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Explanation on the calculation method of the Factor

Eco-efficiency

In order to achieve the goal established in the Toshiba Group Environmental Vision 2050 and create a world with all people leading rich lifestyles in harmony with the Earth, it is essential to improve the eco-efficiency of products and services. Eco-efficiency can be improved by raising the quality of life and by minimizing the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycles. At Toshiba, we use a unique method to measure eco-efficiency in order to create ECPs with high eco-efficiency.

[Image] Eco-efficiency

QFD LCA

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Factor

The Factor indicates how many times larger the eco-efficiency of a product is in comparison with a standard. A greater Factor value means that a product contributes more to the creation of a world with all people leading rich lifestyles in harmony with the Earth through technological progress and innovation.

The Factor is composed of a numerator and a denominator, which represent different aspects of improvement in eco-efficiency. The numerator, which is called the value factor, represents an increase in the value provided by a product, while the denominator, which is called the environmental impact reduction factor, represents a reduction in environmental impact. The Factor value is calculated by multiplying these two components.

[Image] Factor

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Doubly awarded at the Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan for the development and promotion of advanced Eco-efficiency assessment methods

Toshiba Group is working to develop and promote methods for assessing eco-efficiency in different business areas, including audio-visual and digital products and home appliances as well as system software and devices.

[Image] Doubly awarded at the Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan for the development and promotion of advanced Eco-efficiency assessment methods

Toshiba Solutions Corporation has worked to develop a method for measuring the value of services, which was needed especially in the solutions area, and participated in the activities of the Japan Eco-efficiency Forum (currently Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan (JLCA)) working group as a leader in order to contribute to establishing a standard assessment method for the ICT industry. In addition to systematically identifying customers’ needs by using assessment categories based on knowledge of service engineering, this method also greatly improves efficiency in assessing services by establishing procedures for distinguishing appropriate quality characteristics. Toshiba was awarded the JLCA Chairman’s Award in the ecoefficiency category at the 8th JLCA Award Ceremony in 2011 for its activities to develop and promote eco-efficiency assessment methods in the solutions area.

[Image] Doubly awarded at the Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan for the development and promotion of advanced Eco-efficiency assessment methods

Toshiba Corp. Semiconductor & Storage Products Company has worked to develop a life cycle assessment (LCA) method for the semiconductor area. To improve environmental performance in this area, environmental impacts resulting from manufacturing processes must be efficiently reduced. To this end, it is necessary to consider products throughout their entire life cycles, including their energy-saving performance during use. The company therefore developed a method for identifying improvements that have been made by using analysis charts designed to visualize the ratios between environmental impacts at the material procurement/manufacturing stage and at the use stage. In addition, the company also created assessment templates for different product categories in order to improve LCA efficiency, thereby incorporating LCA into the product development process. As a result, Toshiba was awarded the Incentive Award in the LCA category at the 8th JLCA Award Ceremony for these LCA activities in the semiconductor area. Toshiba Group has received awards in the eco-efficiency category seven times in seven consecutive years and in the LCA category four times in three consecutive years. We believe these results reflect our continued efforts to assess eco-efficiency using our Factor approach.

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Explanation about the Factor

Example of a product with a Factor 4

The Factor of a product can be plotted in a graph, as shown in the figure on the right, by combining its values on the x-axis (value factor) and the yaxis (environmental impact reduction factor). For example, a product with value twice that of the benchmark product and with environmental impact reduced to one half is represented by the point (2, 2) (marked with a triangle). The benchmark product is represented by the point (1, 1) (marked with a square).
All combinations that are on the curve shown in the figure on the right have a Factor 4 (e.g., points represented by a circle). The Factor, for which values are calculated by multiplying values on the x- and y-axes, generally gives high scores to combinations that strike a good balance between values on the two axes.
For example, the point (2, 2), which is represented by a triangle and has the same value on the x- and y-axes, is located at the shortest distance from the point (1,1) (represented by a square), providing the shortest way to the Factor 4. However, products vary in the level of improvement represented by the x- and y-axes and some products deliver excellent performance only in one of these aspects. Toshiba Group checks to ensure that steady progress is made in reducing environmental impact and increasing the value provided by products by visualizing the progress in a graph on the right. The Factor is also used to provide guidelines for making further improvements.

[Image] Environmental impact reduction factor

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Calculation of the factor value for a standard elevator

[Image] Assessment of the product value with QFD(*1)
[Image] Environmental impacts assessed based on the LIME(*2) approach

*1
A general tool used in product design.
*2
LIME is a leading scientic and statistical life-cycle impact assessment method in Japan developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) through LCA projects. The LIME chart presented above is the LIME summary chart provided by the AIST with some additions.
*3
Easy-to-use life cycle assessment tool developed by Toshiba.

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Simplified evaluation tool for LCA: Easy-LCA

[Image] Source: Sales data from Toshiba Plant Systems & Services Corporation
Source: Sales data from Toshiba Plant Systems & Services Corporation

  • Commercially available in October 1997
  • Provided with a database based on the inter-industry relation table
    • The inter-industry relations table in Japan is used.
    • The environmental impact per unit in about 400 sectors is presumed.
    • According to the amount in value on a pro-rata basis, the sectors can be subdivided into about 4,000 sectors.
  • Adoption of the hybrid method
    • Based on buildup analysis, the overseas environmental impact can be presumed and added.
  • Thirty types of environmental impact inventories can be calculated.

Category Item
Consumption Fuels Crude oil (fuel), coal, and natural gas
Material Crude oil (material), iron, copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, manganese, nickel, chromium, gravel, crushed stone, limestone, and timber
Emission Atmospheric air CO2, SOx, NOx, PM, HFC, HFC23, PFC, SF6
Water quality BOD, COD, SS, Total-N, Total-P
Energy (heat quality)

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Activities for the Standardization of Eco-efficiency and Factors

Together with eight electric-appliance makers, we are working on standardizing activities performed for eco-efficiency and factors in the industry. In 2006, five electric-appliance makers, including Toshiba, established standardization guidelines for four types of household electric appliances, and engaged in public relation activities at a common booth for eight electric appliance makers in the Eco-Products 2007 exhibition. We will encourage industry-wide cooperation, primarily by expanding the scope of target products and international standardization activity.

Standardization efforts made by eight electric-appliance and electronics makers

Voluntary efforts made by five electric-appliance makers (from April 2006 onward):
Toshiba Corporation, Hitachi Ltd., Fujitsu Limited, Panasonic Corporation (Former Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Media coverage by Nihon KeizaiShimbun, etc. (November 2006):
A “Standardization guideline” was established for “Factor X” of four types of household electric appliances.
WG organized under the umbrella of the “Nihon Kankyo Koritsu Forum (Japan Eco-efficiency Forum)” (April 2007):
Including Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation and NEC Corporation, eight electric-appliance makers began examination.

[Image] Standardization efforts made by eight electric-appliance and electronics makers

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