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Sony - Closed Loop Recycling

Added on 22-03-2013

Company

Sony

Year

2008

Business challenge

In view of society's need to evolve towards a sustainable use of natural resources, the consumption of virgin resources for the production of material goods is drawing more attention towards a wide variety of stakeholders. The diminishing availability of these resources is recognized around the world as one of society's and businesses’ - such as Sony - biggest challenges.

Sony has a corporate responsibility to ensure that virgin resources are used efficiently and a way to do that is by designing products and packaging that are environmentally friendly. This is Sony's first priority. This is also why the company has, at the local level, begun to investigate ways to reduce the demand for virgin resources by re-using materials that once were considered waste.

Description

Sony’s Closed Loop Recycling program – called the "G0 Recycling Program" - focuses on using waste as a substitute for the raw materials required for production.

In Europe, Sony recycles approximately 98% of the waste from its sites, on an annual basis. Prior to the implementation of the G0 project, Sony’s waste was solely recycled into materials or energy used by other organizations. Once the waste - consisting mainly of packaging materials, received along with parts from suppliers - had left Sony facilities, it was beyond the control of the company.

With the implementation of the G0 Recycling Program, Sony - in cooperation with local business partners - went a step further by re-introducing key waste materials into its manufacturing and packaging operations. One of the aims was also to increase the awareness of designers to ensure that recycled materials would be considered from the beginning - both from own respective sites and in cooperation with other sites.

The key objectives of the G0 Recycling Program are:

• Reduction of the overall amount of virgin materials consumed each year

• Reduction of waste disposal

Impact

Although, the G0 Recycling Program has had a positive impact on Sony's operations, it is vital to continue to improve to ensure that the needed materials match the materials that are available to the company. To do so, different business areas such as engineering, design and procurement will have to work together to ensure that they are moving towards the same goal.

The range of materials included in the G0 process, as well as the way they are utilized, will also have to be further reviewed. Sony is recognized for its strong ability to innovate. As the company moves forward, Sony’s products have to be developed and manufactured using materials that previously were not considered appropriate for certain products.

To accelerate Sony’s program, and to increase the use of recycled materials, the company is also keen to learn from others’ ideas and experiences.

Challenges/Lessons learned:

Since the introduction of the G0 Recycling Program throughout Europe in 2008, a number of Sony's manufacturing facilities have implemented the Closed Loop Recycling Program. This has significantly reduced the amount of virgin materials Sony consumes within Europe, while reducing the total amount of waste disposal at the same time.

The program dictates that resources must be sourced from business partners in surrounding areas. Sony’s partnerships with locally owned and operated businesses have allowed the company to strengthening its ties with the communities where it operates.

Additionally, support from employees – particularly from product and packaging designers - is essential for the project’s success. The G0 Recycling Program has demonstrated how discussions and ideas are not limited to local teams or locations. The communication networks within Sony have allowed employees throughout Europe - but also globally - to share ideas and experiences, thus ensuring that the program remains dynamic and continuously growing.

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