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Controlling Chemical Substances

Chemical substances have become an essential part of our lifestyles. On the other hand, to control the impact of chemical substances on humans and ecosystems, countries are strengthening laws and regulations related to their use and management.
The Kubota Group sees controlling chemical substances as one of its materiality issues, and has been advancing initiatives toward reducing the burden on the environment from chemical substances, including the reduction of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) generated in coating processes at production sites, as well as the replacement of fluorocarbons and the prevention of leakage.

Activities towards achieving SDGs

Related SDGs and targets
12.RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION,12.2,12.4,12.5,12.a,9.INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE,9.4,9.5,11.SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES,11.6,6.CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION,6.3,14.LIFE BELOW WATER,14.1,15.LIFE ON LAND,15.1
Major Activity Content
  • Reduction of chemical substance discharge volume, focusing on JIT and automation
  • Improvement of coating efficiency of coating materials, substitution with VOC-free materials
  • Thorough execution of appropriate emission gas and hazardous substance management, risk management, etc.
2025 Activity Targets (KPIs)
  • Medium-Term Environmental Conservation Targets 2025:
    • VOC emissions per unit of production at global production sites: 42% improvement compared to the base year 2014

Medium-Term Environmental Conservation Targets 2025 and the Results for FY2021

Action item Management indicator*2 Scope Base FY Target for FY2025*3 Result of FY2021*3

Achievement Status

Reduce VOCs*1 VOC emissions per unit of production Global production sites 2014 ▲42% ▲41.8% We are promoting the elimination or reduction of VOC-contained paint and thinner.
  • *1.VOCs (volatile organic compounds) comprise the six substances that are most prevalent in emissions from the Kubota Group: xylene, toluene, ethylbenzene, styrene, 1, 2, 4-trimethylbenzene, and 1, 3, 5-trimethylbenzene.
  • *2.The figures per unit of production represent the intensity of the environmental load per unit of money amount of production. The exchange rate of the base year is used when translating the money amount of production of overseas sites into Japanese yen.
  • *3.▲ indicates a negative figure.

Controlling and reduction of chemical substances in production sites

1. VOC Emissions

In FY2021, VOC emissions were 565 tons, an increase of 4.4% compared to the previous year. On the other hand, VOC emissions per unit of sales improved by 11.9%. VOC emissions decreased in FY2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They increased in FY2021 as production ramped up at machinery- and casting-related sites while new sites began full-scale operations, despite a decrease due to a wider use of water supply pipes using powder coating. VOC emissions per unit of sales improved as consolidated net sales increased (up 18.5% from the previous year) while the Group also took measures such as switching to coatings and solvents that have low VOC content and introducing treatment equipment.

  • Trends in VOC Emissions and Emissions per Unit of Sales

    1. *1.VOCs comprise the six substances that are most prevalent in emissions from the Kubota Group: xylene, toluene, ethylbenzene, styrene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene.
    2. *2.VOC emissions per unit of consolidated net sales. The Kubota Group adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) instead of accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America from FY2018.
    3. *3.Values for FY2015 were corrected to improve accuracy.

2. Measures to Reduce VOCs

The Kubota Group has established the Medium-Term Environmental Conservation Targets and is working to reduce the emissions of VOC at production sites. The Group has been promoting the risk management of the chemical substances we handle and the reduction of VOC-containing materials, such as paint and thinner at production sites. Additionally, by promoting the introduction of paint robots, the Group achieved not only a reduction in VOC, but also improved productivity.
In FY2021, we worked to switch to VOC-free paints and expand the use of VOC removal devices.
As a result of the efforts toward achieving the Medium-Term Environmental Conservation Targets 2025 for VOC reduction, global production sites achieved a reduction of 14 tons in FY2021 compared to the case where countermeasures were not implemented from the previous year.
The economic effects of these measures reached 63 million yen compared to the previous year. VOC emissions per unit of production in FY2021 improved by 41.8% compared to the base year (FY2014).
We will continue to promote the reduction of VOC emissions by introducing exhaust treatment equipment that is conscious of compliance with laws and the reduction of impacts on neighborhoods, in addition to the efforts to stop the use of VOC-containing paint and thinner or replace them with substitutes.

  • Kubota Construction Machinery (WUXI) Co., Ltd. (China) has increased quality and productivity while reducing revision of painting work by introducing painting robots. This has led to a reduction in the amount of paint used, and the amount of VOC emissions.

  • VOC Emissions by Region

  • VOC Emissions by Business

  • VOC Emissions by Substance

    • Japan

    • Overseas

3. Release and Transfer of PRTR-designated Substances

In FY2021, a total of 597 tons of substances stipulated in the PRTR Law* were released and transferred, an increase of 8.7% compared to the previous year. Additionally, the release and transfer per unit of sales improved by 8.3% compared to the previous year. Similar to reduction of VOC emissions, the Group is promoting the ongoing measures to reduce the PRTR-designated substances.

  • Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof
  • Trends in Release and Transfer of PRTR-designated Substances, and Release and Transfer per Unit of Sales (Japan)

    1. *1.Total amount of reported substances that are handled at each site (annual volume of 1 ton or more (or 0.5 tons for Specific Class I designations))
    2. *2.Release and transfer of PRTR-designated substances per unit of consolidated net sales. The Kubota Group adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) instead of accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America from FY2018.

Control of Ozone-depleting Substances

The Kubota Group prohibits specified CFCs, which are ozone-depleting substances, from being contained in products or added*1 in manufacturing processes of products. In Japan, replacement of materials containing dichloropentafluoropropane with substitute materials was completed during FY2016, and no ozone-depleting substances subject to notification under the PRTR Law*2 are handled and released at present.
In Japan, CFCs that are used in air-conditioners and refrigerating or freezing equipment as refrigerant, are thoroughly managed to control leakage, in accordance with the standards specified by the Fluorocarbons Emission Control Law.*3However, in FY2020, there was an instance in which specified fluorocarbon gas used in the external unit of an air-conditioner was released into the atmosphere. The Group took measures to prevent a recurrence and has been working to control emissions of fluorocarbons.

  1. *1.For HCFC, intentional adding in products as refrigerant or heat insulator is prohibited.
  2. *2.Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements in the Management Thereof
  3. *3.Act on the Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons

Control of Air Pollutants

The Kubota Group has set its own control values that are stricter than the emission standards of relevant laws and regulations. In order not to allow the exceeding of standard values, the Group implements thorough daily management activities, such as monitoring operation of the smoke and soot-generating facilities and inspecting the dust-collecting equipment.
The amounts of emissions of air pollutants in FY2021 were 2.9* tons for SOx (decreased by 63.8% from the previous year), 56.1 tons for NOx (increased by 10.4%), and 19.2 tons for soot and dust (increased by 17.8%). We will continue to reduce emissions of air pollutants through initiatives such as controlling sources by fuel conversion and maintaining dust-collecting equipment.

  • At a site in Japan, sulfur emissions are calculated, not from actual measurements of exhaust gas conc entrations and amounts, but by making estimates based on the sulfur weights of raw materials, materials produced, and waste.(Atmospheric emissions = coal input - iron produced - waste slag - waste dust)If sulfur contained in the slag managed onsite at end of FY2021 (December 31, 2021) by these sites were included, SOx emissions for FY2021 amounted to 5.0 tons.

Monitoring Groundwater

Results of groundwater measurements conducted on the premises of the business sites that used organic chlorine-based compounds in the past are as shown below.

Groundwater monitoring (FY2021)
Business site Substance Measured groundwater value Environmental standard
Tsukuba Plant Trichloroethylene Non-detected (less than 0.0001 mg/L) Less than 0.01 mg/L
Utsunomiya Plant Trichloroethylene Non-detected (less than 0.001mg/L) Less than 0.01 mg/L

Reduction of Chemical Substances Contained in Products

The Kubota Group has set rules for identifying and properly managing chemical substances in products in order to comply with REACH Regulations* in Europe and other chemical substance regulations.
Since 2010, chemical substances in products have been classified as one of the three following categories and managed appropriately. With cooperation from our suppliers, we investigate chemical substances in products on a global basis.

  • The European Union (EU) Regulations for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals

- Three Control Levels -

  1. Substances to be Prohibited: Should not be contained in products
  2. Substances to be Restricted: Should not be contained in products under certain conditions and applications
  3. Substances to be Controlled: Presence in products should be recognized