Vehicles are convenient for transportation and logistics. On the other hand, vehicles have a major impact on the environment. The production of automobiles consumes resources including water and fossil fuels, and also uses chemical substances that are a pollution risk to the environment. While driving, vehicles consume fossil fuels such as gasoline and light oil. In addition, they emit gases such as CO2, which is the cause of the global warming and air pollution. Mitsubishi Motors, as a corporation that produces and sells vehicles, has been promoting environmental initiatives with a particular emphasis on responding to climate change and energy issues caused by global warming, conservation of water resources, resource circulation and prevention of environmental pollution.
Responding to Climate Change and Energy Issues
There are concerns that climate change from global warming may cause natural disasters, rising sea levels, desertification, and food shortage crises. It is believed that impacts on biodiversity and damage to the human body caused by these phenomena will eventually put the very existence of human life in peril. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming after the 20th century was highly likely attributable to human activities.
Vehicles consume fossil fuels and emit CO2, a cause of global warming, throughout their lifecycle, from their production phase to their driving phase and on to their disposal phase. Most CO2 emissions by vehicles occur during driving, so we anticipate regulations on vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions will be stricter in each country and region. At the same time, due to the increasing tendencies for people to seek environmentally-friendly products, we believe that fuel economy performance will become more important when selecting a car. In addition, there is a possibility that fossil fuels will be unavailable for use as a result of the need to mitigate climate change, which would present fossil fuel procurement risks.
Based on the above, the company is prioritizing effective energy use and the prevention of global warming, both of which act against climate change. The company released our “Environmental Vision 2020” in 2009, and we have been working on decreasing our energy consumption and reducing our CO2 emissions for a pleasing and low-carbon society. We have set a CO2 emissions reduction target and are reducing energy consumption by promoting the creation of electric-powered vehicles, improving fuel economy, increasing efficiency in our business activities, and introducing energy-efficient devices.
Furthermore, in response to increasing natural disasters due to climate change, we believe a power feeding function of electric-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles such as V2X*1 will be one of the adaptation strategies.
*1 V2X : This refers to supplying power from the drive batteries of electric-powered vehicles to houses, buildings, or communities.
Conservation of Water Resources
Concern for the conservation of water resources has been increasing over the years throughout the world. We believe it is important to consider the impact derived from water withdrawal and discharge on the environment in regions with high water risk. Based on the above, we investigate water risk in each country and region, and are working on initiatives such as promoting the use of recycled water to reduce water consumption.
Resource Circulation Initiatives
The consumption of resources around the world tends to increase due to the rise in the world population and economic growth in emerging countries. In the production of vehicles, many resources are used, and in next generation vehicles such as electric-powered vehicles, in particular, many scarce resources including rare earth materials are used. Therefore, there are risks from resource depletion and difficulty in procurement.
Based on the above, the company regards effective resource use as our task and promotes initiatives for recycling and resource conservation. More specifically, we design products with a consideration for recycling and carry out recycling of end-of-life vehicles. In production, we work on the reduction of externally disposed waste.
Environment Pollution Prevention
Air pollution by nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter (PM), along with soil and water pollution caused by heavy metals in waste water, impact human health and biodiversity. Long-term risks of substances left in the environment without decomposing have become a significant concern.
Most of vehicles emit NOx and SOx due to engine combustion while driving. In production, in addition to emissions of NOx and SOx from combustion in boilers, volatile organic compounds (VOC) are emitted from the use of paint and solvents. Furthermore, since materials in vehicles contain environmentally hazardous substances, there is a risk of pollution throughout the entire lifecycles from production to disposal.
We believe that stricter regulations on the emissions performance of vehicles and management of environmentally hazardous substances will be enforced in each country and region going forward. We also believe it is important to consider the impact on the environment of waste water derived from business activities in regions with high water risk.
Based on the above, we have been promoting initiatives for the prevention of environmental pollution as a priority. For products, we are focusing on the development and diffusion of low-emission gas vehicles and the management and reduction of environmentally hazardous substances in materials. In production, we have been working on the reduction of VOC emissions released in the use of paints and solvents.