Our commitment to protect the environment starts with our manufacturing environment. All of our plants in Japan, in the U.S. (Salem, VA) and worldwide, are ISO 14001, which is an international specification of environmental management system that holds organizations to stringent environmental principles and audits. In fact, the Salem plant was recognized in December 2010 as an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4) in the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP). Among the 450 participants in VEEP, only about thirty have qualified as E4 members - the highest tier.
From a manufacturing standpoint, we aim to improve in the following five areas:
- Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions
- Efficient use of resources
- Reduction of waste
- Appropriate management of substances of concern (SOCs)
- Appropriate management of PCBs
For each of the above-mentioned items, here are the results from 2009 and 2010.
- Yokohama has achieved an 8 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, exceeding targets set by the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
- Reduced the usage of electricity in production by 21.1% and 12%, respectively, compared to the baseline year (1990).
- Continued the result of operating zero-emission plants in Japan. Achieved 100% recycling rates in eight Japanese plants.
- Achieved 36% reduction of waste versus 1996 levels.
- Installed and continued strict management protocols.
Additionally, Yokohama has piloted the usage of solar power recently. Yokohama recently installed a photovoltaic power generation system - solar power - at the Research and Development Integrated Center (RADIC) at its Hiratsuka Factory with diverse product lines. One hundred twenty 87-watt panels in a space of approximately 90 square meters will supply about 8,000 kWh of electricity annually, cutting CO2 emissions by about three tons per year. The new system is to be operational from Thursday, December 23. The Hiratsuka Factory has employed photovoltaic and wind-powered generation since 2009, though on a smaller scale.
In addition to implementing strict environmental procedures and practices at our manufacturing plants, Yokohama launched in 2007 a global initiative called Forever Forest. Forever Forest aims to plant approximately 500,000 trees around its factories worldwide by its centennial anniversary to help combat global warming. Trees that are planted around Yokohama's facilities help absorb carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere (CO2 traps heat from leaving earth).
To date, approximately 180,000 trees have been planted including at Yokohama's headquarters in California, at its Salem, VA plant and in countries such as Japan, China, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. The planted trees are expected to absorb around 3.6 million pounds of CO2 once mature (each tree is expected to absorb between 12-25 pounds of carbon dioxide).
Yokohama's Forever Forest initiative is guided by Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a world-renowned ecologist and the recipient of the 2006 Blue Planet Award.