In order to promote environmental assurance activities efficiently and effectively in response to the numerous environmental issues that companies face today, companies must first understand the characteristics of their own business activities and their impact on the environment. They then need to clarify priority initiatives, taking into account both risks and opportunities. Canon identifies materiality (priority issues) through the materiality analysis described below.
Taking the global trends into account, Canon organized the environmental aspects of its business activities in relation to global environmental issues.
Priority was assigned to these environmental aspects from two perspectives, namely, the relative interests of stakeholders and the relative impact on Canon’s business activities. To determine the relative interests of stakeholders, we conducted a global survey on items that are of importance to stakeholders in terms of the environment. And, to ascertain the relative impact on Canon’s business activities, we evaluated the risks and opportunities expected to accompany each of these environmental aspects, and ranked them by priority.
Through the survey, we discovered that stakeholders place particularly high importance on the environmental aspects of Canon that relate to global warming and resource depletion, including energy-saving products, curtailing energy use, and reducing the use of raw materials.
We recognize that these aspects also have a major impact on our business activities, including the competitiveness and cost of our products, and have therefore given them the utmost priority. Also, we recognize that curtailing waste and emissions into the air and water from our operational sites is important for the surrounding local communities, and for this reason, we have established emissions standards and improvement goals, which we are progressively working to achieve.
Furthermore, the aspects of managing the chemicals contained in products as well as waste and emissions released into the air and water from operational sites are also important due to their potential connection to health hazards and environmental pollution. Following the global trend to strengthen regulations on chemical substances, we recognize our responsibility as a corporation to comply with these regulations, and expect that this will greatly impact our business activities.
As for biodiversity conservation, while the relative interest of stakeholders is not as high, there are elements that are directly and indirectly related to various aspects of our business. So we consider this an important issue to address.
Through this analysis, we have established four areas of materiality that will guide the advancement of our environmental activities. These are (1) contributing to a low-carbon society; (2) contributing to a circular economy; (3) eliminating hazardous substances and preventing pollution; and (4) contributing to a society in harmony with nature.
The risks and opportunities in each environmental aspect of Canon’s business activities are as follows.
Risks related to climate change include stricter regulations on energy efficiency and rising investment costs of energy efficiency to keep pace with these regulations. Meanwhile, opportunities include increased awareness of the energy consumption of products, which leads to more people choosing to purchase energy-efficient products, as well as the growing trend of making factories more energy efficient, which leads to lower factory costs.
Risks related to resource efficiency and water resources include rising costs of parts and material procurement caused by soaring prices for resources and the impact of natural disasters and extreme weather resulting from climate change on the stable procurement of water. At the same time, recycling-conscious product design and the development of recycling technologies lower our dependence on natural resources and reduce waste while also providing the opportunity for stable resource procurement and reduced operating costs.
Risks related to chemical substances include the cessation of product shipments due to non-compliance with regulations as well as the rising risk of contamination from prohibited chemicals somewhere in the supply chain. On the other hand, some of the opportunities are maintaining product competitiveness by providing peace of mind and safety, a positive impact on brand value, and lower management costs, including in the supply chain.
Opportunities in biodiversity include the utilization of our products and technologies in biodiversity conservation efforts as well as the positive effects on our brand image resulting from initiatives at our production sites and our contributions to a society in harmony with nature.