Honda-The Power of Dreams
Honda's Manufacturing Sections Boost Their Environmental Credentials

Tokyo, April 13, 1998 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced that its manufacturing plants around the world are taking more concerted action to lessen the ultimate impact their operations have on the environment.

Honda has long treated care for the environment as one of its most important corporate issues, and has put in place a full program of activities designed to lower the environmental impact of the company's operations. The current initiative involves taking renewed corporate responsibility for the whole of a product's life cycle through so-called life cycle assessments. The aim of the program is to use these assessments to enable Honda to take an integrated approach toward managing product life cycles in an earth-friendly manner.

The initial target, set for completion by 2001, is to reduce waste materials and pollutants to zero, as well as drastically reducing the amount of energy consumption associated with carbon dioxide emissions. The technology will first be developed in Japan before being adopted by Honda's overseas manufacturing bases. The name Green Factory has been given by the company to the type of operations that Honda wants to create.

The initiative has four main aspects, described below.

(1) Complete acquisition of ISO 14001 certification at all domestic manufacturing sites

ISO 14001 is the internationally approved standard for environmental management systems. All six of Honda's domestic manufacturing sites have now received certification - the last one being the Hamamatsu factory in March 1998.

From the point of view of product quality and costs, this achievement underscores Honda's commitment to continuous across-the-board improvement of all of its environmental management systems.

Work to gain the same certification is now well advanced at all of Honda's major manufacturing bases in North America, Europe and the rest of Asia. The process should be complete by March 1999.

(2) Reducing waste materials and pollutants to zero

In 1997, Honda's manufacturing activities produced a total of 187,000 tons of waste materials. Of this, the portion that was then recycled amounted to 89% of the total. A further 8% was incinerated at company facilities. The final amount of waste materials sent for disposal outside the company came to approximately 3% of the total.

Reducing this proportion of final external waste has been done by increasing the yields on production processes from raw materials, by reusing materials within the process, and by aiming to raise the overall efficiency of manufacturing. Together these measures have resulted in a more than 80% reduction in the amount of final waste generated - down from an annual figure of 26,300 tons in 1990 to just 4,900 tons in 1997.

Honda plans to eliminate this final waste altogether by 2001, again through a variety of measures, including using compound plastic strips as raw materials, and recycling waste such as paint scraps into floor mat tape sheets, or casting sand into materials for roadbeds.

To deal with water or air pollutants, Honda's basic policy is to avoid generating them in the first place. This involves employing measures such as using high-quality combustion materials, making alterations to manufacturing processes, and modifying or installing new incineration equipment. As an example of this integrated approach, Honda's Suzuka Factory recently began operating a new kind of incinerator that greatly reduces dioxin formation. One of the most poisonous and carcinogenic waste substances produced during incineration processes, dioxins are now subject to strict regulations worldwide.

(3) Energy used per unit of sales at world-beating levels

By introducing manufacturing technology that reduces energy losses, and by rigorously managing the use of energy in manufacturing processes, Honda has made its use of energy much more efficient. In terms of energy consumption in relation to sales, 6.4% less energy was consumed in 1997 versus 1990. The current aim is to extract further savings by integrating manufacturing and development processes to a greater degree, by boosting production efficiency, and by introducing new technology such as co-generation power systems into manufacturing facilities. The target is to reduce the amount of energy used per unit of sales from the figure achieved in 1990 by 15% before 2001, and then to make a further 15% improvement on top of this by 2010 - all by employing new production technology and different concepts. The ultimate aim is to make manufacturing operations as clean and efficient as possible.

(4) Improving local and labor environments at factories

The company regularly undertakes internal environmental audits and publishes the results of these investigations to demonstrate what the company is doing to prevent pollution and help the environment. From 1994, Honda has tried to enhance the effectiveness of these audits by conducting intra-company audits of all Honda sites based on a standard established by visiting other Honda sites.

Since 1976, Honda has conducted a program of planting trees native to the local area around manufacturing sites and other offices. To date a total area of 335,000 m2 has been planted with trees, representing a total of over 550,000 trees. These trees help the local environment in many ways - not only absorbing carbon dioxide, but also cleaning the air and helping to eliminate foul smells.

Honda's environmental management systems, allied to moves to reduce pollutant production at all of the company's manufacturing sites to zero levels and reduce carbon dioxide emissions through higher energy efficiency, are helping to reduce the impact the company's operations have on the environment. At the same time, Honda tries to make its production facilities blend in with their local surroundings, and strives to make the labor environment as pleasant as possible.

Reference Data

(1) ISO 14001 certifications: achieved and planned

Manufacturing sites with ISO 14001 certification:
Domestic plants (6 sites)
Overseas plants (3 sites)
Power Products Plant, Hamamatsu Factory: April 1997 Honda Belgium N.V.: March 1997
Tochigi Factory: September 1997 Honda of the U.K. Manufacturing Ltd.: March 1998
Honda Engineering Co., Ltd: September 1997 Honda Europe N.V. (Belgium): March 1998
Kumamoto Factory: November 1997
Saitama Factory: January 1998
Suzuka Factory: February 1998
Hamamatsu Factory: March 1998

Manufacturing sites working toward ISO 14001 certification: Target date: March, 1999

North America (total 3 sites): Honda of the Americas Manufacturing Inc., Honda Canada Inc., Honda Power Equipment Mfg.Inc. (USA)
Europe (total 4 sites): Honda Italy Industriale S.P.A., Montesa Honda S.A. (Spain), etc.
Asia (total 2 sites): Honda Cars Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Thailand), Thai Honda Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Thailand)

(2) Breakdown of production-waste volume and planned targets

Type of waste Fiscal 1990 Fiscal 1997 (current) Fiscal End-2001 plan
General waste 3.1 0.2 0.0
Polluted soil etc. 4.8 0.9 0.0
Waste plastic/rubber 2.5 0.1 0.0
Waste liquids/oils 6.5 0.3 0.0
Paint scraps 2.4 0.0 0.0
Casting sand 4.5 1.4 0.0
Burned/charred waste 1.8 1.4 0.0
Other 0.7 0.6 0.1
Total waste disposed of externally 26.3 4.9 0.1
Total waste processed internally 17.0 14.9 8.0
Recycled 139.6 167.0 152.0
Total waste 182.9 186.8 160.1

Unit: 1,000tons

  • Main measures taken until now:
    Increased yields, higher production efficiency, recycling, etc.
    • Improved materials flow and processes reduce waste production
    • Reusing oils and liquids produced as waste
    • Recycling incinerator ash, waste oils, glass, used paper/cardboard
  • Measures planned to reach 2001 targets:
    • Improved materials flow: changing product designs and using new manufacturing and molding technologies to reduce the amounts of resources consumed
    • Recycling technology: more recycling of scrap materials (such as compound plastics)
    • Using fusing technologies to reuse dust and other solid waste materials

(3) Energy-saving measures

  • Main measures taken until now:
    • Introduction of equipment and production technologies that cut energy losses, rigorous energy-management procedures
    • Thermal energy recovery from drying ovens
    • Reducing drying time by using a water-based cleaning system in the stage prior to painting of bumpers
  • Measures planned to reach 2001 targets:
    • Extension of current technologies to new areas, introduction of high-efficiency co-generation power systems
    • Standardization of energy usage according to the operating conditions across production lines