Prevention of Pollution and Resource Circulation

Action Plan

Risks Opportunities
  • Negative impacts on the natural environment including those related to resource circulation
  • Deterioration of relations with local communities and subsequent loss of social license to operate
  • Industry exhaustion due to increased price competition
  • Increased resource demand due to population growth and enhanced living standards in emerging economies
  • Creation of customer trust and new business opportunities through stable and sustainable supply chain practices
Materiality SDGs Targets Issues to Address Business Area Commitment Specific Approach Performance Indicators Degree of Progress
Textile Company
Ensure stable procurement and supply
Stable supply of industrial resources and materials Environmentally friendly materials (sustainable materials) such as recycled fibers We will accelerate initiatives for the recycled fiber business, not only to create new businesses but also to help solve the global problem of apparel waste and reduce petroleum-derived materials. Work aggressively on the recycled fiber business and lead the industry in promoting the use of sustainable materials. Commercialize the recycled fiber business as soon as possible. Increase the ratio of sustainable materials to materials we trade. We strengthened the supply chain from raw materials to products with a focus on sustainable raw materials. We launched the RENU project and are currently expanding the marketing of recycled polyester globally.
Machinery Company
Respect human rights
Improving hygiene infrastructures Environmental projects We will contribute to improving the hygiene environment, the development of economic activities, and the protection of the global environment through the appropriate treatment and effective use of waste. Expand environment projects to promote the appropriate use and treatment of the effective utilization of resources, and reduce the environmental impact. Expand and diversify the investment portfolio in the environment field.

Environment Field

We operate four waste incineration and power generation business projects in the U.K. In addition to this, we entered into a financing contract for a public-private partnership (PPP) waste disposal power generation project in Belgrade, Serbia in September 2019. We are aiming for operation in 2022.
Energy & Chemicals Company
Ensure stable procurement and supply
Efforts leading to solutions to social problems Plastic-related environmental response We will aim to establish a recycling and reuse model. We will supply recycled resin in collaboration with brand owners. Establishment of a recycling program and sales of recycled resin. * Because of new commitment, review will be conducted from the next fiscal year.

Policy and Basic Concept

Prevention of Pollution

ITOCHU's Environmental Policy states in item (3) that within its business activities, ITOCHU shall prevent and reduce environmental pollution caused by chemical substances and oils, reduce emissions of air pollutants, and reduce and properly process hazardous waste and wastewater. In addition, as stipulated in item (1) of our Environmental Policy, ITOCHU will fulfil its responsibility by enacting the following statement: We shall comply with international declarations, agreements, and treaties, as well as with the laws and regulations of the countries and regions in which we operate. We shall also comply with any other agreements that we have consented to.

Resource Circulation

As per item (4) of our Environmental Policy, ITOCHU "contributes to the formation of a circular society by promoting the sustainable use of resources (such as fossil fuels, minerals, food, animals and plants), resource conservation measures, and waste reduction and recycling across our business investments and the supply chain of our products and services."
On April 2018, we announced material ESG (environment, society, and governance) issues that must be managed for the sustainability of the business and society. Among them, the topic of "stable procurement and supply" stood out as one of our most important issues. We therefore aim to realize a circular society by incorporating environmental considerations, including biodiversity, making effective use of natural resources, and stably procuring and supplying resources in line with the demands of each country.

Ensuring Legal Compliance by the Chemicals Division

The chemicals and synthetic resins handled in the Chemicals Division and the products made with these are used in every aspect of our lives. This means that they are extremely useful. On the other hand, many of these chemicals are toxic or dangerous in nature. Therefore, they are regulated by a great many related laws and regulations in various settings (e.g., manufacture, sales, transportation and storage).
These chemicals are connected to serious problems concerning public health and environmental conservation. Accordingly, the laws and regulations on the trading of chemicals are diverse and extremely strict. The penalties for violating these laws and ordinances are also very heavy. Many chemicals require permission to be handled as products. However, if this permission is revoked as a result of violating laws and ordinances, it could seriously affect the business of the Chemicals Division.
There is an international trend to minimize risks at the level of the entire supply chain of chemicals. Against this background, both advanced nations and developing nations have started to introduce new regulations and to make large-scale revisions to existing regulations. Consequently, the regulatory environment in the handling of chemicals is expected to become ever stricter in the future.
With awareness of the above, we recognize the importance of compliance with laws and ordinances in addition to knowledge of products and the industry as a company that handles chemicals. Our basic policy is that each individual should engage in business in accordance with the requirements of laws and ordinances upon correctly understanding the laws and regulations concerning the products that they are in charge of handling.


ITOCHU has set the following three items as environmental targets for pollution prevention and resource circulation and is promoting initiatives to this effect. The qualitative goals and the results of our efforts in FYE 2020 are as follows.

  1. Prevention of environmental pollution and compliance with laws and regulations:
    We perform advance environmental risk assessments according to the ESG Checklist for Investments for all investment projects. We strive to improve the management level by checking the environmental management system, compliance and environmental performance situation through internal audits. We select group companies and then visit them to survey their environmental management situation.
  2. Promotion of awareness activities:
    We hold workshops and promote learning on the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Law and the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act for ITOCHU and group company employees. We set target values and then review results based on them.
  3. Resource conservation, promotion of resource circulation, and understanding of results
    ITOCHU set numerical targets for the reduction of the waste we discard, the promotion of recycling, and the reduction of our paper and water consumption even in our office activities in addition to considering the environment when performing our business activities. We also gradually expanded the scope of environmental performance data we collect from group companies in Japan and overseas offices to understand the actual situation.

In our Tokyo Headquarter building, we are implementing resource saving measures. Targets and indicators we track to manage our performance are noted in the table below. ITOCHU sets numerical targets for the reduction of the waste we discard, the promotion of recycling, and the reduction of our paper consumption.

  FYE 2020 (Results) Single Year Target Target for the Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2021
Volume of waste discarded by our Tokyo Headquarters

Reduction of 27% compared to FYE 2011

Reduction of 10% compared to FYE 2011

Reduction of 20% compared to FYE 2011

Recycling rate in our Tokyo Headquarters




Paper consumption in our Tokyo Headquarters

Reduction of 26% compared to FYE 2011

Reduction of 3% compared to FYE 2011

Reduction of 3% compared to FYE 2011

Structures and Systems

Due Diligence Regarding Pollution Prevention and Resource Circulation in Business Investment Projects

We assess in advance the impact on the market, society and the environment by business investment projects in Japan and overseas engaged in by ITOCHU and our Japanese subsidiaries. We do this with the ESG Checklist for Investment, which includes assessment criteria to evaluate performance on pollution prevention and resource circulation among potential investments. We make requests to external specialist organizations to conduct investigations in advance for projects requiring a professional point of view. The project is then only undertaken upon confirming that there are no problems in the results of those investigations.

ITOCHU considers ensuring stable procurement and supply to be a material issue. We work to effectively utilize and to ensure stable procurement and supply of resources according to demand in each country with consideration for the environment (e.g., biodiversity). In doing this, we are aiming for a recycling-oriented society.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations in the Divisions Handling Chemical Substances

At ITOCHU, the Chemicals Division has cross-functional oversight of our management of chemical substances. This includes oversight of the sales departments that handle chemical substances, which sit within the Chemicals Division, as well as relevant subsidiaries that handle chemical substances. In addition, the Chemicals Division has oversight of any sales divisions and subsidiaries outside of their direct control if chemical substances are used.
We strive to comply with laws and regulations through a management method based on a combination of thorough inquiries to specialized external consulting organizations and the use of a centralized management system to track environmental legal compliance. The management system was developed internally in 2016 and allows us to confirm and record applicable laws and measures at the chemical substance level for each product. We also provide training and educational opportunities to relevant sales staffs, supplemented by e-learning materials and handbooks that summarize the main points of relevant laws.
The external consulting organization that we currently employ for chemical substance management is Techno Hill Co., Ltd. (Headquartered in Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Kazuyuki Suzuki). Techno Hill has comprehensive knowledge regarding the field of chemical substances and provides us with informed advice on management systems, applicable laws and regulations for each product, and general trends movements in the industry.

Management Structure for Emergency Response and Accident Response

ITOCHU responds as below in accordance with our accident and emergency response regulations.
If an accident occurs during the handling or storage of toxic or hazardous substances, we respond as follows in line with the Pharmaceutical Key Toxic and Hazardous Substance Risk Prevention Procedures Manual.

  • We will make reports as necessary according to the emergency contact network in the above manual. In addition, we will take prompt action to limit the risks caused by toxic and hazardous substances.
  • In the event of splashing, leaking, outflow, seepage or penetration underground, we will immediately notify the health care center, police station or fire department to that effect when there is a fear of a risk to the health of an unspecified or large number of people. At the same time, we will take measures to prevent risks to health.


Food Recycling

ITOCHU makes regular reports on the amount of food we discard and the amount we recycle in Japan to comply with the Food Recycling Law. We are striving to suppress the generation of waste and to promote recycling (e.g. conversion into feed) in line with the reference rate (recycling rate target).

Food Recycling Rate
FYE 2017 FYE 2018 FYE 2019 FYE 2020
Quantity recycled

Waste volume generated (Unit: t)





Amount of recycling (Unit: t)





Waste volume (Unit: t)





Target (recycling rate target by individual food related operator)

Reference rate





Percentage recycled

Recycling rate





  • In FYE 2018, 1,001.0 tons were discarded due to a warehouse fire.
  • FYE 2021 recycling rate target: 79.8%

Number One Trader in the World for the Cement Substitute of Blast Furnace Slag

Structure Made with Blast Furnace Slag

Blast furnace slag is a by-product of the steelmaking process. Mixing and using it with cement as a cement substitute makes it possible to save natural resources (e.g., limestone – the raw material of cement). It is an environmentally friendly product that can reduce the CO2 generated during manufacturing by about 40%* compared with when making concrete only with cement.
It is highly durable against seawater and the steel material in it is less likely to suffer corrosion over a long period of time. Therefore, it is widely used in large civil engineering projects at ports.
We have been selling blast furnace slag produced in Japan and overseas in around 10 countries since about 20 years ago. We handle of volume of blast furnace slag that makes us the number one trader in the world for it. In the future, we will build continuous and stable distribution channels and consider investing and participating in the slag business.

* Calculated at a 55:45 ratio for cement and blast furnace slag

Cooperation with Stakeholders

Compliance with the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law

ITOCHU understands our own manufacturing and import volume of containers and packaging every year to recycle containers and packaging. We then pay a recycling fee to the Japan Containers and Packaging Recycling Association. The aim of this is to contribute to promoting the formation of a recycling-orientated society as a specified business operator prescribed by the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law.

The recycling fee we pay every year is as below.


Fiscal Year Recycling Fee / Contribution Fee Glass Bottles PET Bottles Paper Containers and Packaging Plastic Containers and Packaging Total
Colorless Brown Other Colors
FYE 2018










Total amount





FYE 2017













Total amount






FYE 2016













Total amount






Initiative Participation (Activities Through Business and Industry Groups)

We are participating in the Global Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Safety – an environment and energy related committee of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren). We are working to realize an environmental policy compatible with the economy (e.g., through promotion of voluntary action plans, and measures for global warming, waste and recycling and environmental risks including water management). We are also participating in the Global Environment Committee of the Japan Foreign Trade Council. We are striving to build a low-carbon society, construct a recycling-orientated society, and to support environmental related laws and regulations. The goals set by the Global Environment Committee are as follows.

Reduction target for FYE 2021 in domestic business activities (trading company industry, December 2017 setting)

  • Strive to reduce the total final disposal amount in FYE 2021 by 80% compared to FYE 2001.
  • Aim for a recycling rate of 86% or more in FYE 2021.

Performance Data

Waste Volume and Waste Recycling Rate

The table below gives the waste volume generated in the Tokyo Headquarters, group companies in Japan, overseas offices and overseas group companies from FYE 2016 to FYE 2019. ITOCHU promotes the separation of garbage. Our Tokyo Headquarters has set a single year target of reducing its waste volume by 10% compared with FYE 2011 levels. We are working to reduce our waste volume through initiatives such as 2-in-1 and double-sided printing. The Tokyo Headquarters won the Minato Ward Waste Reducing Business Operator Commendation in FYE 2015.

  FYE 2016 FYE 2017 FYE 2018 FYE 2019 FYE 2020
Tokyo headquarters❖ Waste volume (Unit: t)






Waste non-recycled






Waste recycled






Recycling rate (Unit: %)






Group companies in Japan Waste volume (Unit: t)






Overseas offices Waste volume (Unit: t)






Overseas group companies Waste volume (Unit: t)






Grand total of ITOCHU Group Waste volume (Unit: t)






Waste non-recycled






Waste recycled






Recycling rate (Unit: %)






  • The waste volume of the Tokyo Headquarters includes the amount sold as valuables.
  • Due to the increase in the number of companies subject to aggregation, the figure for FYE 2019 has increased significantly compared to FYE 2018.

Hazardous Waste

(Unit: t)

  FYE 2020
Grand total of ITOCHU Group Hazardous waste


Waste Disposal Cost

(Unit: 1,000 yen)

  FYE 2018 FYE 2019 FYE 2020
Tokyo headquarters Payment to waste disposal company




Emissions of NOx, SOx, and VOC (Air Pollutants)

(Unit: t)

  FYE 2018 FYE 2019 FYE 2020
Grand total of ITOCHU Group NOx (Nitrogen Oxides)




SOx (Sulfur Oxides)




VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)




Paper Consumption

The table below gives our paper consumption for FYE 2016 to FYE 2019 (This is for the Tokyo Headquarters in FYE 2016 and for the total of all ITOCHU bases in Japan from FYE 2017 to FYE 2019). Our Tokyo Headquarters has set a target of reducing its paper consumption by 3% compared with FYE 2011 levels. We are working on reducing our paper consumption by going paperless and ending the use of unnecessary paper.

(Unit: Thousand sheets (A4 equivalent))

  FYE 2016 FYE 2017 FYE 2018 FYE 2019 FYE 2020
Copy paper consumption






E-learning Concerning Compliance with Chemicals-related Laws and Regulations

Legal Compliance Status

  • There were no major violations (e.g., license suspensions)

Results of E-learning on Laws and Regulations Related to Chemical Substances

  • We hold chemicals related law and regulation e-learning every year
    Chemicals Division alone (participants: 130 / period: October 1 to 31, 2019)
  • We also give information on the same e-learning to the Chemicals Division related Group companies, each division company in ITOCHU other than the Energy & Chemicals Company and also its related Group companies

Handbook on Chemical-related Regulations


The first edition was issued in 2012, and a revised edition was released in 2016 and is currently being distributed. There are 32 laws and regulations covered in this handbook, each of which outlines important aspects of compliance requirements. The purpose of this handbook is to educate our employees, especially new recruits and sales personnel, on the laws and regulations specific to the chemical industry.

Scope of Aggregation

○:in scope of aggregation

  Waste Volume and Recycling Rate Hazardous Waste Waste Disposal Cost Emissions of NOx, SOx, and VOC Paper Consumption
Tokyo headquarters

Osaka headquarters

Branches and business facilities in Japan*1 The number of offices including domestic branches: FYE 2016: 13, FYE 2017: 13, FYE 2018: 11, FYE 2019: 13, FYE 2020: 12

Group companies in Japan*2 The number of target companies: FYE 2016: 70, FYE 2017: 65, FYE 2018: 208, FYE 2019: 220, FYE2020: 238

Overseas offices The number of overseas offices: FYE 2016: 16, FYE 2017: 16, FYE 2018: 15, FYE 2019: 30, FYE2020: 29

Overseas group companies*2 The number of target companies: FYE 2016: 44, FYE 2017: 46, FYE 2018: 299, FYE 2019: 282, FYE2020: 286

Exclusion Companies expected to be sold within the next five years held for investment management purposes are not included in the scope of the data. Moreover, non-manufacturing site offices with 10 or fewer employees are quantitatively insignificant. Accordingly, they are not included in the scope of the data.
  1. The other business facilities cover business facilities owned or leased by ITOCHU (except facilities for residences).
  2. The group companies in Japan and overseas cover consolidated subsidiaries directly invested in by ITOCHU (as of March 31, 2017) for FYE 2016 to FYE 2017. All consolidated subsidiaries are covered since FYE 2018 (coverage 100%).

Independent Assurance

Independent Assurance Report (1.5MB)[PDF]: The data below marked with a ❖ is independently assured through KPMG AZSA Sustainability Co., Ltd. This assurance conforms to the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 and 3410 of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).
❖: Total electricity consumption and total CO2 emissions attributable to the domestic bases of ITOCHU corporation (business facilities of the Tokyo Headquarters, the Osaka Headquarters, branches in Japan, domestic branches and other business facilities), and the waste volume, waste non-recycled, waste recycled, recycling rate, water consumption, gray water production volume and wastewater volume for the Tokyo Headquarters.