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Product Environmental Management(Eco-Products)

Basic Stance

Improving Environmental Friendliness and Efficiency in Product Functions

In consideration of the environment, DENSO believes that an advanced automotive society firmly maintains a balance between caring for the environment and enjoying the full potential of the vehicle. To realize an advanced automotive society, DENSO seeks to enhance functions such as safety, maneuverability, comfort, and other aspects while working to reduce the environmental impact throughout a vehicle’s life.

Specifically, we: (1) develop products that contribute to enhanced fuel efficiency in vehicles, such as hybrid systems, engine management systems, and idling stop systems; and (2) develop products that contribute to enhanced fuel efficiency in harmony with social infrastructures, such as car navigation systems.

All DENSO products aim to create new value that provides enhanced comfort and convenience for customers while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption, and the risk of chemical substance pollution. This rationale is based on the approach to environmental efficiency recommended at the 1992 Earth Summit.

Specific Initiatives

Product Development Techniques that Anticipate the Entire Life Cycle

Since 1995, DENSO has employed a product environmental management system that evaluates the environmental impact of a product in advance, during the planning and design stages, in order to minimize this impact.

At present, we ascertain the balance between product value and environmental impact using Factor Delta environmental factors and set targets for each product (Plan step). We then conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) to determine environmental friendliness and impact at the design stage (Do step). The extent to which these targets are met is checked at a Quality Assurance Meeting, a milestone in the design process (Check step), and the results are reflected in the development of upcoming models (Act step).

Environmental impact during the automotive component lifecycle

    • Environmental impact during the automotive component lifecycle

Operation of Factor Delta

The multiplier at which environmental efficiency for evaluated products is increased relative to standard products is known as an “improvement factor.”

DENSO has collaborated with the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association (JAPIA) to develop a reasonable method for calculating this factor for automotive components, and these efforts have been summarized in the series of Guidelines for Environmental Factors for Products. Based on Japan’s Basic Environmental Law, these guidelines provide a means for calculating indices linked to product value in the form of positive factors and negative factors related to global warming, resource depletion, and emissions of environmentally hazardous substances throughout the automotive part life cycle.

In conjunction with the above indices, in fiscal 2011 we collaborated with JAPIA to formulate the JAPIA life cycle inventory *1 calculation guidelines and calculation rules in an effort to efficiently calculate the environmental burden during the manufacture and use stage in the extremely complex supply chain for the automotive parts industry. These activities have garnered high praise, receiving the Award of the Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau (METI) at the LCA Japan Forum *2 Awards in March 2018.

*1 Life cycle inventory (LCI) is a method for calculating the level of environmental burden of a product throughout its life cycle.

*2 The LCA Japan Forum was established in 1995 to encourage and expand life cycle assessments (LCA)*3 and environmentally efficient business approaches and to realize sustainable economic and social growth. Please see the link below for details on the LCA Japan Forum Awards.

*3 Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a method for assessing the impact of a product on the environment based on the results determined through LCI.

Calculation of Factor Delta indices

    • Calculation of Factor Delta indices

Note: Indices must be calculated in an objective manner so that they can be accepted by a majority of people. DENSO has based its method on the concept of factors proposed in the 1990s by researchers worldwide and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Indices are calculated in a positive way by calculating the environmental efficiency of the product or service in question and evaluating technological progress in a forward-looking manner by means of the improvement factor.

Enhancement of Environmental Performance Utilizing Factor Delta
Overview of key product and function

Power control unit for hybrid automobiles

    • Power control unit for hybrid automobiles
Factor Delta
(Enhancement of environmental performance)
    • Factor Delta (Enhancement of environmental performance)
Principal value improvement

33% smaller than conventional units installed in the Toyota Prius due to cooling structure improvement and electric control circuit integration.

Principal impact on environment

Reduces switching loss and steady loss in insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) by approximately 20% compared with conventional units installed in the Toyota Prius