Creation of Environment-Conscious Products

TDK’s Initiatives to Create Environment-Conscious Products

Economic development achieved until now has been the product of fierce economic competition and the continuous application of pressures on the Earth, which is the basis of our lives. The Earth has now reached a stage where it no longer has the capacity to absorb pollutants and cannot endure additional demand for resources or global warming.

At the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Agenda 21 was adopted as an action plan for the continued prosperity of humans on earth by achieving harmony with the natural environment. In addition, agreement was reached on minimizing the substantial adverse impact on human health and the environment from the manufacture and use of chemical substances by 2020.

The Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Union adopted in 2002 and entitled “Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice” calls for innovative solutions in four areas: climate change (energy conservation), preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity (preventing species extinction and loss of biodiversity), the environment and health (chemical substance management), and natural resource and waste management (resource recycling). In response, there has been a shift in comprehensive product policy from chemical substance controls that address only the chemical products used in products towards minimizing total environmental impact in these four areas throughout the entire product lifecycle from the product design phase. Against this backdrop, various product-related environmental regulations with strict standards are being adopted and there are expectations for the development of revolutionary environmental technologies.

As a part of its environmental policies for sustainable corporate management, TDK is actively working to create environment-conscious products by developing products that cause minimal environmental impact. Our dream is to contribute to society through the development of completely new environmental technologies and products based on innovative and revolutionary concepts.

TDK’s Approach to Environment-Conscious Products

TDK develops and designs products with minimal total environmental impact by identifying significant environmental aspects throughout the product lifecycle during the concept and planning phase, making improvements in the development phase, and performing comprehensive assessments. TDK has adopted the improvement of significant environmental aspects during the conceptual and planning stages as its core development concept and established systems to perform product assessments. Methods of minimizing environmental impact require that the significant environmental aspects of products be identified, that the degree of environmental impact be enumerated by measurable physical quantities, and that the entire lifecycle of the product be considered.

TDK introduced a product assessment system in 1998 as a means of creating environment-conscious products, and all developed products are subject to assessment under this system. Today, the products that account for virtually 100% of TDK’s sales are environment-conscious products that meet the product assessment standards.

Lifecycles and Product Assessment

Comprehensive Assessment of the Product Lifecycle from Raw Materials to Disposal

TDK’s product assessment is broadly divided into restricted chemical substances, effective use of resources, and energy conservation. In the concept and planning phase, the product is assessed in each of its life stages. For example:

  • Materials:Green procurement is conducted to avoid the use of restricted substances.
  • Manufacturing:Energy consumption during manufacturing is reduced and only components that do not contain restricted substances are used.
  • Distribution:Energy and resources used in distribution are reduced.
  • Use:Measures are taken to reduce energy consumption when products are mounted in customer devices and actually used.
  • Disposal:Product structures are designed so materials can be recycled and reused and chemical substances properly processed when the product reaches the end of its useful life and is discarded.

TDK develops and designs products with minimal environmental impact by comprehensively assessing all of these life stages. In 2004, TDK established a product assessment system that assesses new products using scores. In 2008, TDK began certifying products whose scores reach a certain level as Eco Love products and products with even higher scores and that boast industry-leading technology, functions, configurations, and so on as Super Eco Love products.

The product lifecycle flow

Assessment Standards: Quantitative Assessment in Individual Detailed Environmental Categories

The product lifecycle is divided into the five stages shown in the figure below, and in each stage, scores are given for energy savings, chemical substances, and effective use of resources.

product assessment focus areas

In addition, the results of quantitative assessments of factors such as the degree of difficulty of the technology with respect to achieving environmental targets set during the concept and planning phase are also incorporated to provide a comprehensive assessment score.

Only those development products whose comprehensive assessment scores meet certain standards are approved and certified as environment-conscious products. TDK also has a system in place to prevent the sale of products that are not certified.