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 Lifecycle

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 (deployed sequentially since 2007) and set targets for each product (Plan step). We then conduct a lifecycle 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 (Action step).

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 a 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 fiscal 2013, in conjunction with JAPIA, we formulated JAPIA life cycle inventory calculation guidelines and developed a calculation tool to enable more efficient calculation of environmental impacts during the production phase in the extremely complex supply chain for the automotive parts industry. Using this in combination with the above indices provides clearer evaluations.

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 Factor Delta
(Enhancement of environmental performance)
Principal value improvement Principal impact on environment
Power control unit for hybrid automobiles
33% smaller than conventional units installed in the Toyota Prius due to cooling structure improvement and electric control circuit integration. Reduces switching loss and steady loss in insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) by approximately 20% compared with conventional units installed in the Toyota Prius

【TOPICS】Received the LCA Japan Forum’s Chairman Award at the 13th LCA Japan Forum Awards

The Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan was established in 1995 in order to encourage and expand life cycle assessments (LCA)* and environmentally efficient business approaches and to realize sustainable economic and social growth. The Company’s DENSO Eco Vision 2025, which strives for environmental management from a life cycle perspective, was evaluated highly by the Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan, as was its support for activities to encourage LCA and other environment-related activities.

* Life cycle assessment refers to a method for quantitatively and objectively assessing the environmental impact generated in each stage of a product’s life cycle from resource procurement to manufacture, shipping, use, disposal, and recycling.