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Sumika Technology Co., Ltd.

Turning Wastewater into Eco-Ponds


Turning Wastewater into Eco-Ponds

Source:Domingo Chung

With a fully localized corporate social responsibility program and exhaustively specific digital reports, Sumika sets the CSR standard for foreign companies in Taiwan.



Turning Wastewater into Eco-Ponds

By Jerry Lai
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 478 )

Entering the Northern Zone of the Southern Taiwan Science Park to one side of Huandong Rd. near the high speed rail tracks sits Delta Electronics Inc.'s manufacturing facility, recently recognized as the nation's first "diamond grade" green building. What fewer people notice on the other side, nestled behind a vast expanse of green space and an eco-pond is Japanese company Sumika Technology Co., Ltd.'s new facility, completed in July.

Its comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports have allowed Sumika to storm into the intensely competitive CommonWealth Magazine Corporate Citizen roll of honor. The key in putting Sumika over the top lies in its relatively comprehensive local CSR efforts and its painstakingly thorough reporting on those efforts, among which its performance in overall environmental protection endeavors put the company into the vanguard in the foreign companies category.

Three years ago, Sumika led all of the more than 50 Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. subsidiaries worldwide in publishing an exhaustively comprehensive digital report on its local corporate social responsibility efforts in Taiwan, this year obtaining "G3.1" certification from third-party organization the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

"Most foreign companies aren't quite so specific when it comes to their local Taiwan figures. Sumika has set the new standard," says an appreciative Niven Huang, secretary general of the Taiwan Business Council for Sustainable Development and a member of the panel of judges.

The report allows all interested parties to clearly see that Sumika last year achieved an 81 percent recycling rate on the wastewater generated from its manufacturing processes, and demonstrated clear improvements in indices measuring PH values and suspended particulate matter in its annual effluent and monthly boron concentrate levels.

Additionally, as its environmental accounting clearly discloses, Sumika has over the past two years invested more than NT$130 million in environmental protection measures, and it estimates that its newly constructed third Taiwanese plant will save 8.59 million kilowatt hours of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by 4,777 tons. Last year, an economic windfall of NT$660 million was yielded thanks to the company's recycling efforts.

Moreover, the specific efforts and objectives of the executives responsible and the views of outside consultants are clearly noted within the contents of the reports.

Parking Lot Spawns Eco-Pond

Entering the Sumika campus, aside from the massive purified water re-circulation pipelines, the visitor's attention is similarly drawn to an eco-pond seldom associated with a chemical plant.

According to park regulations, a multi-story parking structure should have been built on the space occupied by the eco-pond. Company president C.M. Huang felt that with the plant's extensive automation, introduction of shuttle buses and promotion of carpooling, there was really no need for so many parking spaces, so why not build an eco-pond instead?

After constant negotiation with park officials and an investment of millions, pipelines carrying plant wastewater and storm runoff were completely separated and the rainwater was allowed to trickle in and form a pond where once there was none.

Birds, fish and plankton gradually began to inhabit the pond and the regulating effects of the water ultimately cooled the surrounding air by a degree or two. The efficacy of the plant's wastewater treatment efforts could also be verified by testing the pond's waters. Should a problem arise, the surrounding environment would be the first to know.

And it's not just in environmental protection that the company is locally responsible. Sumika was one of a rare few foreign companies that continued to up its Taiwan investments during the financial crisis, indicating not merely its confidence in the solid foundations of Taiwan's optoelectronics industry, but also demonstrating its local corporate commitment.

Translated from the Chinese by Brian Kennedy

About the Survey

CommonWealth Magazine's 2011 Survey of Taiwan's Top Corporate Citizens referred to international indicators and evaluation methods used by the U.N. Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the U.S. Dow Jones Sustainability Index to select Taiwan's best corporate citizens based on four major categories: corporate governance, corporate commitment, community involvement and environmental protection.

Corporate governance mainly gauges the independence of the board of directors and a company's transparency.

Corporate commitment considers a company's commitment to consumers, how it nurtures and treats its employees, and its commitment to innovation and R&D.

Community involvement measures whether a company has taken a long-term interest in a specific issue and made an impact in that area.

Environmental protection involves whether a company has tangible goals and strategies to protect the environment and save energy.

The survey was divided into three main categories: large companies, with revenues over NT$10 billion, medium-sized companies, with revenues under NT$10 billion, and foreign companies.

It was conducted in three stages between May 23, 2011 and July 20, 2011. In the first stage, CommonWealth Magazine selected publicly listed companies (including those on the Taiwan stock exchange, the over-the-counter market, and the emerging stock markets) that were profitable for the last three years. Foreign companies in Taiwan were chosen from CommonWealth Magazine's survey of Taiwan's Top 1000 Enterprises or recommended by experts and scholars.

In the second stage, 76 companies (40 large, 18 medium-sized, and 18 foreign enterprises) were chosen as finalists based on responses to a questionnaire provided by the companies. In the final stage, a panel of 14 judges with high degrees of credibility and social standing selected the CommonWealth Magazine Top 50 Corporate Citizens.

The survey was design and conducted by the CommonWealth Magazine Survey Center