Kao Japan Company Kao Worldwide

HOME > Community > Corporate citizenship activities

Corporate citizenship activities [EC7]

Kao aims to enrich people’s lives and contribute to global sustainability through its social contribution activities.

2015 activities

Three of Kao’s ongoing activities reached important milestones in 2015. 2015 marked the 10th year of implementation of the Supporters of “Kao Creating Forests for Everyone” program, and to mark this anniversary a special commemorative brochure was compiled, summarizing the project’s achievements so far. It is also 10 years since Kao began providing support for the Japan Science and Engineering Challenge (JSEC) scheme; a questionnaire survey was administered to past winners and award-winning schools, to verify the benefits that JSEC has provided. The fifth anniversary of the launch of the Kao Social Entrepreneurship Schools was marked with the issuing of a special report, and an exchange meeting that brought together social entrepreneurs and Kao employees.
In addition, Kao continues to implement social contribution activities in countries throughout the world. For example, when PT. Kao Indonesia Chemicals relocated its factory, it arranged for the installation of underground water pumps, in order to ensure that local residents could continue to benefit from the clean water that the factory had provided.


As part of our contribution to enriching people’s lives and contribute to global sustainability, Kao has adopted the theme of “Creating an Environment and Developing Human Capital to Nurture the Next Generation,” identifying three key domains—Environment, Education, and Community—upon which to concentrate its activities. To promote social contribution activities across the entire group, we place particular emphasis on co-existence and co-prosperity with local communities.

Activity Guidelines
  • Conduct activities that play a role in nurturing the next generation
  • Conduct activities aimed at contributing to the development of regional communities and culture
  • Conduct activities that protect and nurture the environment to promote a sustainable society
  • Conduct activities that promote a barrier-free society as a form of social support
  • Conduct activities that make effective use of Kao’s resources
  • Create an atmosphere in which every employee can participate in community activities as a good citizen

Overview of Kao’s corporate citizenship activities

Overview of Kao’s corporate citizenship activities


Supporting the education of the children, the bearers of the future in our society

With the aim of helping children to enjoy clean, healthy lives while demonstrating concern for the global environment, Kao is working with schools to provide an education program: hand washing lesson, house cleaning lesson, environmental lesson, and Universal Design (UD) lesson* which are closely related to Kao’s business.
In 2015, the four lessons involved a total of about 1,100 Kao Group employees, who visited 223 schools in 45 prefectures and taught about 17,000 children. A total of 75,000 children have participated since the program’s launch in 2009. Employees from many divisions at Kao Group companies participate in this program, and say that this education program is a good opportunity for them to interact with local communities and to learn more about social contribution.
Kao also makes available teaching materials that school teachers can use for the hand washing lesson and house cleaning lesson; Kao also provides teaching materials that can be used in junior high school Home Economics classes.

Hand washing lesson

Kao has been conducting this lesson for children in the lower grades of elementary school since 2009, to teach the importance of hand washing and, using Kao’s original hand washing song, how to wash hands properly.
In 2015, about 560 employees visited 111 schools in 34 prefectures and gave hand washing lessons to about 8,000 children.
In addition, in coordination with Kao’s business activities, teaching materials for the hand washing lesson were distributed to 2,423 schools and institutions.

Hand washing lesson

House cleaning lesson

This lesson, started in 2010 and offered in conjunction with Living Environment classes for children in the lower grades of elementary school, teaches the importance of housework and how to do it well, by practicing washing dishes and cleaning with a wet cloth. By helping them explore their role in the family, the lesson also tries to teach children to feel happy at being useful and to feel grateful.
In 2015, the house cleaning lesson was implemented for a total of about 4,700 children in 62 elementary schools in 26 prefectures, with about 360 Kao employees offering instruction and practical training. In addition, the teaching materials for the house cleaning lesson were distributed to another 47 schools.

House cleaning lesson

Environmental lesson
This hands-on lesson, offered since 2009, uses lectures and experiments to teach children the importance of being respectful of the environment in their daily lives.
Using concentrated liquid laundry detergent with superior rinsability as a teaching material, instructors show students how much water can be saved by doing laundry with just a single rinse cycle, demonstrating how their behavior when using cleaning products can have a significant impact on the environment.
In 2015, the lesson was offered to about 3,500 elementary, junior high and senior high school students in 43 schools across 26 prefectures.

Environmental lesson at elementary school

Providing teaching materials for junior high school Home Economics curriculum

In 2011, Kao began working with Home Economics teachers in Okayama Prefecture to develop teaching materials that teachers could use in their own lessons. In June of 2013, we began providing these teaching materials under the title “A Comfortable, Environmentally Conscious Life.” The materials are made up of five programs based on the course units of the junior high school Home Economics curriculum, including “Caring for clothes” and “Thinking about the relationship between consumption and the environment,” and are designed to get students thinking about environmental issues in their daily lives, while giving them a systematic way of learning how to lead more environmentally conscious lives themselves.
In 2015, Kao provided teaching materials to 122 schools and government agencies, and held nine seminars to introduce the teaching materials content to home economics teachers.

Home Economics teacher training seminar


Support for school education through plant visits

Kao organizes factory visits at eight Kao factories in Japan, with a total of around 60,000 people a year visiting the plants, where they have the opportunity to learn how Kao implements Yoki-Monozukuri.
Kao also works to ensure that its plant visit scheme supports school education, with elementary school students accounting for around 30% of the visitors to Kao factories each year. For example, at Wakayama Plant, which is the Kao Group’s largest production site, an experiential learning program has been established which involves visits to the factory and to the Kao Eco-lab Museum, tailored to meet the needs of the Social Studies curriculum for third grade and fifth grade elementary school students.

Kao’s Sakata Plant, which manufactures Merries baby diapers, has installed a tour route so as to be able to welcome plant visits to view the production process, and now receives over 3,500 visitors a year, including around 1,000 elementary school students. In 2015, Sakata Plant introduced a new plant visit program tailored to the needs of the “Industrial Production and Our Daily Lives” unit in the Social Studies curriculum for fifth grade elementary school students (which several other Kao plants have already introduced). Sakata Plant is working actively through the city’s Board of Education to make local schools aware of this plant visit program.
The new program uses a combination of pre-visit learning and the plant visit itself to show students the creativity and hard work which go into the production of Merries baby diapers. The plant visits provide an opportunity for building on the learning that children have already done in school, strengthening their awareness of the links between their lives and the local community and society, and enhancing their interest in the commitment to monozukuri (high standards of craftsmanship), and the efforts made by the workers, at business enterprises such as Kao.

Plant visit learning linked to students’ Social Studies lessons

Showing students the work that goes into the production of Merries baby diapers


Support for science education

Support for the Japan Science and Engineering Challenge (JSEC)

The JSEC (which is organized by the Asahi Shimbun Company and TV Asahi Corporation) is a contest of independent science and engineering research targeting high school and technology college students nationwide, with the goal of nurturing world-class scientists. Kao supports the JSEC as part of its support for high school science education, and each year presents outstanding projects with the Kao Award and the Kao Special Incentive Award. The review process for selection of the award-winners is based on a reading of the participants’ papers by Kao researchers, and by attendance at the students’ presentations.

JSEC 2015 Kao Award
“Mechanism of the Oscillating Chemiluminescence Reaction Using Luminol”
By Erika Toki, Misato Nakamura and Shiori Osaki (Ichikawa Gakuen Ichikawa Senior High School)
JSEC 2015 Kao Special Incentive Award
“The 200Hz Hidden in ‘Rubbing’—Particle Agglomeration through Oscillation”
By Ryotaro Kobayashi and Hirokazu Nagaoka (Chiba Prefectural Chiba Higashi Senior High School)

As an additional prize for the Kao Special Incentive Award, a special study tour was arranged for the students of the award-winning school, which offered them a chance to visit Kao facilities and talk with Kao researchers. In March 2015, groups from Yamaguchi Prefectural Yamaguchi High School (which won the JSEC 2014 Kao Special Incentive Award) and National Institute of Technology, Yonago College (which won the JSEC 2014 Kao Award) took part in this study tour, where they engaged in a lively and informative discussion with Kao researchers.

JSEC 2015 presentation review in progress

JSEC 2014 study tour, Q&A session in progress

Looking back over 10 years of Kao support for JSEC
As of 2015, Kao had been providing support for JSEC for 10 years. To facilitate a retrospective and appraisal of this activity, a questionnaire survey was administered to past award-winners and award-winning schools. The responses given showed that participation in JSEC had provided positive psychological benefits to participants (in terms of enhanced motivation, etc.), while also contributing to personal growth through the acquisition of practical knowledge and know-how, helping participants to clarify the research themes they were engaged in and the possible benefits to society. It was also apparent that receiving the awards had boosted recipients’ self-confidence, and had raised their schools’ profile within the local community. Expectations regarding JSEC and the enterprises supporting it were high, and it was felt that JSEC had had a positive impact on the participating schools; Kao has therefore decided to continue its involvement with this activity.


Supporters of “Kao Creating Forests for Everyone”

The Supporters of “Kao Creating Forests for Everyone” involves university students interviewing civic groups that have received support through the “Kao Creating Forests for Everyone” program, which helps civic groups to protect local forests and greenery, and then writing and publishing articles about the civic groups’ activities.
In 2015, which marks 10 years since this project was launched, to help clarify what the project has achieved, Kao worked with Japan NPO Center (JNPOC), which has supported the project, on the compilation of a brochure entitled “Collaboration between an NPO and Business Enterprises Helps to Cultivate the Next Generation and Bring Together People from Different Generations—the Forest-creating Efforts of the ‘Supporters of Kao Creating Forests for Everyone’ Program,” which looks back over the project’s achievements and presents a record of its activities.
The brochure explores, through a questionnaire survey, interviews and concluding remarks written by experts, what the 86 university students who participated in the project learnt through interacting with people from a different generation, how the students were changed by the experience of writing the reports, and what kind of synergies were created through having people from different backgrounds participating in the same project. Copies of the brochures were distributed to around 700 related organizations, and the brochure content was also uploaded onto the Kao website.

  • *As this program had already achieved the desired goals, implementation was terminated in 2015.


Kao Earthwatch Teachers’ Fellowship

The Kao Earthwatch Teachers’ Fellowship is an initiative for elementary school and junior high school teachers from schools throughout Japan. Kao supports the opportunity for teachers to participate as volunteers in overseas biodiversity protection field research overseen by the NPO Earthwatch during the summer holiday. The aim of the program is for the teachers to use their experiences in environmental education in schools and in the community after returning to Japan. The sense of immediacy provided by the teachers having participated directly in the field research themselves can help to spread awareness—among schoolchildren, fellow teachers, and the local community—of the importance of protecting biodiversity and conservation.
In 2015, nine teachers took part in five field work projects. According to the teachers’ reports, after returning home they gave classes and lectures about their experiences to a total of around 1,000 children. In October 2015, Kao organized a participant presentation meeting at Kao’s Head Office, attended by teachers (including former participants) and members of the selection committee. Project participants from 2015 gave presentations on their experience working overseas and on how they were able to utilize this experience in environmental education after returning home; the meeting also provided an opportunity for sharing the know-how and skills that had been acquired through involvement in the scheme.
Since the Kao Earthwatch Teachers’ Fellowship project was first launched, a total of 128 teachers have taken part in 65 field work projects.

Survey in the “Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe” project

Survey in the “Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe” project



Providing support for social entrepreneurs through the Kao Social Entrepreneurship Schools

Kao supports the development of young social entrepreneurs who attempt to solve social issues with business approaches in order to pass a better society on to the next generation.
To this end, starting in 2010, Kao launched Kao Social Entrepreneurship Schools, a social entrepreneur development program, in cooperation with Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC.), focusing in particular on providing support for entrepreneurs who work to help solve issues surrounding families. The entrepreneurs supported by the program have the opportunity to benefit from advice from experts and more experienced entrepreneurs to help them get their business off the ground. In 2015, support was provided for three teams.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the project’s launch, a Kao Social Entrepreneurship Schools Report was published in 2015, and in June a seminar and exchange meeting were held at Kao’s Head Office. The keynote speech for the seminar was given by Mr. Haruo Miyagi, Executive Director of ETIC., on the theme of “Why Are Social Entrepreneurs Needed Now?” Four entrepreneurs who had previously received support under the program also spoke about various aspects of their business and projects. At the exchange meeting that followed, Kao employees could be seen deep in conversation with the entrepreneurs including those who had benefited from previous years’ schools. The seminar and exchange meeting were attended by 86 Kao employees, who were able to benefit from this in-depth interaction with entrepreneurs.

The three entrepreneur teams give presentations on their business content, ideals etc. (October 2015)

◆Entrepreneurs who received support in 2015, and their business concepts:
Charity Santa (specified non-profit corporation)
Representative Director: Natsuki Kiyosuke
Business concept: “Arranging for Santa Claus to help children in single-parent families build up their self-esteem, with a new target of helping 10,000 people in one year.”
Chance For All (specified non-profit corporation)
Representative Director: Isana Nakayama
Business concept: “Operating CFAKids, a high-quality after-school program that any child can attend.”
Makigumi LLC
Representative Staff Member: Kyoko Watanabe
Business concept: “Developing business models to support the cultivation of key personnel for local industries in areas affected by natural disasters, and to encourage such personnel to relocate to these areas.”


Kao Family Concert

Kao has organized the Kao Family Concerts with the aim of giving people living in the areas where our plants and facilities are located exposure to high-quality music and encouraging them to develop a greater familiarity with the arts. The work of guiding audiences at the venue on the day, the announcements, ticket checking, etc. is all undertaken by Kao employees.
Kao Family Concerts have previously been held near Kao facilities in Sakata, Tochigi, Kashima, Wakayama and Ehime. In 2015, Kao Family Concerts were held in Wakayama City (Wakayama Prefecture) in March, in Sakata City (Yamagata Prefecture) in October, and in Saijo City (Ehime Prefecture) in December. A total of 33 Kao Family Concerts have now been held since the program was first launched.
All of the ticket revenue from the concerts is donated to help support music education etc. in the area. We received a letter of thanks from a local school that have benefited in this way, and the Concerts help to strengthen links with the local community.

Concerts held in 2015
Performing artists: Sepperl Trio
Presenter: Ms. Emi Kasano
Audience: 830 attendees
Performing artists: TSUKEMEN
Audience: 1,200 attendees
Performing artists: Ken Nishikiori (Tenor), Tadayuki Kawahara (Piano)
Audience: 1,000 attendees

Kao Family Concert in Wakayama

Kao Family Concert in Sakata

Kao Family Concert in Saijo


Kao Heart Pocket Club

The Kao Heart Pocket Club is a club focused on social support activities, which was founded in 2004. Employees who support the objectives of the Kao Heart Pocket Club become members and participate in its activities. Members donate a portion of their monthly salary to the Club; Club funds are donated to NPOs and citizen groups working to build a better society, and are also used to offer support when large disasters strike. A steering committee made up of member representatives manages the Club’s operations and decides where funds are donated.
In 2015, the Club donated to 46 groups in total. It supported various groups, for example groups involved in community activities in Tochigi, Wakayama and Ibaraki prefectures where Kao worksites are located. It also donated funds through Mirai Pocket Fund, which supports larger-scale activities. The Club also provides opportunities for members to participate personally in the activities that it supports. Such participation can take a variety of different forms, such as participating in screening of applicants for support, collaborating on activities as a volunteer, and participating in events organized by the recipients of funding support, etc. This program provides opportunities to learn about social issues in the context of the activities through exchanges with donation recipients. As of 2015, Club members had been participating for 10 years in a program to send picture books to children in developing nations, sponsored by the Shanti Volunteer Association. One hundred and eighty employees, together with their family members and friends, attached stickers of translated text into picture books and sent them to children in Myanmar.

◆Activities to Date

Donation recipients: 490 groups
Donated amount: 86.23 million yen
Membership (as of December 2015): 2,697

Kao employee attaching stickers of translated text into picture books


Support for the young artist development, and support for artistic and cultural activities

We provide support for a wide range of artistic and cultural activities and for the development of the next generation of artists, to help ensure that rich artistic and cultural traditions can continue to thrive and can be handed down to future generations.

Support for the young artist development

We provide support for activities aimed at the development of young artists.

Tokyo Music Competition

Award ceremony for the Strings Section in the 13th Tokyo Music Competition in 2015

The Tokyo Music Competition is held aimed at discovering and developing young musicians. This competition is organized by the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Kao Corporation. The 13th Tokyo Music Competition was held in 2015, with a total of nine prize-winners in the Strings, Woodwind and Vocal sections. The prize-winners’ concert (for the First Prize winners) was held in January 2016.

K-BALLET YOUTH is a junior ballet company for young people aged 22 or under, directed by Mr. Tetsuya Kumakawa, which was founded in 2013. The company is providing young people with an opportunity to develop their skills in an environment that is in no way inferior to that of a professional ballet company. Kao has been sponsoring K-BALLET YOUTH’s performances since the ballet company was first established. K-BALLET YOUTH performed “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” for the second time in April 2015.
Support for artistic and cultural activities

With the aim of fostering the continued development and transmission of important aspects of the arts and culture, Kao has provided sponsorship for the New National Theatre, Tokyo, for art exhibitions, and for orchestras.

Sponsorship in 2015
Kao provided sponsorship for: the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra; the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra; and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo. We also support the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra’s regular subscription concert series, and in 2015 provided sponsorship for a Beethoven 9th Symphony Concert by the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo.
Kao was a member of the 2014/2015 Season Special Corporate Sponsors Group for New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Kao has provided sponsorship for René Magritte, The British Museum Exhibition, The Genesis and Development of Landscape Painting from Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
Activities implemented through The Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences

The Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences, which was founded in 1990 to mark the 100th anniversary of the company’s establishment, provides sponsorship for culture and the arts and also presents awards to outstanding researchers. In 2015, which marked the 25th anniversary of the Kao Foundation’s establishment, 2.5 billion yen of additional funds were donated from Kao to the Foundation, to contribute to the promotion and continued development of the arts and sciences in Japan. The Kao Foundation now has total assets of around 5 billion yen, and is working to strengthen its support for science and technology, and to further enhance its support for the arts.

Achievements in 2015
  • ・Provided grants and awards for the arts (fine arts and music): A total of 40 million yen for 69 projects
  • ・Provided grants and awards for science and technology: 12 million yen for 12 projects
    (Since the Kao Foundation was first established, it has provided a cumulative total of 1,244.35 million yen for 1,943 projects.)


Contributing to the development of a sustainable society

Kao Group Companies continue to undertake activities aimed at supporting the development of the next generation and at fostering communication and involvement with local communities.
In 2015, we undertook a wide range of activities, including activities contributing to the nurturing of the next generation, such as collaborating on the improvement of school facilities, provision of scholarships, offering support for hygiene education, etc., as well as providing support for local communities through product donations and arranging for Kao employees to volunteer on local projects, and engaging in exchange and interaction with local communities in other ways.
For example, when PT. Kao Indonesia Chemicals relocated a factory, it installed a pump to access underground water, so that local people who had been making use of the clean water supply on the factory’s premises could continue to have access to clean water after the factory was relocated.

Contributing to the development of a sustainable society


Disaster relief in 2015

Disaster Company Support provided
April 2015 Nepal Earthquake Kao Corporation Donated 1 million yen to Japan Platform (an NGO) to support disaster response efforts in the regions affected by the earthquake.
Kao Specialties Americas LLC Donations to American Red Cross etc. equivalent to 60,000 yen and employees’ volunteer support.
Typhoon No. 18, Japan, September 2015 Kao Corporation Donated 2 million yen through the Central Community Chest of Japan to help people affected by the storm and floods, and also donated Kao products to Joso City, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Volcanic eruption on Kuchinoerabu-jima Island, Japan, May 2015 Kao Corporation Kao products were donated to Yakushima Town, Kagoshima Prefecture, to help the evacuated residents from Kuchinoerabu-jima Island.
Flooding in Indonesia PT Kao Indonesia Product donations equivalent to 350,000 yen and employees’ volunteer support to help people affected by the flooding.
Flooding in Malaysia Fatty Chemical (Malaysia), among other companies Donated Kao products worth the equivalent of 200,000 yen to help people affected by the flooding.

To help the victims of the severe earthquake which struck Kumamoto in Japan in April 2016, Kao donated 10 million yen through the Japanese Red Cross Society. Kao products were also donated, including diapers for babies, adult diapers, sanitary napkins, hand soap, etc.

Activities supporting recovery in the Tohoku Region

The Kao Group continues to provide support for the recovery of the regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Immediately after the disaster, we provided donations and goods to support emergency response efforts. Subsequently, the main focus of our activities shifted to activities tailored to the needs of communities affected by the disaster, including the provision of daily necessaries for families living in temporary accommodation, providing assistance for women’s specific needs, offering emotional support, and helping to stimulate the revival of local industries; we have endeavored to provide the kind of support that was needed at each particular period of time. Currently, the main emphasis in the Kao Group’s activities is on emotional support and industrial revival.
In 2015, in the area of emotional support, we participated in the Smile Tohoku Project, while in regard to industrial revival we worked with the Michinoku Revival Partners.

●Smile Tohoku Project
Kao Group is a supporter of the Smile Tohoku Project supporting restoration from the Great East Japan Earthquake, which is promoted by three newspapers (Iwate Nippo, Kahoku Shimpo Publishing, and Fukushima-Minpo) located in the Tohoku region. By arranging for volunteers to work alongside local people on flower planting, or help them with hand-care, etc., the Smile Tohoku Project helps to deepen the exchange.
In 2015, a combined total of 317 Kao Group employees participated in Smile Tohoku Project activities; since Kao began its involvement with the project, over 1,000 Kao employees have traveled to Tohoku as volunteers. Regarding the visits to people living in temporary accommodation, which originated from the desire to have more direct involvement in the affected areas, a total of 30 locations were visited in 2015, making a cumulative total of 70 locations visited since the visits began. Providing hand-care for local residents gives an opportunity to hold their hands, interact with them and put a smile on their faces.
From listening to the members of the Disaster Recovery Story-telling Group, Kao employees were able not just to learn about what happened during the disaster, but also learn, in a compelling way, important lessons about disaster preparedness and disaster response.
Participating Kao employees commented that “It brought home to me just how much we should value our everyday lives,” “I got a real sense for how, with the passing of time, the kinds of support that people need change too,” and “I hope I can continue to participate in providing support for the region, in whatever form it takes.” The Kao employees felt that they had learned a great deal from the experience, that it had enriched their thinking, and that they had been inspired by the attitude shown by local people.

Providing hand-care for and laughing with residents of temporary accommodation

Writing a message on a marker stake to be placed in a flower-pot where flowers have just been planted

●Michinoku Revival Partners

Kao has been participating in Michinoku Revival Partners, which was launched by ETIC. (Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities) and seven business enterprises, and which aims to provide support for self-directed recovery in the Tohoku region. In this program, we provide support for entrepreneurs and next-generation leaders who are working to bring about Tohoku’s recovery.
In May and November 2015, 50 Kao Group employees visited Minamisanriku-cho in Miyagi Prefecture, where they examined the current situation in the area and helped out as volunteers at the Onokashouen vegetable and flower cultivation facility. Mr. Ono, who runs the facility, is one of the young leaders of the region’s economic revival, taking up the challenge of developing new distribution systems and seeking to create new job opportunities in the area. The Kao employees found their visit to Onokashouen very enlightening. Comments from participating employees included: “Having the opportunity to see and experience it for myself was the key to starting to feel that this was something of direct relevance to me personally,” and “I was glad to have the chance to do something, however insignificant, to help the people living in the area.”

Videos of some of Kao’s activities can be viewed here:

Kao employees working in the chrysanthemum fields

Copyright © Kao Corporation. All rights reserved.
Kao Group