Presently, the international standardization of environmental management tools is being studied as part of the ISO14000 series. Because these tools are used for sustainable developments, we believe they should be positively incorporated in the design and development of automobiles.
Among them, the environmental management system (EMS) is used for establishing and managing the environmental policies and environmental objectives/targets in terms of the influences exerted on the environment by every possible activity, product, and service of a given organization. We are certain that the adoption of the EMS and the advancement of the system's continuous improvements will lead to improving the environmental performance of our activities and products.
Starting in 1996, we adopted the EMS that meet with ISO14001, primarily in our production sites. So far, four of our major vehicle plants have completed their certification registration.
Within its total life cycle, the use phase of the automobile is extremely long. Moreover, the automobile exhibits the characteristic that it directly exerts influences on the environment at this phase.
Therefore, we have created and adopted a product EMS, which focuses on the use phase and the end of life phase, which is one of the most important issues that we face today.
Thus, through the application of the EMS that encompasses the total life cycle, the systematic environmental management of product development and design becomes possible.
Meanwhile, the LCA is a tool that is used for effecting quantitative evaluations of individual products in terms of their environmental issues and the effectiveness of improvements, thus providing a piece of information that helps to ascertain the best direction for design and development efforts.
This paper provides a description of the product EMS and touches on our thoughts concerning the effective utilization of the EMS and the LCA in eco design.