Promoting Environmentally Conscious Design
Introducing Methodologies for Environmentally Conscious Designs that Consider Product Lifecycles
We have established a target to improve the CO2 emission index throughout the lifecycle as part of the Canon Group Mid-Term Environmental Goals. These mid-term goals are also further broken down by product group operations and product.
To achieve these goals, Canon has built the LCA Development Management System, which can manage the entire process in an integrated fashion, from product development to information disclosures. Using this system, we are pursuing environmentally conscious designs that take into account the entire lifecycle, including energy-efficient products that consume less energy during use and resource-efficient products that are lighter and more compact or feature easy-to-recycle designs.
Promotion of Smaller, Lighter Products
Canon aims to make its products among the smallest and lightest in each product category. To improve functionality and usability while requiring fewer resources, our focus on reducing size and weight begins from the development stage. Canon is extending this approach not only to cameras, but also to business machines, LCD exposure systems, and medical equipments, overcoming issues related to design and expansion of functions.
The DR-M1060 A3 document scanner is now more efficient as a result of such features as duplex scanning. At the same time, the scanner is approximately 53% smaller in size than the previous model and weighs approximately 40% less thanks to the use of plastics in its housing frame, a smaller paper supply tray size and shortened paper feed track.
Canon's approach to product creation is comprehensive, covering all stages of the product lifecycle, from development and planning to collection and recycling. We consider achievement of the 65% reuse and recycling and 75% recovery rates*1 set by the EU WEEE Directive*2 to be indispensable when developing products. Additionally, in order to comply with the directive's requirements on facilitation of dismantling*3, we also pursue easy-disassembly designs.
Canon published the Environmentally Conscious Design Guidance in 1998 as a set of guidelines on product development that summarizes the necessary design technologies for effectively promoting environmentally conscious product development and manufacturing. The guide is made available to all Canon employees through the company's intranet and utilized from product planning to development and design. It is revised every few years, and in 2014 it added provisions on strengthening compliance with the EPEAT® eco-label system in the United States.
In 2015, we plan on adding provisions to boost our response to the increased recycling rate targets initiated due to changes made to the EU's WEEE Directive.
In response to the ongoing developments in environmental law and eco-label requirements, we are expanding training related to recycle design. It is vitally important that not only environmental control staff but also employees in all departments, including those in product design, understand the importance of environmental compliance. Since 2013, we have been offering a course on product and environmental assurance for developers and designers as part of our in-house web-based training programs.
- *1Reuse and recycling and recovery rates apply to products falling under WEEE Directive Category 3 (IT and Telecommunications Equipment) and Category 4 (Consumer Equipment).
- *2Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
This EU directive requires manufacturers to recover or recycle devices after use to prevent environmental pollution caused by waste electrical and electronic equipment.
- *3Facilitation of dismantling
Ease of breaking down main products into their constituent parts as designated by the WEEE Directive for the disassembly process.
Using Low Environmental Impact Materials
In addition to environmentally conscious product design aimed at curbing CO2 emissions and resource consumption, Canon also uses low environmental impact materials in products.
Use of Bio-Based Plastics in Products
In 2008, Canon Inc., in partnership with Toray Industries, Inc., succeeded in developing a bio-based plastic with the world's highest level of flame resistance.
In 2009, we started to employ bio-based plastics in the exterior parts of office multifunction devices, which require a high degree of flame resistance. Since then, we have gradually expanded their use to include operational switches that users make frequent physical contact with and parts used in commercial printers, the largest product in the industry to use biomass plastics. We believe the use of bio-based plastics will help us not only reduce CO2 emissions from production but, by deploying bio-based plastics and other components that users make direct physical contact with, also provide an invaluable opportunity to raise environmental awareness among users.
Going forward, we will continue to actively examine the use of biomass plastics and other low environmental impact materials.
Bio-Based Plastic Material Cycle