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Pollution Prevention etc.

Initiatives for Preventing Pollution

Among environmental initiatives, the prevention of environmental pollution in local communities is just as important as global environmental issues. The system for managing typical pollution problems in Japan has begun to fail, as illustrated by an increase in accidents involving water contamination in the past few years. Consequently, relevant laws and regulations have become increasingly severe, including the strengthening of measures to prevent the escalation of harm in the event of an accident.

Meanwhile, the international community has reached an agreement on minimizing the adverse effects that the production and use of chemical substances have on human health and the environment by the year 2020. Each country is, therefore, implementing its own initiatives on the control of chemical substances.

Astellas sets its own levels which are stricter than legal standards and pollution control agreements for the major environmental management indicators used to measure air quality and water quality. In addition to reducing the discharge of contaminants, we also set voluntary targets for lowering the discharge of chemical substances into the atmosphere.

Air Pollution image of Warranty mark

Environmental Action Plan (Management of Chemical Substances)

  • Reduce the amount of VOCs discharged by 25% or more compared with fiscal 2006 levels by the end of fiscal 2015. (Japan)

Astellas sets voluntary numerical targets for reducing the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) it discharges accompanying the use of solvents in production and research activities, and is implementing measures to achieve these reduction targets.

In emissions of VOCs into the atmosphere, we reached our target in fiscal 2015. Emissions totaled 42 tons, down by 36.8% (24 tons) from the base year. From here onward, we will continue our reduction efforts without setting new numerical targets. In addition to reducing atmospheric pollution, we will take other steps to minimize the impact of our business operations on our employees, the regional communities in which we work, and the global environment. Such steps will include measures to prevent environmental pollution by chemical substances as well as workplace accidents and health hazards, and will take the form of adopting new production methods that do not employ high-risk chemicals.

We have not set any numerical targets for atmospheric emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), but in order to reduce them we completed the shutdown of incinerators with the aim of shifting from liquid fuel such as fuel oil to city gas. In addition, we are proceeding to replace boilers using city gas with low-NOx-type boilers.
As a result, SOx emissions were zero, and NOx emissions decreased by 2 tons from the previous fiscal year, to 25 tons.

image of VOC emissions image of Air pollutants

Water Pollution

Astellas measures the extent of its impact on aquatic environments by adopting the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) load as an index, and makes the data available to the public.

In Japan, the BOD load in fiscal 2015 was 11 tons, slightly down from the previous fiscal year. image of Warranty mark Outside Japan, the BOD in fiscal 2015 was 15 tons (excluding Meppel Plant), up from the previous year.

Since the discharge into water of chemical substances used in manufacturing processes can have a negative impact on ecosystems, we are examining ways of reducing such discharges as much as possible at all stages from R&D onward.With respect to future drug candidate substances discovered and developed by Astellas, we are examining the impact pharmaceuticals would have on ecosystems through the evaluation of their biodegradability in the natural environment, and will take action as appropriate. In addition, in fiscal 2015 we evaluated our wastewater management method by using bioassays targeting facilities that were releasing wastewater into rivers after treatment. We confirmed that they are now less likely to have a significant impact on the ecosystem.

image of BOD Load (Japan) image of Drainage volume (Japan)

Compliance with Environmental Laws and Regulations image of Warranty mark

Over the past five years, there were no infractions of laws or regulations related to environmental issues that were identified at our business sites in Japan or overseas.

Environment-Related Accidents and Complaints image of Warranty mark

In fiscal 2015, there was an accident in the pharmaceutical manufacturing process at the Takahagi Facilities. As a result, the pressure in the reaction vessel became higher than normal and a part of the gas being generated was released into the atmosphere. Because exhaust gas falls under the scope of the specific substances of the Air Pollution Control Law, we submitted an accident report, including the measures taken to prevent recurrence.

Except for this accident, Astellas has not recorded an environment-related accident in Japan over the past five years.

However, with regard to the construction of a new plant building at the Yaizu Facilities, we received two complaints about interference with television signals. In both cases, we resolved the problems by adjusting and exchanging antennas.

Soil Contamination Assessments

Under the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act of Japan and prefectural ordinances, soil contamination assessments are mandatory where projects for building or demolishing facilities exceeding a certain scale are undertaken and collectively there is a change in the characteristics of the land. To date, Astellas has undertaken soil contamination assessments based on relevant laws and ordinances as well as related voluntary evaluation to determine the existence or otherwise of contamination. In the event contamination is identified, the Company has taken purification and other remedial measures.

In fiscal 2015, there was no such situation that requires soil contamination assessment. Drawing on the results of soil contamination assessments completed over the past five years, no instances of contamination were detected.

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