Japan Partnership for Circular Economy

Japan Partnership for Circular Economy


's cases

Basic values and policies regarding circular economy initiatives as a corporation

We at the Sumitomo Chemical Group strive to achieve sustained growth for the Group by contributing to building a sustainable society through our business, and we are committed to working on the promotion of sustainability as a management priority. To demonstrate this commitment, we have formulated our Basic Principles for Promoting Sustainability1) and placed the principles just below the Sumitomo Business Principles and Sumitomo Chemical’s Business Philosophy, the first and second most important elements of our Corporate Philosophy. In 2019, we identified the Group’s material issues2) to be addressed as management priorities, based on our Corporate Philosophy. We define contribution to the recycling of plastic resources as one of our material issues for social value creation and commit ourselves to fulfilling our responsibility as a company engaged in the plastic value chain. In June 2020, we also developed our Group Basic Policy Towards a Circular System for Plastics.3) In the policy, we pledge to work on innovation regarding 3Rs—reduction, reuse and recycling—of plastics, take on challenges difficult to resolve alone by working with various stakeholders, and provide employee education and awareness-raising programs to ensure that every employee has a sense of ownership about plastic waste problems. We direct these efforts to other resources such as rare metals as well, endeavoring to reduce usage and promote recycling. The Sumitomo Chemical Group will continue working to accelerate development and deployment of new solutions that contribute to resolving environmental problems and achieving a circular economy for resources, thereby increasing the Group’s corporate value.

Market opportunities and strengths of the company in circular business

At Sumitomo Chemical we consider carbon recycling technology as a new springboard for our Petrochemicals & Plastics Sector and a driving force for the Group’s efforts toward achieving a circular economy. We are advancing a range of initiatives to capture opportunities in this area, including development of new technologies to recycle used plastics into pellets or monomers for use as raw materials for plastics by the power of chemistry. By making the full use of our catalyst and chemical process design technologies cultivated over many years, we will take on the challenge of establishing a closed loop and a circular system for resources and contribute to creating a circular economy.

Setting indicators and targets

We have set key performance indicators (KPIs)4) for our material issues for sustainable value creation. Specifically, the KPIs include, among others, sales revenue of Sumika Sustainable Solutions, which we designated as the products and technologies that contribute for solving environmental issues, (560 billion yen by FY2021) and contribution of our battery-related materials to reducing GHG emissions throughout the product life cycle. With respect to recycling of plastic resources, where we are engaged in the development and deployment of new recycling technologies, we are working to set an appropriate KPI for measuring our contribution to achieving a circular economy for resources.

Implementation system

Since April 2018, Sumitomo Chemical has in place the Sustainability Promotion Committee5), which is chaired by the president of Sumitomo Chemical and composed of executive officers heading the Group’s business sectors and corporate departments and the presidents of the Group’s four overseas regional headquarters companies. Outside Directors and Outside Corporate Auditors join the committee meeting as observers.

The committee reports to the Board of Directors after every session and follows up discussions held at the committee meeting by using the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) method while also seeking advice and instructions from the Board as needed.

Under this system, we are stepping up efforts toward achieving a circular economy. In April 2020, we formed a new organization in our Petrochemicals Research Laboratory, a team dedicated to developing technologies to reduce environmental impact,6) as part of our endeavor to accelerate innovation for plastic recycling. In addition, in April 2021, we established a Business Development Office for a Circular System for Plastics7) to drive the development of waste-derived product businesses such as chemical recycling business.

Reference URL