Endeavor to create a circular economy
Carbon neutral strategy
Carbon neutrality declaration
The Mitsui Chemicals Group believes that as a chemicals company we have an important role to play in helping to build a sustainable society that can limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Therefore, in November 2020, we declared our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050. In addition to reducing the Group’s GHG emissions (Scopes 1 and 2), we also aim to maximize GHG emissions avoided throughout the lifecycle of our products, thereby contributing significantly to the social transformation that allows the entire society to become carbon neutral.
We are considering investing an amount to the scale of 140 billion yen in carbon neutrality by 2030, and we will flexibly invest funds across the entire company.
The Mitsui Chemicals Group’s carbon neutrality strategy
Strategy 1. Reducing GHG emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) of the Mitsui Chemicals Group
The chemical industry uses fossil-derived raw materials and converts fossil-derived fuels into steam and electricity in its manufacturing process, so the chemical industry emits far more GHGs than other industries. We believe that we contribute greatly to reducing GHG emissions in the manufacturing of our chemical products by implementing various measures, including saving energy in the manufacturing process by mainly using high-performance catalysts and installing energy-efficient equipment, actively utilizing renewable energy, and switching to low-carbon raw materials and fuels.
First, we have set targets for reducing GHG emissions for Scopes 1 and 2 to accurately identify the Group’s GHG emissions and proactively work to reduce them.
Specifically, we will take various reduction measures to reduce the GHG emissions by 40% by FY2030, compared to FY2013. We have set this as one of our non-financial targets in VISION 2030. In order to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, in addition to the aforementioned measures, we intend to achieve 80% or more of these reductions mainly through development of new technologies and the transition of our business portfolio—though this presupposes external factors concerning markets and customers falling into place or changing. We also plan to pursue policies which include the development and implementation of carbon-negative technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), to handle the remaining 20%.
We plan to focus our efforts to reduce GHG emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) on production sites with greater emissions volumes. We will work to efficiently maximize the impact by rolling out technologies and systems across the Group.
Strategy 2. Maximizing avoided GHG emissions through provision of our products
Chemical products are used in a broad range of end products and can help reduce GHG emissions at each stage of the product lifecycle. Through our supply of Blue Value™ products that make significant contributions to the environment, we aim to maximize avoided emissions over the entire product life cycle. In this way, we intend to help all of society achieve carbon neutrality. The amount of avoided emissions is evaluated by comparing with our existing products/market-standard products from the perspective of life cycle assessment, which is also a criterion for Blue Value™ certification. Based on the sales of Blue Value™ products and services in FY2021, we estimate that these products contribute to approximately 1 million tons/year in avoided emissions. For VISION 2030, we have set a non-financial target of achieving a revenue share of 40% or higher for Blue Value™ products with the aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Case 1: Low-carbon raw fuels:
Fuel conversion - Utilizing ammonia -
While naphtha crackers are key for a chemicals company, they also emit a large amount of GHGs. By switching from the conventional methane-based fuel to one in which ammonia is the principal component in naphtha crackers, the Mitsui Chemicals Group hopes to bring the amount of CO2 generated in combustion as close to zero as possible and contribute to reduction of GHG emissions across the entire petrochemicals industry.
Ammonia, which does not contain carbon, has well-established transport and storage technologies, and it is said to be easier to handle as a heat source than hydrogen. With Mitsui Chemicals, which has both naphtha cracker and ammonia businesses, acting as the leading company, we are proceeding with demonstration tests in collaboration with Maruzen Petrochemical Co., Ltd., Toyo Engineering Corporation, and Sojitz Machinery Corporation, which have knowledge and technical expertise in ethylene plants. The demonstration period is envisaged to be the 10 years from fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2030, with a goal of developing ammonia burners and test furnaces by 2026 and social implementation of entirely ammonia-fired crackers by 2030.
This project has been selected as a demonstration test for “development of advanced technologies for naphtha crackers” by the Green Innovation Funding Program publicly solicited by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Case 2: Developing new technologies
- Establishing Mitsui Chemicals Carbon Neutral Research Center -
In October 2021, we established the Mitsui Chemicals Carbon Neutral Research Center within the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER) of Kyushu University to develop and commercialize cutting-edge environmental infrastructure technologies that help achieve carbon neutrality. I2CNER is renowned as the world’s first research institution to bear the word “carbon-neutral” in its name. In 2010, I2CNER was adopted as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)’s World Premier International Research Center Program (WPI) and was designated as the location for WPI Academy in 2020. I2CNER is the world’s state-of-the-art research center for carbon neutral technologies. We will continue with our collaborative research based on our expertise in the development and industrialization of low environmental impact technologies and I2CNER’s world-leading knowledge of green hydrogen, of how to capture, store and convert CO2, and of other carbon-neutral and carbon-negative technologies. In addition, we will accelerate our efforts to deploy these technologies across society by conducting intensive and efficient research on the elemental technologies necessary for achieving carbon neutrality.
Case 3: Reducing GHG emissions throughout the life cycle
- Visualization of environmental impact through calculation of product carbon footprint (PCF) -
As part of product stewardship, The Mitsui Chemicals Group has been building a life cycle assessment (LCA) system, which also touches upon product carbon footprint (PCF), for over 10 years. By assessing the environmental impact of the Group’s products and services through a simplified LCA (Blue Value™ Index), products that have environmental contribution value are certified as Blue Value™ products and are broadly shared with society. Recent years have seen growing demand in society for visualization of the environmental impact of the product life cycle as a whole, and the Group is further strengthening its PCF/LCA information provision system.
We have already completed Gate to Gate*1 PCF calculations for products manufactured at three Mitsui Chemicals’ works (Ichihara, Osaka, and Iwakuni-Ohtake). Moving forward, we plan to expand the range of calculation to Cradle to Gate*2 and make calculations for products, excluding those for which data on raw materials and other factors cannot be used, at all Mitsui Chemicals’ works during the first half of fiscal 2022. In addition, we are pushing forward with calculations based on calculation methods that encompass international transport with regard to GHG emissions in transport from product shipping to customer delivery*3 (conforming to the Global Logistics Emissions Council [GLEC]) framework.
Going forward, we will continue to work with stakeholders in the supply chain to further strengthen our system in order to provide highly accurate and timely PCF/LCA information.
*1Gate to Gate:
From gate to gate. This refers to the period from the time when product materials are delivered to the manufacturing plant to the time when the product is shipped from there.
*2Cradle to Gate:
From cradle to gate. This refers to the process from the extraction of product materials to their shipment from the manufacturing plant.
*3Only applies to transportation arranged by the Mitsui Chemicals Logistics Division. See here for details.