Water is essential for human activity, circulating around the planet while changing to and from solid, liquid and gaseous states. 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, and of that amount, 97.5% is salt water. The remaining 2.5% is fresh water which supports human activity, including business activities. However, about three-quarters of that remaining fresh water exists in a frozen state such as within glaciers. Therefore, the amount of freshwater that is actually available for human use accounts for not even 1% of the Earth’s total amount of water. Under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world is striving to secure access to safe drinking water for all people, and through business activities and other economic initiatives, each country is also working to achieve more prosperous livelihoods, including access to water. Since economic scale and water consumption are closely correlated, companies must use water, one of the Earth’s precious natural resources, in an efficient and appropriate manner while also aiming to solve challenges related to water issues through their businesses.
MC has clarified its intention to promote the “sustainable use of natural resources including water” in its Environmental Charter, which was first established in 1996 and later revised in 2017. The MC Group, which engages in a wide range of businesses worldwide, recognizes water as an essential element for its business activities and places critical importance on the sustainable use of water in all of its operations. In particular, MC identifies relevant risks and opportunities in a timely manner and, with the goal of achieving the sustainable use of water, establishes appropriate water consumption, recycling and reuse rates throughout its operations and makes efforts to improve use efficiency and reduce consumption. Furthermore, MC will contribute to the resolution of global water issues by establishing water infrastructure businesses and developing comprehensive water operations that contribute to solving water issues.
Aiming to reduce the consumption of limited water resources, for the fiscal year ended March 2022, MC has set a target to reduce water consumption at its Head Office compared to the consumption in the previous year. MC also conducts a sustainability survey which aims to track the withdrawals, discharges and recycling of water for the total operations of its portfolio investment companies. In addition to achieving a 100% response rate for this survey, MC is conducting an analysis of individual increases and decreases of the various surveyed items.
|Officer in Charge||Akira Murakoshi (Member of the Board, Executive Vice President, Corporate Functional Officer, CDO, CAO, Corporate Communications, Corporate Sustainability & CSR)|
(A subcommittee under the Executive Committee, a management decision making body)
|Sustainability & CSR Committee
Important matters related to water resources deliberated by the Sustainability & CSR Committee are formally approved by the Executive Committee and put forward or reported to the Board of Directors based on prescribed standards.
|Department in Charge||Corporate Sustainability & CSR Dept.|
When reviewing and making decisions on loan and investment proposals, MC conducts a comprehensive screening process which considers not only economic aspects, but ESG factors as well. From a water resources perspective, MC has set up a screening process for decision-making that first confirms compliance with environmental regulations related to such factors as water discharge and withdrawals (confirmation of regulatory risks), as well as the impact of water withdrawals on surrounding communities and local society, and the impact of climate change on the fresh water environment (confirmation of physical risks). For this screening process, particularly for businesses in areas considered to have high levels of water stress, MC utilizes the World Resource Institute (WRI) ’s Aqueduct tool in order to incorporate external perspectives. Besides screening new investment and exit proposals, MC also strives to make improvements to existing business investments by monitoring their management practices.
MC is involved in the copper mining business in countries such as Chile and Peru. Since copper mining requires large amounts of water, MC encourages the introduction of technologies to maximize the water efficiency of each mine’s operational processes and takes measures to reduce new water withdrawals. The Los Bronces copper mine project (located in Chile’s capital province), in which MC invests together with Anglo American, achieved a water recycling rate of 78% in 2019 through measures such as extracting and recycling water from tailings.
One of MC’s major investments is the Escondida Copper Mine. This mine is located in the desert region of northern Chile, and boasts the largest production volume in the world. Water consumption is reduced in the process of mine selection and so forth through water-saving and reuse, among other means. Moreover, the construction of a desalination plant with one of the largest processing and pumping capacities in the world, at a cost of approximately US$4 billion to date, has helped to eliminate reliance on subterranean aquifers as of the end of 2019. Going forward, we will continue to promote environmental protection and coexistence with local communities.
Toyo Reizo Co., Ltd., one of MC’s consolidated subsidiaries, has declared in its environmental policy that it will reduce the amount of water resources to be used in its production processes and will take preventative measures against the discharge of pollutants. It has also set targets to reduce water consumption on both a single fiscal year and mid-term basis, and engages in reduction activities. In particular, MC aims to reduce its environmental impact by saving water. To achieve this, it calculates consumption and discharge amounts in plants and related facilities with high water consumption for monthly assessment and review. In addition to these efforts to reduce water consumption, MC has also set targets for the reduction of CO2 and waste discharge and for the implementation rate of food waste recycling, etc. while seeking continual improvements though a PDCA cycle.
Reference:Environmental report (see here for targets, data and initiatives)
MC affiliate Olam International Limited committed in 2013 to reduce water consumption across its agricultural and manufacturing activities. As a specific example, a program in the US that produces onions with higher solid content and lower water content, combined with a focus on optimizing irrigation in collaboration with the growers, has achieved quantified savings of 27 billion liters of water consumption over the past decade. Recognizing the depletion of groundwater due to excessive pumping of water for agriculture and irrigation as a problem, in 2019, Olam's nut business in the US formed a partnership with the California Water Districts to replenish 1.2 billion liters of groundwater through three projects, and it is also pursuing initiatives such as maximizing the amount of water replenished during snowmelt.
MC is delivering seawater desalination projects in drought regions of the world such as Atacama Desert in Chile and the State of Qatar in the Middle East which contribute to the alleviation of water stress in those regions. Northern Chile is facing serious depletion of groundwater, and alternative water sources are required in consideration of local communities and the agricultural industry. MC provides a stable supply of desalted water to mines and farmlands in the region on the basis of a BOO (Build-Own-Operate) contract. In Qatar, MC is delivering an Independent Water and Power Project that supplies 2,520,000 kWh of electricity and 620,000 tons per day of water (which comprises 25% of Qatar’s desalination capacity) to Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation over 25 years. MC is delivering the Project in cooperation with the Qatari government to fulfill growing demand for water associated with economic development and population growth and to contribute to the long-term development of the country.
エジプトAl Yosr 海水淡水化施設
As living standards improve, global water consumption has increased dramatically, outpacing the rate of population growth and exacerbating water shortages in some regions. Water utilities, which provide a stable supply of sanitary water, have become indispensable for the survival of humanity and the viability of cities. MC is contributing to addressing various challenges pertaining to water resources throughout the world by developing water-related infrastructure and addressing local water issues.
MC affiliate South Staffordshire Plc is a water company that supplies water to approximately 1.7 million people in the UK, as well as providing technical and retail services to other water, electricity and gas companies in a wide range of business areas. As part of MC’s efforts to conserve water resources as well as to support regional measures to address flooding, South Staffordshire Plc is collaborating with Cambridge University to install the UK’s largest rainwater recycling system in a newly developed area in the Cambridge region. It is responsible for the design, construction and operation of the system.
MC affiliate Metito Holdings Limited is an integrated water engineering company that is engaged in a wide range of activities, from the construction of water and wastewater treatment plants and seawater desalination plants to business investment and operation, mainly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. MC provides water-related solutions optimized for each different region to address water shortages and underdevelopment of water infrastructure with the aim of improving people’s living conditions and protecting the local environment. Specifically, Metito has been managing long-term desalination projects in Egypt since 1999 to supply water to drought regions along the Red Sea coast. In addition, it has built a large-scale desalination facility for the Egyptian government, contributing to the improvement of the region’s water infrastructure. Metito has also been constructing desalination plants in water-scarce Qatar, contributing to the stable supply of drinking water to the region through the long-term management of those facilities.
MC affiliate Swing Corporation is engaged in the domestic waterworks business, including the design and construction of water and sewage facilities and the provision of operation and maintenance services. Specifically, MC is engaged in phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge for fertilizer use at the Higashinada Sewage Treatment Plant in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. It promotes resource recovery through local production for local consumption and recycling (In the fiscal year ended March 2021, the project won the innovation category of wastewater recycling award sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism). Swing Corporation developed a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project in the city of Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture to establish a facility for the beneficial reuse of sewage biomass and has assumed responsibility for everything from financing to design, construction, maintenance and operation. The sewage sludge is mixed with coffee residue to extract biogas, which is used for power generation and sludge drying, and the dried sludge can be used effectively as an alternative to coal and as a raw material for fertilizer (In the fiscal year ended March 2012, the project won the sustainability category of wastewater recycling award sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism).
MC has built up experience in the water business in the UK, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Chile and other countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. By drawing on private-sector funds and technology, we will continue to improve efficiency and offer higher-quality water services. We will also provide water-related solutions optimized for each different region to address water shortages and underdevelopment of water infrastructure with the aim of improving people’s living conditions and protecting the local environment.
MC actively disseminates information about its ESG-related initiatives to its various stakeholders around the world. MC engages with CDP, an NGO holding the world’s largest database of corporate disclosures on climate change initiatives, and since the year ended March 2012, MC has responded the CDP Water questionnaire, which evaluates corporate water management.
MC participates in the Water Project＊, a public-private initiative which promotes initiatives aimed at preserving or restoring healthy water cycles. MC shares information with other companies on water risks and water-related initiatives, and considers how to pursue such initiatives internally.
＊ The project was launched based on the Basic Act on Water Cycles in 2014. The Water Project was founded to build a public-private collaboration platform and to promote initiatives and self-motivated approaches from private sector companies aimed at achieving sound water cycles and water environment preservation.
MC is promoting activities, both through business and corporate philanthropy initiatives, to maintain and restore sound water cycles. MC also disseminates information about its initiatives and the importance of water through internal and external communication.
MC supports a wide range of initiatives focusing on environmental and sustainable development in Europe and Africa through the Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa (MCFEA) (Since 1992, more than GBP5.1 million have been funded). The MCFEA delivers support through various partner organizations including the Earthwatch Institute, Rainforest Alliance, Acumen Academy and Springboard. One of these partners is the NGO WaterAid, which provides safe water and sanitation to people in dire need around the world in order to help greatly improve their health and quality of life.
|Non-consolidated:||42||38||25⋆||Mitsubishi Shoji Building, Marunouchi Park Building and certain other offices in Tokyo|
|Consolidated:||(Components are as follows)||97,060||95,268||93,058||Non-consolidated and main domestic subsidiaries|
|Industrial water, water supply:||24,841||24,814||25,402|
|2019.3 results||2020.3 results||2021.3 results||Note|
|Water Note withdrawal||Recycling volume||Recycling rate||Water Note withdrawal||Recycling volume||Recycling rate||Water Note withdrawal||Recycling volume||Recycling rate|
|Non-consolidated:||42||-||-||38||-||-||25⋆||-||-||Mitsubishi Shoji Building, Marunouchi Park Building and certain other offices in Tokyo|
|Consolidated:||97,060||9,568||10％||95,268||1,375||1％||93,058||790||1%||Non-consolidated and domestic subsidiaries|
＊ Ratio of recycling volume to the total of amount of water withdrawal and recycling volume.
ESG Data marked with a star (⋆) for the year ended March 2021 has received independent practitioner’s assurance from Deloitte Tohmatsu Sustainability Co., Ltd.