Legal Compliance and Pollution Prevention
Summary for 2020
Twenty-eight environmental laws and regulations are currently applicable to the KOKUYO Group within Japan. In June every year, we evaluate the status of our compliance with these laws and regulations. The 2020 evaluation revealed that some of timber products might be noncompliant with the Act on Promoting Green Procurement, as a result of discrepancies in interpreting the requirements in that law. We regard this result as indicative of the tightening of the criteria for timber legality. No other products were found to be in violation of the requirements.
Compliance with Air Pollution Control Act: Dealing with asbestos
The revised Air Pollution Control Act, in effect from April 2021, has toughened the regulations on preventing the release of asbestos fibers. Accordingly, we make sure that all managers responsible for safety and engineering in buildings are aware of and comply with the regulations. At the construction project conferences, the above managers are informed about the hazards of asbestos and the time periods when asbestos was used in buildings. Attendees at these conferences are also instructed to check for asbestos before starting any construction or repair work and to report back the results. Mindful that such checks are likely to uncover many more cases of asbestos in older premises, we will use construction project conferences to prevent asbestos dispersal and exposure.
Because of the coronavirus, this seminar was held online
Handling chemical substances
We make all efforts to ensure proper management and handling of chemical substances.
In June 2016, Japan tightened the legislation on chemical substances, introducing mandatory chemical risk assessments. We comply with the requirements and take steps to ensure chemical safety in the workplace. At Shibayama Plant, paints and other hazardous chemical products come with a safety data sheet (SDS) to inform the people who will handle the chemical about the chemical’s hazards and the relevant requirements. As a further safety precaution, the chemical products have labels with a color coded sections that visually communicate the hazards (blue, red, and yellow). Other workplaces use similar measures.
Promoting the Management of Chemical Substances Included in Products
We recognize that every supplier has a moral responsibility not only to avoid the use of prohibited substances but also to handle hazardous substances (substances that could harm the environment or health) safely and to communicate the hazard information. We also recognize that there has been a clear global shift in the regulation of chemical substances. Specifically, countries around the world are moving from the traditional hazard-based approach, which focuses on the inherent properties of a chemical substance that make it potentially hazardous, to a more scientific risk-based approach, which focuses instead on the circumstances in which these potential hazards may cause harm. We, too, have shifted toward risk-based assessments over the past several years. In 2014, we listed up the hazards in the chemical substances we use. Referring to this list, we started examining the risks of the substances in 2015 on a priority basis. In 2017, we released our findings on the hazards and exposure risks in a report titled Guidelines for Managing Chemical Substances Included in Product (Stationery Edition). In 2018, we organized in-house training courses on chemical substance management to tighten compliance with chemical management regulations. In 2020, we started preparations to update the guidelines to incorporate more risk information ahead of a revision to Japan’s chemical management regulations. We will continue to fulfill our responsibility to comply with chemical substance regulations and communicate chemical information.