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Management of chemicals in products

Initiatives for management of chemicals contained in Toshiba Group's products

Toshiba Group manufactures and sells a wide range of products, from electronic devices (e.g., semiconductors and hard disks) to audio-visual products (e.g., PCs and TVs), building- and facility-related devices (e.g., air conditioners, elevators, and lighting devices), industrial systems (e.g., motors and railway systems), and energy and social infrastructure products (e.g., power generation, transmission, and distribution systems). Various chemicals are used to manufacture these products. To properly manage these chemicals and to achieve our goal of minimizing the risks involved in the use of chemicals in accordance with the precautionary principles, which were proposed and adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD*1) and other conferences, Toshiba Group has been promoting initiatives to specify the chemicals to be managed, to eliminate the use of specified chemicals (including the use of substitute materials), and to reduce the amount of chemicals contained in our products. In addition, we also promote communication and information sharing on such chemicals through the value chain in order to minimize risks to human health and the global environment throughout product lifecycles.

Also, to respond to the globalization of business, Toshiba Group is developing global measures to manage chemicals contained in products. To this end, we are collaborating with regional environmental divisions (in China) and local subsidiaries to gather and assess the impact of policies and regulations of countries around the world to enhance Toshiba Group's management of chemicals.

Furthermore, to promote the Green Procurement initiative, Toshiba Group has specified "prohibited substances," whose presence is prohibited in procurement items, including product materials and parts, and "managed substances," whose environmental impact should be reduced, based on their actual usage, via reduction of use and substitution. Our aim is to procure products, parts, and materials in cooperation with our business partners and suppliers to minimize the environmental impact of these chemicals.

Toshiba Group Environment-related Substance List
Category Definition
Rank A
(Prohibited Substances)
Substances whose presence is prohibited in procurement items (including packaging) in Toshiba Group. Substances whose use in products (including packaging) is prohibited or restricted by domestic or foreign laws and regulations.
Rank B
(Managed Substances)
Substances whose environmental impact should be reduced, based on actual usage, via reduction of use and substitution, or recovery and detoxification in a closed system.

Due to sector-specific conditions and other circumstances, details of the management of chemicals (substances managed, management levels, threshold values, etc.) may differ among Toshiba Group companies.

Examples of regulations on chemicals contained in products in different countries
[Image] Examples of regulations on chemicals contained in products in different countries

WSSD: World Summit on Sustainable Development
RoHS (Restriction of certain Hazardous Substances): A directive that limits the use of specified hazardous substances in electrical and electronic devices

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Promoting use of alternatives to PVC/BFRs

Results of FY2016

In the Fifth Environmental Action Plan, Toshiba Group set a goal of using substitute materials to replace polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) contained in products across a total of 80 product groups. In FY2015, we had expanded the scope of our initiative to 76 product groups. After selling the medical equipment and home appliance businesses to companies outside Toshiba Group in FY2016 due to changes in our business structure, we excluded the product groups associated with those businesses from the scope of our initiative. Accordingly, we reduced the total number of targeted product groups from 80 in FY2015 to 66 in FY2016 in order to continue our initiative.

Consequently, we achieved our goals for 65 product groups. Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve our goal for one product group (fuel cell-related products). Though we had already completed selection of alternative materials for this group of products, the products scheduled to be released in FY2016 were actually released ahead of the original schedule. This made it difficult for us to employ the alternative materials during FY2016. We plan to develop next-generation products by employing alternative materials from the start to achieve our goals.

Using substitute materials to replace PVC/BFRs is not defined as a KPI in the Sixth Environmental Action Plan that started in FY2017, but all Toshiba Group companies will continue to carry out the maintenance and management initiative.

Changes in product groups covered by the PVC/BFR substitution initiative
[Image] Changes in product groups covered by the PVC/BFR substitution initiative

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Case Study 1: POS system

[Image] POS system

Toshiba TEC Corporation

POS systems make use of cable harnesses with assembled parts made from multiple electric wires (for power supply and signal communication) that have been bound together.

Toshiba TEC Corporation had been using PVC harnesses that were soft and provided a large degree of freedom in wiring. However, the company considered adopting PVC-free harnesses and is now using parts that do not contain PVC. Toshiba TEC will use this case study as an example to promote the use of PVC alternatives in other products.

Case Study 2: Elevator

[Image] Elevator

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation

In manufacturing elevators, resin-coated decorative copper plates as well as lighting covers and tiles made of PVC were previously used to provide color variations and finishing touches to the interiors of elevator cages as well as to increase elevator durability. Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation evaluated the possibility of using PVC-free materials in such parts and adopted these materials to produce PVC-free elevators.

Case Study 3: Ventilator instruction label

[Image] Ventilator instruction label

Toshiba Carrier Corporation

PVC had been used for many years to manufacture instruction labels for products (e.g., ventilation fans) that must be cleaned by customers with detergent. This is because PVC is known to protect printed letters from being washed off by detergent as well as to make it easy to use an adhesive that prevents labels from easily peeling off.

To find an alternative to PVC for instruction labels, the company tested different combinations of mounts, adhesives, and printing ink to examine detergent resistance and the difficulty of peeling off, eventually succeeding in commercializing a PVC-free label.

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Case Study 1: LED lighting

LED light engine
[Image] LED light engine
E-shape capped LED lamp
[Image] E-shape capped LED lamp

Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation

LED light engines and E-shape capped LED lamp are superior to conventional fluorescent lamps in terms of energy- and resource-saving performance. Also, some components are made of BFR-free materials that contain fewer chemicals.

Use of BFR-free component materials
To reduce use of BFRs, BFR-free materials are used in some components of LED light engine holders, reflectors, and reflector boards of E-shape capped LED lamp light sources.

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Case Study 1: POS terminal

[Image] POS terminal

Toshiba TEC Corp.

The M-8500 POS terminal is a product designed to reduce application standby power consumption to achieve the industry's highest energy-saving performance*. It also contains reduced amounts of chemicals (it is made of halogen-free materials and mercury- and cadmium-free parts).

Toshiba data as of February 2014
Use of halogen-free materials
Halogen-free printed circuit boards are used for approximately 50% of the circuit board area to reduce the amount of BFRs.
LED backlights are used for the main display to completely eliminate the use of mercury.
Nickel-hydrogen batteries are used instead of nickel-cadmium batteries for power outage backup to completely eliminate the use of cadmium.

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Promoting use of alternatives to the four phthalate esters

Future initiatives

Under the Sixth Environmental Action Plan for the period from 2017-2020, Toshiba Group will promote use of alternatives to the four phthalate esters as part of our initiative for the management of chemicals contained in products. Phthalate esters are used as plasticizer for PVC and other plastics. They are widely used in electrical and electronic devices as plasticizer for plastics that must be pliable, such as cords and internal wire cable coatings, as well as for various types of packaging.

However, concerns have been raised over the reproductive toxicity of phthalate esters revealed in toxicity assessment. Therefore, in Europe and the United States, they are prohibited from use in toys or product parts that contact the skin for a long time.

Also, the Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2015/863 was issued in the EU on June 4, 2015 to revise Annex II of the new RoHS Directive for electrical and electronic devices, and the four phthalate esters were added as new controlled substances. Based on this revision, use of the four phthalate esters will be regulated for electrical and electronic devices sold in EU countries’ markets after July 2019. Due to their regulation in the EU, use of the four phthalate esters will also be subjected to regulation in various countries, including the UAE starting in 2020.

Against this backdrop, Toshiba Group reviewed the Toshiba Group Green Procurement Guidelines in 2015 to prohibit procurement of materials containing the four phthalate esters at an appropriate time. Meanwhile, we requested the cooperation of our business partners and suppliers and conducted a full-scale review of alternative materials. Under the Sixth Environmental Action Plan, we will identify the parts of products (product groups) where business divisions are using materials containing phthalate esters to replace them with alternatives.

To promote use of alternatives while maintaining product quality, it is important to evaluate alternative materials’ reliability and to easily assess whether materials purchased contain phthalate esters. Toshiba Group has reviewed how to assess cables’ bending strength and how to simply test whether polymeric materials contain phthalate esters. Based on the knowledge we have acquired through past reviews as well as information that we have obtained with our customers' cooperation, we will complete replacement with alternatives for all products (product groups) by July 2017. (We aim to complete selection of alternative materials for some products (product groups) for which RoHS regulation starts in 2021 as well as for products not regulated by the RoHS Directive.)

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Green Procurement Guidelines

Please download a PDF file from the following link to read our Guidelines.

Date Revised: January 1, 2017

Due to circumstances such as industry trends, details of our requests to suppliers may differ among Toshiba Group companies and are described in the Green Procurement Guidelines issued by the office in charge of procurement of Toshiba Group companies, Toshiba divisions, establishments, factories, etc. For the Guidelines of Toshiba group companies, please see the website of each company.

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