1. Top
  2. Sustainability
  3. Environment
  4. Water Resources

Water Resources

Our basic approach and strategy

Many Unicharm products are consumables essential to a clean and healthy lifestyle. At the same time, our business development is closely related to the global environment through the use of natural resources and the generation of waste. Based on the above, we believe our role and responsibility in reducing environmental impact are significant and continue to expand with each passing year as our business grows.

With regard to water usage, we believe that it is essential to properly understand the local situation where each of our production sites is located and utilize limited water resources as effectively as possible. We are also implementing efforts to reduce water usage by 1% on a yearly basis.

Risk and Opportunity in Water Resources

We perceive there is a risk of a decline in operating capacity due to a destabilization of supply of forest-derived resources (paper, pulp, etc.) resulting from the depletion of water resources. We conducted a medium-to-long term water risk assessment using the Aqueduct Overall Water Risk map (Aqueduct), a tool of the World Resources Institute (WRI), for suppliers operating in particularly high-risk river basins and requested them to thoroughly manage water resources and work to alleviate the risk.

On the other hand, we perceive an opportunity for our company is the fact that our products do not use water at the time of use and disposal. The strengths of our products are demonstrated in areas with droughts and disaster areas where lifeline services have not been established. We will implement activities to promote purchases by actively engaging in such settings.

Management structure

Four times a year at the ESG Committee meeting chaired by the Representative Director, plans and progress on environmental activities, quality issues, social issues and other important governance matters are shared. Specific plans are reported using “Eco Plan 2020” as the baseline, in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) announced in June 2017.

Identifying and Responding to Water Risk Using Aqueduct

Unicharm's water usage for in-house processes consists of (1) approximately 60% in the manufacturing division for tissue which makes up absorbent materials (90% water recycling achieved in the applicable processes); and (2) approximately 25% in the pet food production division, with use of cooling water at other sites (all in Japan).
A decline in operating capacity due to a shortage of water has not occurred at the aforementioned sites in the past 20 years.
According to our Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) throughout the entire supply chain, water usage for the procurement of materials has increased.


We recognize that it is important to assess water resource usage in collaboration with local areas to continue these businesses. Going forward, we will continue to implement medium-to-long term water risk analysis using Aqueduct from the perspectives of assessing the current risk and studying the future risk.

The results of the analysis in 2017 showed that the current water risk is either medium – high (2 – 3) or low – medium (1 – 2). The results also showed that there is an extremely high possibility of water stress from 2030 onward.


The Non-woven Fabric Manufacturing Division in Indonesia which has a medium-high (2 – 3) water risk achieved about 70% water circulation and regularly reports water discharge volume and quality (tested value) to the local government.

Reducing water usage

We were able to achieve a year-on-year reduction of about 4% in fiscal 2019, exceeding our original target of 1% due to the results of reduction efforts at each site.

Changes in water usage

Unit: thousand tons

2018 results2019 results2020 targets
Total water intake 6,008 5,768 5,710
Domestic (Japan) water intake 5,082 4,899 4,850
All regions 5,082 4,899 4,850
Water resource intake Surface water
(rivers, lakes, ponds)
159 151 150
Groundwater 1,920 1,966 1,945
Other water sources 3,003 2,782 2,755
Of these, locations that have specified facilities under the Water Pollution Prevention Act 3,413 3,201 3,170
Water resource intake Surface water
(rivers, lakes, ponds)
7 8 8
Groundwater 403 411 407
Other water sources 3,003 2,782 2,755
Overseas* water intake 926 869 860
Applicable regions 926 869 860
Water resource intake Surface water
(rivers, lakes, ponds)
926 869 860
Groundwater 0 0 0
Other water sources 0 0 0
Of these, areas with high water stress 516 454 450
Water resource intake Surface water
(rivers, lakes, ponds)
516 454 450
Groundwater 0 0 0
Other water sources 0 0 0
  • The applicable scope of “overseas” here is Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the United States.

Water quality, soil contamination and offensive odor

Water quality is evaluated regularly for conformity to Unicharm's proprietary standards and the provisions of relevant laws and regulations. In 2019, there were no violations of the company's proprietary standards or relevant laws and regulations. In addition, applicable factories are providing legally required reports to the government as required. There were no accidents linked to soil contamination or offensive odor.
Details regarding biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) are reported in the Site Data section.

Wastewater and water usage

Unicharm carries out tertiary treatment before discharging wastewater with the aim of improving water quality to meet government stipulated wastewater treatment standards (water quality at each site is stated in Site Data).
We measure the volume of wastewater at some sites, and overall reporting consists of water withdrawal = wastewater volume + consumption volume + product consumption (GRI 303-4 and 5). Wastewater is primarily generated in the tissue manufacturing process and the pet food manufacturing process. Water usage is due to the paper sand® manufacturing process and evaporation of cooling water at factories.
In 2019, the Unicharm Group generated 3.98 million tons of wastewater and steam.

Obtaining a B- rating in CDP* water program

Unicharm supports CDP efforts for water conservation and cooperates with its survey. Five hundred companies selected from the FTSE Japan Index participate in this survey. In 2019, Unicharm received a B- rating. This indicated that our company-wide management initiatives on water have been recognized. Going forward, Unicharm will use the rating to clarify issues and continue to carry out activities that are even more mindful of water resources.

  • Carbon Disclosure Project: An international NGO that works to realize a sustainable society by conducting global surveys on the environment and by disclosing information

Share On