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Panasonic conducts Factor X-based evaluations of individual products by comparing them with FY2001 models which are used as benchmark products.
In principle, we express product functions as the numerator in environmental efficiency calculations, using the rated value of the main function of the product. When it is difficult to focus on only one function because the product has a complex of functions, we sometimes establish independent internal standards and carry out evaluations by allocating points to all the functions. Product life is expressed as standard operation hours or the number of times the product is used under normal use conditions. As for the denominators, the amount of green house gas (GHG) emissions over the life cycle of the product is used for calculating the GHG Factor and the total amount of non-circulating resources over the entire life cycle of the product (including both newly supplied resources and discarded resources) is used for calculating the Resource Factor.
In order to evaluate the environmental impact of a product, it is necessary to search for and acquire environmental impact information for each stage in the product life cycle, from extracting resources through to recycling and disposal. To enable product design staff to evaluate the environmental impact of a product in their daily design processes, we conduct detailed evaluations for the stage that has the most impact on the environment and conduct approximate evaluations for all other stages. We categorize product life cycle so that evaluation results are fed back to the product development process. The manufacturing stage is divided into materials, electronic components, packaging materials, operation manual preparation, and assembly to enable staff in charge of mechanical design, electrical design, package design, and operation manual preparation to reflect the evaluation results in their individual operations.
Product Function Calculation Methods
to the attributes, features, or the type of product to be evaluated. When it is difficult to focus on only one function because the product has a complex of functions, we establish independent internal standards and calculate product functions separately.
- Determine a single item that represents the main function of the product to be evaluated, and express its performance using the rated value.
- Enumerate items that express the main function of the product to be evaluated, carry out evaluations by allocating points to each item separately, and express product functions by means of the total score.
As shown below, we designate 'preserving food' as the product function of a refrigerator and select the internal volume (liters) as the figure representing the product function. As for lighting equipment and lamps, we designate 'the provision of light' as the product function and calculate the luminance in terms of total flux (lumens). With regard to PDP TVs, we evaluate their audio and video quality by totaling various factors such as video circuits, sound systems, tuners, etc. Wherever possible, we set criteria that enable objective and precise evaluations to be carried out in accordance with the rules specified below, not only for PDP TVs but also for other products. To calculate product functions, either of the following two methods can be selected according.
Methods for Calculating GHG Emissions over the Entire Product Life Cycle
As described below, in order to calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the entire product life cycle, we identify the types and quantity of materials and energy resources consumed at each stage in the life cycle, including production, transportation, use, recycling, and disposal, and then calculate emissions of GHGs such as CO2
Basically, we use inventory data from the database (JEMAI-LCA) provided by the Japan Environmental Management Association for Industry (JEMAI), but use the data independently developed by Panasonic for electronic components.
To calculate the amount of GHG emissions in the manufacturing stage, the mass of the basic constituent materials of product main bodies, accessories, packages, and operation manuals as well as electronic components, and the energy consumed during assembly processes, are all converted into GHG emissions on a per basic unit basis. Constituent materials and electronic component data are acquired from suppliers or by actual measurements of the mass of each component in a disassembled finished product.
Data accuracy, in some cases, is improved by supplementing supplier data with actual measurements. Energy consumption in the assembly processes is investigated at each factory and then converted into the energy consumption by a product. In the case of single-product manufacturing factories, the value is obtained by dividing the total energy consumption by the production quantity. In the case of multi-product manufacturing factories, the total energy consumption is allocated to individual products using their production quantity, price, mass, etc. Data accuracy is being improved by measuring the power consumption of clean rooms and manufacturing processes, as necessary.
In the transportation stage, the energy consumed during the transport of manufactured and waste products is totaled. As for manufactured products, energy consumption is calculated using the transport of products between the Kinki region, where many Panasonic factories are located, and the Tokyo metropolitan area, the largest market in Japan, as the standard (a 1,000-km round trip by truck between Tokyo and Osaka, assuming that trucks return unloaded). As for waste products, a 100-km round trip by truck (assuming that trucks return unloaded) around the Tokyo metropolitan area is considered the most likely scenario.
In the product use stage, calculations are carried out for the amount of energy consumed during both product operations and stand-by mode, the energy consumed for the manufacturing of the materials (consumables) consumed during product use such as water, detergent, recording media, and remote control batteries. GHG emission calculations are based on these data.
In the recycling and disposal stage, GHG emission calculations are based on the amount of energy required for product disassembly during the recycling processes. As with the calculation of energy consumption during the assembly processes, the consumption by a product is calculated on the basis of the total energy consumption at the recycling factory, handled quantity, mass of each product, etc. and this figure is then converted into GHG emissions of a product.
Methods Used to Calculate Non-circulating Resources over the Entire Life Cycle
The total mass of non-circulating resources over the entire life cycle of a product (including both newly supplied resources and discarded resources) is calculated by analyzing the materials used in each stage of procurement and manufacturing, use, and recycling and disposal, and then calculating their mass.
When calculating the total mass of non-circulating resources in the procurement and manufacturing stage, the calculation of the mass of non-circulating resources used in the basic constituent materials of the product's main bodies, accessories, packages, and operation manuals is used because there is little loss incurred in terms of yield or maintenance, repair, and operations (MROs) supplied during the assembly processes. Normally, out of the total resources supplied for product manufacturing, the mass of recycled materials or reused components actually used in products is measured and then used as the mass of circulating resources. With regard to metals, there are cases where the standard data provided in the 'Materials' category of JEMAI-LCA software, which applies the data of 35% for iron, 12% for copper, and 18% for aluminum are used.
In the product use stage, the mass of the materials (consumables) consumed during product use, such as detergent, recording media, and remote control batteries, are calculated as non-circulating resources, while water is considered a circulating resource.
In the recycling and disposal stage, only the mass of the resources that were already being reused or recycled when the product was designed or those resources for which technical and actual usage evidence is available are calculated as circulating resources. Other resources are calculated as non-circulating resources.
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