Management Approach

Environmental Management


The SMM Group handles a large number of chemical substances in its corporate activities. For that reason, we face the risk of exerting undesirable effects on the local environment in the event that an accident does occur. On the other hand, we believe that we can contribute to the resolution of social issues, such as climate change, through the supply of our material products.


We have positioned environmental conservation as one of our priority CSR areas and established an Environmental Preservation Subcommittee under the CSR Committee to further initiatives aimed at achieving the Group’s Vision for 2020. In FY2019, we formulated our Vision for 2030, which covers even further into our future.


Setting of SMM Group Environmental Targets

At the SMM Group, the president, in whom ultimate accountability resides, sets annual SMM Group Environmental Targets by taking into consideration environmental risks and opportunities for contribution. Acting on these targets, business sites and companies in each business division implement environmental management systems based on the ISO 14001 standard, with the Safety & Environment Control Department as the secretariat providing cooperation, support, and functional direction.

Operation of Environmental Management Systems

Under the SMM Group Environmental Targets, business sites and companies under each business division effectively operate environmental management systems and implement associated initiatives. For those systems, which form the basis of our environmental preservation and improvement activities, we have acquired ISO 14001 certification at our Head Office, branches, and all of the manufacturing sites and sites responsible for closed mines under the SMM Group. In addition, new manufacturing sites are required to promptly acquire that certification as well. Also, regarding risk management, we have linked our Group’s own risk management systems to our environmental management systems and are working to prevent significant environmental accidents.


Climate Change Measures

The SMM Group recognizes that measures in response to climate change are one of the highest-priority issues for corporations. As such, we are conducting initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More specifically, we are working toward reducing indirect GHG emissions by expanding our business in battery materials and other products contributing to a low carbon society, reducing energy consumption per unit based on the Japanese Energy Conservation Act, and reducing direct GHG emissions largely through the use of renewable energy. With respect to measures against climate change by the SMM Group, every year, we respond to the questionnaire on climate change issued by the CDP.
In February 2020, we became a supporter of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Also, in Vision for 2030, climate change is one of the 11 material issues we are working to resolve by 2030 and we have set KPIs accordingly (See Special Feature 1: Formulation of the SMM Groups Vision for 2030 on p. 27).

CDP (formerly : Carbon Disclosure Project)
NGO established in the UK in 2000 that operates a global information- disclosure system for managing environmental impact.

Prevention of Significant Environmental Accidents

Accumulation sites for the waste rock, tailing, and deposits produced by mines may cause major damage should they collapse. We evaluated the earthquake resistance of the 42 accumulation sites that the SMM Group manages in Japan, and since FY2014, we have been pushing forward with stabilization work for facilities judged to require countermeasures. In FY2018, we completed that stabilization work for all of the facilities that we scheduled it for. We will continue to manage these sites to ensure their stability.
Significant environmental accidents not only impact the environment, they also have a direct link to the lifestyles and interests of communities, and potentially cause us to lose the trust that forms the premise of our business continuity. Through means such as examining the environmental risk of new businesses and regularly revising the significant risks involved, methodically updating old equipment and bolstering our monitoring and emergency response efforts, we are endeavoring to prevent significant environmental accidents and alleviating their impact in the event that they occur.
Moreover, in FY2019, we experienced no significant spill accidents.

Overview of Initiatives

Main Initiatives FY2019 Achievements and Issues
Climate Change Measures We are reducing indirect GHG emissions by expanding our business in battery materials and other products contributing to a low carbon society, reducing energy consumption per unit of production based on the Japanese Energy Conservation Act, and reducing direct GHG emissions largely through the use of renewable energy. We have achieved the targets for climate change measures set in our Vision for 2020, including expanding our business in products contributing to a low carbon society. We will now move forward with initiatives for realizing our Vision for 2030. We have also declared our support for the TCFD. Information disclosure is moving forward.
Reduction of Environmental Impact We are working to reduce the environmental impact of our development efforts, operations, and product use in order to minimize any undesirable direct or indirect impact on biodiversity. We also carry out activities such as monitoring ecosystems and planting trees. Initiatives for controlling emissions, such as chemical substances, in line with our Vision for 2020 have proceeded as planned. Going forward we will further reduce hazardous chemical substance emissions volumes and continue with efforts such as greening activities.
Management of Chemical Substances When a business site intends to handle a new chemical, it conducts a preliminary study that covers hazard statements and other applicable information, and deliberates on safety in a meeting at the business site before deciding whether to adopt the handling of said chemical. We also provide customers with information on SMM Group products using safety data sheets (SDS), regardless of whether or not we are legally obligated to do so. We will continue to practice safe and reliable chemical substance management through our supply chain to ensure such substances are handled appropriately, as well as provide information on products.
Prevention of Significant Environmental Accidents We evaluated the earthquake resistance of accumulation sites at closed mines, and from FY2014, we carried out stabilization work for facilities judged to require countermeasures, which was completed in FY2018. We will continue to manage accumulation sites at closed mines to ensure their stability. Also, we will continue to reinforce and improve equipment and infrastructure to address increases in sources of natural risk.
Effective Use of Water Resources We implement various measures (water stewardship) that are considerate of the local communities and environment in the water areas that we use and that use the water responsibly and effectively. We implemented initiatives that prevented overdrawing by strengthening water management and encouraging reuse and recycling. We disclose information related to the Group’s water management through CDP’s Water Security questionnaire. Going forward, we will implement various measures to further streamline our use of water resources.
Enforcement of Compliance In addition to providing education on environmental laws, each year we hold seminars on laws and regulations for personnel in charge of the environment at business sites. We also gather information in a range of areas such as legal amendments, including those for overseas regulations covering areas like the REACH Regulation. We will continue to provide education, including through e-learning, on matters such as environmental laws and chemical substance management, as well as seminars on laws and regulations. We will also maintain the necessary knowledge and capabilities to ensure thorough compliance through the gathering and sharing of information on legal amendments.

REACH Regulation The Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. An EU regulation concerning
An EU regulation concerning the registration, evaluation, approval, and limiting of chemical substances.