Water Resources Management

Water is an important resource that is indispensable for manufacturing pharmaceutical products. However, global water cycle abnormalities, intertwined with climate change and other problems, cause regional disasters such as droughts and floods.

In keeping with the Kyowa Kirin Group Environmental Policy, Kyowa Kirin Group is endeavoring to save water and conserve water sources in pursuit of a “society that values sustainable water resources", depicted as the society we want to create by 2050 in the Kirin Group Environmental Vision 2050.

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Water Resources
A society that values sustainable water resources.

Bring water, used as a raw material, to a sustainable state

  • Continue to reduce the volume of water use in group operational bases
  • Further promote water source forestation activities in Japan.

Solve problems with water in a way that suits the characteristics of basin regions where our business bases are located

  • Minimize risk during water-related disasters by reinforcing resilience and efficiency for supply chains.
  • Implement water source preservation activities and education programs to preserve water
    in raw material production areas, thereby solving water issues in the value chain.

Our Efforts to realize the Kirin Group Environmental Vision 2050

Kirin Group Environmental Vision 2050Open in new window

Kyowa Kirin Group Environmental Policy
The Kyowa Kirin Group Environmental Policy calls for water consumption to be reduced and waste reduced and recycled.

Targets and Results

We have heretofore been pursuing a 2030 target of reducing water usage by 30% from 2015 levels as a combined indicator for the pharmaceutical business (Kyowa Kirin Group) and the biochemical business (Kyowa Hakko Bio Group) to promote specific water-saving activities. In future, we will only be managing water usage in our pharmaceutical business to develop measures more closely tailored to the characteristics of our business to achieve reduced water usage, and in 2021 we set a new target of cutting water usage in Kyowa Kirin Group by 40% from 2019 levels no later than 2030.
We are also working to improve the efficiency of water use by setting and managing yearly unit water usage targets for individual sites. In 2020, Kyowa Kirin Group achieved a 21.1% year-on-year reduction in water consumption, far surpassing its target of a 1% year-on-year reduction.

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Target by 2020*1
Target Water Use:
30% reduction from 2015 level
Target Year 2030
Base Year 2015
Results in the Base Year 52,751 1000 m3
Boundary Global
Performances as of the end of 2020 43% reduction

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Target for 2021 and beyond
Target Water Use:
40% reduction from 2019 level
Target Year 2030
Base Year 2019
Results in the Base Year 2,229 1000 m3
Boundary Global
  1. *1:
    Combined targets were set for Kyowa Kirin Group and Kyowa Hakko Bio Group until 2020.

Addressing Water Risks

Kyowa Kirin Group assesses the water risks (water shortages, water stress, flooding, water source contamination) faced by its domestic and overseas production sites (five sites) on a five-point scale* based on their water consumption data, water risk assessment tools (WRI Aqueduct and WWF Water Risk Filter), and Internet/questionnaire surveys.

It was found as a result that the Ube Plant (Yamaguchi Prefecture) and Kyowa Kirin China Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Shanghai) were at higher risk than other production sites (4 on a 5-point scale). The Ube Plant takes its water from the Koto River, which is frequently subject to droughts, and a hazard map created by the city of Ube where the plant is located predicts flooding of up to five meters due to storm surges. For Kyowa Kirin China Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., the risk of water shortages in Shanghai, where its plant is located, as well as the area’s weak infrastructure and high risk of flooding were pointed out. As for our mainstay Takasaki Plant, although no risk was detected in this water risk assessment, inundation damage was envisioned in a site-specific inundation simulation conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
Based on these findings, we are working to avoid and minimize these risks by adopting “software” measures such as reviewing and formulating large-scale natural disaster BCPs at sites, as well as “hardware” measures aimed at inundation prevention (e.g., geographically distributing the storage of important production-related assets, waterproofing buildings, installing key equipment on off-ground floors or on high ground, and installing flood prevention walls) to avert damage to the equipment itself.

The total water intake at the Ube Plant and Kyowa Kirin China Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., determined by the water risk assessment to be subject to high risk of water shortages and water stress, for fiscal 2020 was 82,000 tons, amounting to about 4.7% of the Kyowa Kirin Group’s total water intake of 1,746,000 tons. However, the intake of high-quality fresh water needed for operation by these business establishments is currently sustainable, and their business activities are not adversely affected by water shortages and water stress.

  • *
    Water risk assessment result

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Name of site Water shortage
Water stress
Flooding Water source contamination Overall risk
Takasaki Plant Low Low Very Low Low
Fuji Site Medium Very Low Very Low Low
Ube Plant High High Very Low High
Kyowa Kirin China Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. High High Low High
Kyowa Iryo Kaihatsu Co., Ltd. Low Low Very Low Low

Assessment indicator: Very High, High, Medium, Low, Very Low

Efficient Use of Water

Kyowa Kirin Group is working to improve the efficiency of water use in its manufacturing processes. We are striving to reduce the amount of water we use by recycling and reusing water. More specifically, we are improving the quality of cooling tower cooling water, changing and optimizing drainage blow settings, and optimizing scrubber makeup water settings.

2016:52.8 thousand t-CO2(Kyowa Hakko Bio Group:49.6 thousand t-CO2、Kyowa Kirin Group:3.2 thousand t-CO2) Water use per unit of net sales:15.2100 million yen-sales revenue/2017:52.5 thousand t-CO2(Kyowa Hakko Bio Group:49.4 thousand t-CO2、Kyowa Kirin Group:3.1 thousand t-CO2) Water use per unit of net sales:14.9100 million yen-sales revenue/2018:48.5 thousand t-CO2(Kyowa Hakko Bio Group:46.2 thousand t-CO2、Kyowa Kirin Group:2.3 thousand t-CO2) Water use per unit of net sales:14.0100 million yen-sales revenue/2019:40.7 thousand t-CO2(Kyowa Hakko Bio Group:38.5 thousand t-CO2、Kyowa Kirin Group:2.2 thousand t-CO2) Water use per unit of net sales:0.73100 million yen-sales revenue/2020:30.3 thousand t-CO2(Kyowa Hakko Bio Group:28.5 thousand t-CO2、Kyowa Kirin Group:1.7 thousand t-CO2) Water use per unit of net sales:0.55100 million yen-sales revenue/2030 Target:37.0 thousand t-CO2/2019,2020(2019:2,229t-CO2、Water use per unit of net sales:0.73 million yen-sales revenue/2020:1.746t-CO2、Water use per unit of net sales:0.55100 million yen-sales revenue/2030 Target:1,337t-CO2)
Changes in water use*1,2,3
  1. *1:
    This data covers the plants and research laboratories of Kyowa Kirin Group and Kyowa Hakko Bio Group. From 2019 onwards, only Kyowa Kirin Group is covered due to the transfer of shares of Kyowa Hakko Bio Group. The dotted bar graph (actual results) shows the data for Kyowa Hakko Bio Group. The data for Kyowa Iryo Kaihatsu Co., Ltd. and Kyowa Kirin, Inc. has been disclosed since 2019.
  2. *2:
    The 2030 target is the combined target for Kyowa Kirin Group and Kyowa Hakko Bio Group, while the 2030 target shown in the expanded area is that for Kyowa Kirin Group alone.
  3. *3:
    IFRS consolidated sales are used to calculate the intensity.

Appropriate Drainage Management

We generated 1,826,000 m3 of wastewater in 2020, 1,735,000 m3 of which was drained into rivers. We have set voluntary management standards for draining water into rivers that are stricter than the drainage standards set by the competent government authorities, and we are constantly monitoring to prevent discharges of harmful substances and high-load wastewater. Specifically, Kyowa Kirin Group is aggressively upgrading its manufacturing processes and making capital investments in wastewater treatment facilities, and we have continued to reduce COD (chemical oxygen demand), nitrogen, and phosphorus, all wastewater pollution indicators. We are working to prevent water pollution by optimizing wastewater treatment for all types of wastewater, monitoring treatment status, and extracting metal-containing wastewater for industrial waste treatment to prevent discharges of high-load and toxic substances in wastewater.

We were not subject to any fines, legal orders, or other penalties for violating water intake/drainage- or other water-related regulations in 2020.

2000(COD emissions (left scale):11.6tons、Total nitrogen(left scale)8.8tons、Total phosphorus(right scale):0.54tons)/2016(COD emissions (left scale):1.4tons、Total nitrogen(left scale)5.0tons、Total phosphorus(right scale):0.40tons)/2017(COD emissions (left scale):1.7tons、Total nitrogen(left scale)4.3tons、Total phosphorus(right scale):0.35tons)/2018(COD emissions (left scale):2.3tons、Total nitrogen(left scale)4.0tons、Total phosphorus(right scale):0.34tons)/2019(COD emissions (left scale):2.3tons、Total nitrogen(left scale)4.0tons、Total phosphorus(right scale):0.51tons)/2020(COD emissions (left scale):2.6tons、Total nitrogen(left scale)5.3tons、Total phosphorus(right scale):0.57tons)
Changes in emissions of COD, total nitrogen, total phosphorus*1
  1. *1:
    This data covers Kyowa Kirin Group’s plants and research laboratories in Japan. Data for Kyowa Iryo Kaihatsu Co., Ltd. has been disclosed since 2019.