Social Issues addressed by Sumitomo —Compass for the Future—

Sumitomo Osaka Cement × Decarbonization & Supply Chain

Recycling disaster waste to assist recovery of stricken areas

 Decarbonization
Among greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions implicated in global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a major culprit. Hence the importance of initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions in the drive to achieve net zero GHG emissions, i.e., carbon neutrality. In order to limit the global average temperature increase and achieve net zero GHG emissions in the second half of the 21st century, which are among the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Japanese government has set a target of a 26% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared with 2013. In October 2020, the then-prime minister declared that Japan intends to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In line with government policy, the Sumitomo Osaka Cement Group is taking on the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality in terms of CO2 emissions by 2050 and is doing everything possible to achieve that goal.
 Supply chain
A supply chain is the entire system for producing and delivering products and services from the sourcing of raw materials through to delivery to end-users. Since the weight accorded ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives in the assessment of corporate value is large and growing, companies are coming under increasing pressure to respond to various issues throughout their supply chains, which include their subsidiaries and affiliates as well as their suppliers of raw materials and other items. The issues related to supply chain are diverse. They include not only environmental impacts, such as emissions of CO2, discharge of sewage, emissions of harmful substances, destruction of forests, and pollution of the oceans, but also human rights and suppliers’ workplace environments, corporate governance, and so on. If a company fails to handle these supply chain issues appropriately and neglects information disclosure, its business will likely suffer. Through its supply chain, the Sumitomo Osaka Cement Group is pursuing various initiatives to contribute to the decarbonization of society.

Japan is prone to earthquakes and the incidence of extreme weather events, notably typhoons, seems to be increasing as a consequence of climate change. By proactively accepting and recycling waste generated by natural disasters, Sumitomo Osaka Cement is helping establish a circular economy that is highly beneficial to society.

In a country prone to natural disasters, swift disposal of the enormous quantities of waste generated by these events speeds recovery but poses a major challenge for the stricken areas. Eager to address this issue, the Sumitomo Osaka Cement Group accepts disaster waste at its five cement plants around Japan, recycling it as raw materials used in cement production and as a source of thermal energy for the production process.

Cement plants in Japan are notable for their minuscule emissions of waste during the production process. The cement producers operate their plants based on a policy of minimizing waste. To give some perspective: of the approximately 550 million tons of waste generated each year in Japan, the volume of landfill attributable to the cement industry is no more than 500 tons.

Disaster waste accepted by Sumitomo Osaka Cement includes roof tiles.
Ruined rice.
Ruined tatami mats.
From among the f ive cement plants, in principle, the plant closest to the disaster-stricken area accepts disaster waste. Depending on the quantities of waste, multiple plants may accept disaster waste.

A cement plant can be an asset for communities, particularly when a natural disaster occurs

As a matter of policy, Sumitomo Osaka Cement started proactively accepting disaster waste in 2011 when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. In principle, similar to general waste, disaster waste should be treated within the municipality where the waste is generated, such as by incineration at local waste incineration plants. Treatment of waste that cannot be treated within the municipality is outsourced. But the massive quantities of waste generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake dwarfed the waste treatment capacity of local governments in the stricken areas. Responding to the crisis, Sumitomo Osaka Cement accepted about 100,000 tons of disaster waste, consisting of rubble and other debris.

In subsequent years, the company established a track record of accepting disaster waste, including 8,000 tons of stockpiled rice and tatami mats ruined when the Kinugawa River overflowed its banks in 2015 at Joso City, Ibaraki Prefecture, as a consequence of torrential rain in the Kanto and Tohoku regions; 18,000 tons of wood scraps generated by the earthquakes in Kumamoto Pre-fecture in 2016 from the prefectural government and Kumamoto City; 1,000 tons of wood scraps in the wake of Typhoon Lionrock in 2016 from Kuji City, Iwate Prefecture; 40,000 tons of wood scraps and other debris generated by heavy rains in western Japan in 2018; and 28,000 tons of assorted debris—wood scraps, tatami mats, rice straw, etc.—in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis in 2019. The plants of Sumitomo Osaka Cement consumed all this disaster waste.

Sumitomo Osaka Cement’s acceptance of disaster waste is a contribution to society. By maximizing the positive impacts of its cement plants on neighboring communities, it is the company’s earnest desire that local residents will appreciate and cherish the plants, viewing them as beneficial to their communities. The group has five cement plants (Hachinohe, Tochigi, Gifu, Ako, and Kochi) across Japan. In principle, the plants close to disasteraffected areas proactively accept disaster waste.

To handle disaster waste, plants have to restrict acceptance of other types of waste so as to secure treatment capacity. Waste must also be sorted and when, as is sometimes the case, this has to be done manually, the waste treatment cost may become relatively high.

Ms. Chiyuki Suda, Environment Div., says, “We are effectively utilizing waste and by-products discharged by various industries and municipalities as cement raw materials and as an alternative energy source.”
Disaster waste is used in the production of cement, large quantities of which may be used for reconstruction in disaster-stricken areas.

Reusing disaster waste while minimizing generation of harmful substances

Cement production consists of three principal processes: the raw materials process, the calcining process, and the finishing process. Disaster waste is used in the raw materials and calcining processes. The main ingredients of cement are calcium, which is abundant in the Earth’s crust, silicon, aluminum, and iron. Previously, limestone was used as a source of calcium, and clay as a source of silicon and aluminum. All these ingredients can be replaced by waste or by-products. Substitutes for aluminum include coal ash, waste soil from construction, and contaminated soil, whereas silicon can be replaced by casting sand.

Substitutes for coal as a source of thermal energy in the calcining process include waste oil, woody biomass, and waste plastics. Disaster waste, consisting of assorted debris such as wood scraps, sodden tatami mats, spoiled stockpiled rice, and rice straw, is accepted and recycled as raw materials and a source of thermal energy. All the ash produced in the calcining process is used as raw materials. Since calcining is a high-temperature process performed at around 1450oC, generation of harmful substances, such as dioxins, is suppressed.

To ensure preparedness in the event of a natural disaster, the Sumitomo Osaka Cement Group is concluding agreements with local governments on treatment of disaster waste so as to expedite acceptance of disaster waste. Having such agreements is reassuring for local governments since they know Sumitomo Osaka Cement is ready and able to swiftly respond to requests to accept disaster waste at its plants whenever the need arises.

In cooperation with local governments, Sumitomo Osaka Cement will support the recovery of disaster-stricken areas by swiftly accepting disaster waste, and moreover, will contribute to society by producing cement using recycled disaster waste, large quantities of which will be used in the construction of infrastructure to prevent or mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

Sumitomo Osaka Cement
https://www.soc.co.jp/sumitomo_e/
At Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co., Ltd., we contribute to building a recycling-oriented society through recycling of various industrial wastes at cement plant, and play a role in building social infrastructure such as roads, tunnels, dams, airports, and river dike, coast levee for protecting human life and property through providing cement.
In addition to Cement-related Business (cement, mineral resources, and cement-related products), we also leverage our proprietary technology to expand our High-Performance Product Business(optoelectronics, advanced materials), are pursuing next-generation materials.
We are aiming to become a corporate group on a steady growth trajectory, by expanding our presence in the markets of both the Cement-related Business and High-Performance Product Business.

Social issues addressed by Sumitomo Group companies

Decarbonization

Decarbonization

Read about initiatives to achieve a low-carbon society, aiming at net-zero greenhouse gas emissions since these emissions are implicated in global warming.

Supply chain

Supply chain

In view of ongoing globalization and the growing complexity of supply chains, companies need to respond appropriately to issues in supply chains.

New workstyles

New workstyles

The pace of workstyle reform is accelerating as the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted numerous companies to embrace novel ways of working.

Health

Health

For companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the crucial importance of employee health into sharp focus.

Climate Change

Climate Change

Accelerating global warming poses serious business risks. Accordingly, companies need to formulate strategies and implement specific countermeasures from a medium- to long-term perspective.

Electrification of mobility

Electrification of mobility

Spurred by efforts to reduce environmental impacts and in line with increasing social needs, replacement of gasoline-powered vehicles with electric vehicles is accelerating.

Community

Community

Vigorous initiatives are afoot to tackle social issues by revitalizing communities and the interpersonal relationships that bind them together.

Poverty

Poverty

Poverty persists in contemporary Japan and the existence of child poverty is a grave concern.

Development of the next generation

Development of the next generation

In view of the continuing decline of Japan’s working age population, due to population aging coupled with a low birthrate, development of the next generation is an urgent issue.

Advanced Medicine

Advanced Medicine

The rapid progress in medicine in recent years is largely due to the efforts of not only universities and other research institutions but also of companies to develop cutting-edge technologies.

Local production for local consumption

Local production for local consumption

Numerous initiatives to promote industry and commerce at the regional and community level are underway, involving the use of renewable energy and thus contributing to decarbonization.

Food loss and waste

Food loss and waste

One-third of food produced is lost or wasted globally, amounting to about 1.3 billion tons per year. Food loss and waste is a pressing issue in need of a solution.

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