances harmless. Canon has also established Green Procurement Standards and stepped up efforts to manage chemical substances throughout the entire supply chain.

History of International Regulation Tightening for Chemical Substances
1992 Agenda 21 adopted at the Earth Summit
2002 Johannesburg Plan of Implementation developed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development
2003 Rotterdam Convention (regulation on the export of hazardous chemical substances) takes effect
2004 Stockholm Convention (regulation on persistent organic pollutants) takes effect
2006 SAICM adopted at the 1st ICCM
EU RoHS Directive*1 (directive on the restriction of the use of hazardous substances) is implemented
2007 EU REACH Regulation*2 (regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemical substances) is implemented
2009 Japan's Revised Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc. (Chemical Substances Control Law) is promulgated
Basic principles for the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the United States are announced
  • *1RoHS Directive: Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The directive is contained in the laws of all EU member states.
  • *2REACH Regulation: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. The regulation applies directly to all EU member states.

Case Study

Introduction of Integrated Chemical Management System and Thorough Management of Chemical Substances in the Manufacturing Process

While complying with chemical regulations expanding globally, most notably the EU RoHS Directive and REACH Regulation, Canon in 2011 implemented its own system of managing chemical substances in the development and procurement stages. Our Integrated Chemical Management System determines whether a chemical is acceptable for use in a part or product and tabulates information on the quantity of each chemical used and released during the manufacturing process. This system is linked to other systems to form a mechanism for preventing the purchase and use of prohibited substances. Currently, approximately 3,000 types of chemical substances may be used in our manufacturing processes are closely managed as either “A. Prohibited substances,” “B. Emission-reduction substances,” or “C. Regulated substances,” based on regulatory information from each of the countries and regions around the world where we operate.
Canon diligently manages the use of chemical substances in its manufacturing processes. For example, the Utsunomiya Plant of Canon Inc. is working to reduce the amount of chemical substances used in the lens cleaning process by using recycling systems to reuse certain cleaning liquids. At the same time, Canon is making its workplaces safer and tightening measures to prevent chemical leakages.

Wastewater filtration system at the Utsunomiya Plant of Canon Inc.Wastewater filtration system at the Utsunomiya Plant of Canon Inc.

CSR Activities