Panasonic to Monitor More Chemicals in Products

Dec 12, 2008
Yukiko Kanoh, Nikkei Electronics

The Panasonic Group will start collecting information on all of its products in respect to their inclusion of about 1,500 chemical substances that affect the global environment in December 2008.

This effort will involve the entire group including its overseas bases and be promoted throughout its supply chain through IT systems and collaboration with suppliers.

Behind this decision is the REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) regulation implemented in June 2007 by the EU. Under the regulation, manufacturers are required to disclose information on certain environmentally harmful substances contained in their products and submit it to related authorities. As many as 1,500 substances could fall under this regulation.

In response to this situation, the Panasonic Group decided to expand the range of chemical substances to be listed from the current 400 types in 27 substance groups to the 1,500 types that may fall under the REACH regulation.

In addition, it decided that the range of information on substances with an environmental risk would cover the entire world, including the areas where regulations on chemical substances have not been fully established. The group believes it is important that the range of information on harmful substances covers the products marketed throughout the world, not only the products intended for the EU, it said.

To collect this information, the Panasonic Group will use the communication system for chemical substances established by the Japan Article Management Promotion-Consortium (JAMP). This system will be employed for smooth information transmission in the group's supply chain consisting of about 9,000 companies including suppliers.

The Panasonic Group will renew the "GP-Web," a product chemical substance management system currently used for communication between the group and its suppliers, in May 2009 so as to make it accord with the system defined by the JAMP. In addition, the group will develop and supply "e-learning tools" in Japanese, English and Chinese to upstream suppliers in order to further promote its effort.