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Product Eco-efficiency

Eco-efficiency

The concept of eco-efficiency was developed to realize a sustainable society by providing products and services designed to improve the quality of life while reducing environmental impact.

The Factor indicates the degree of improvement in eco-efficiency by comparing to a benchmark period. Factor values of 4 and 10 are widely known as the targets required to realize a sustainable society. The greater its Factor, the more a product contributes to creating value and reducing environmental impact through technological progress and innovation.

[Image] Eco-efficiency

Toshiba Group originally developed a method for calculating eco-efficiency to introduce an indicator that enables overall assessment of products' environmental friendliness. Comprehensive activities for creating ECPs that are aimed at increasing the Factor are part of the Factor T initiative, so named after Toshiba's initial. Factor T has the following characteristics: ① it is expressed as a multiplication of a value factor and an environmental impact reduction factor; ② it quantifies the value of a product or service (numerator) using QFD; ③ it assesses environmental impact (denominator) using LIME*.

*
LIME: One of the leading environmental assessment methods in Japan, LIME (Life-cycle Impact assessment Method based on Endpoint modeling) was developed by the Research Centre for Life Cycle Assessment, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology, an independent administrative institution.

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Factor T

[Image] Factor T

For detailed information about the calculation method and its application to Toshiba products, see the explanatory materials ("[Factor T] Reader" and "Encouragement of [Factor T]."

[Image] [Factor T] Reader
(In Japanese Only)

[Image] Encouragement of [Factor T].
(PDF:5.94MB) (In Japanese Only)

These materials were awarded the Bronze Award in the 2013 Nikkei BtoB Advertising Award's product catalog (general) category.

The Factor T initiative was started in 2003. Under this initiative, we have carried out various activities involving parties inside and outside Toshiba Group, including the announcement of Environmental Vision 2050, formulation of Environmental Action Plans, conferences with competitors aiming at standardization, and contribution to the establishment of ISO standards. Toshiba Group will continue to pursue the Factor T initiative in order to work toward realizing a sustainable society by incorporating new knowledge.

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Development of LCA and the Concept of Eco-efficiency in Toshiba Group

Factor T

Toshiba Group continues to promote the creation of ECPs by comprehensively considering the environment and value creation.

  • We screen environmental effects from the research and development stage before commercializing products, thereby promptly analyzing the risks involved and increasing our market competitiveness. We create new value through value and concept innovation. (Column 1)
  • By the end of FY2013, we completed the Factor assessment for all product groups. We are now measuring improvements in the eco-efficiency of all Toshiba Group's product groups. (For details, see Product eco-efficiency.)
  • Toshiba was awarded the LCA Society of Japan 10th Anniversary Special Award. (Column 2)

Life cycle management

Improvement in environmental performance throughout product life cycles

[Image] Development of LCA and the Concept of Eco-efficiency in Toshiba Group

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Column 1: Assessment of a compound semiconductor photovoltaic power generation system

In the initial stage of research and development before commercializing a product, Toshiba Group flexibly determines the range of product life cycle assessment and sets assessment indicators in order to provide an overview of the product and assess the risks involved. For example, for the compound semiconductor photovoltaic power generation system, we assessed the product's environmental performance using the Energy Payback Ratio (EPR). The EPR is the ratio of the amount of energy produced to the amount of energy consumed over the entire life cycle of the product. This is a typical indicator used to represent the environmental performance of energy supply systems. Assuming that the standard power output is 4 kW and the period of use is 20 years, we estimated the amount of energy consumed over the entire life cycle of the product to be 63.7 GJ. Meanwhile, from the panel transformation efficiency and average annual solar radiation in Japan, we estimated the production energy over its life cycle to be 791 GJ. Therefore, the product's EPR is 12.4*. As product development proceeds, we assess other aspects of the product's effects on the environment, collect more accurate data, and assess the value of the system in order to make improvements.

*
Shuto et al. (2014), EPR of a Compound Semiconductor Photovoltaic Power Generation System, Proceedings of the Ninth Academic Conference of the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan

[Image] Assessment of a compound semiconductor photovoltaic power generation system

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Column 2: Awarded the LCA Society of Japan 10th Anniversary Special Award

[Image] Awarded the LCA Society of Japan 10th Anniversary Special Award
Corporate Senior Vice President Nishida delivering an address at the awards ceremony

Toshiba Group started to use Factor-T in 2003 in order to develop and promote environmental efficiency assessment methods suited for different business areas. While focusing primarily on consumer products, the Group has developed assessment methods for the products of all Group companies, including heavy electric products, semiconductor products, and solutions. In addition, we actively release information about our assessment results through a variety of media. We have also participated in establishing standards for Factor X with eight electrical manufacturers as well as ISO standards, not to mention the activities of industrial associations. Further, Toshiba Group has responded to new international trends ahead of our competitors. By making use of outside knowledge, we have conducted case studies on aspects of environmental impact that cannot be fully evaluated with conventional LCA, such as biodiversity, noise, and water resources. We are taking an active part in developing various applications related to LCA, including supporting the Scope 3 Standards and introducing our new concept “T-Compass.” We were awarded the LCA Society of Japan 10th Anniversary Special Award for these activities in recognition of our achievements in our industry. We will continue to promote LCA and the Factor approach in the future.

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