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Measures for biodiversity conservation [EN12,EN33]

At Kao, we realize that our business benefits from the gifts of biodiversity, and we strive to reduce the impacts to biodiversity in our business activities and conserve biodiversity in our community activities.

2015 activities

We aimed to purchase only palm oil, one of Kao’s basic raw materials, that was traceable to the mill.
The Kashima Plant and Pilipinas Kao in Philippine are key operations whose initiatives for biodiversity conservation have received commendations from outside groups.


Kao established the Kao Basic Policies on Conservation of Biodiversity in 2011 based on seven individual policies. We set action guidelines and targets for each policy, and strive to consider biodiversity in all of our business and community activities. In 2015, we created and released the Action Policies and Introductions of Activities to communicate this information both inside and outside the company.

Kao Basic Policies on Conservation of Biodiversity
  1. Identify the relationship between our business activities and biodiversity.
  2. Reduce the impacts of our business activities on biodiversity.
  3. Develop innovative technologies to enable sustainable use of ecosystem services.
  4. Comply with relevant international agreements.
  5. Make efforts to conserve local ecosystems in the vicinity of our business activities.
  6. Raise awareness of biodiversity among all employees and promote sharing of information on biodiversity between divisions.
  7. Pursue cooperation with external stakeholders in conserving biodiversity.

Basic Policies on Conservation of Biodiversity


Initiatives toward sustainable procurement of all palm oil

In light of degradation of biodiversity as well as global warming and other environmental problems, resource constraints, and human rights issues, Kao has formulated and implements the Guidelines for Sustainable Procurement of Raw Materials for the purpose of realizing procurement of sustainable raw materials. We are also a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and are working to create a traceable supply chain for palm oil.

Sustainable Palm Oil Procurement Guidelines

In the procurement of palm oil, one of the basic raw materials we handle, we have committed to consider biodiversity conservation and zero deforestation, and have set four goals to realize this.

Goal 1: 
By the end of 2015, purchase only sustainable palm oil traceable to the mill for use in Kao Group consumer products.
We were able to confirm by the end of 2015 that the palm oil and palm kernel oil for use in Kao Group consumer products was traceable to the respective mill, but some raw materials among derivatives purchased from outside sources were not traceable to the mill. We will continue our efforts to confirm traceability and take supplementary measures such as purchasing RSPO certified products.
Goal 2: 
By 2020, adequately confirm zero deforestation at the source through cooperation with plantations, suppliers (mills, refineries) and third-party organizations. In addition, we will not take part in developing high conservation value (HCV)*1 forests, high carbon stock (HCS)*2 forests or peatlands.
We are reviewing support for RSPO Next,*3 aiming for this realization with cooperation from our suppliers.
Goal 3: 
By 2020, purchase only sustainably sourced palm oil that is traceable to the plantation for use in Kao Group consumer products.
From 2016, we are tracing palm oil and palm kernel oil to the palm oil mill supplying the raw material palm kernels to the confirmed palm kernel oil mill, aiming to trace the materials to the plantation.
Goal 4: 
By 2020, work to obtain RSPO SCCS certification*4 of Kao Group factories in order to build a traceable supply chain for the Kao Group.
RSPO SCCS certification was obtained by the Kashima Plant in March 2012, and has since been obtained by 16 companies and 19 plants inside and outside Japan as of the end of 2015.

Kao Group certified palm oil purchases

Kao Group certified palm oil purchases
  • * Total of palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives
  • * Results reported to RSPO
    (tallied for the period between July and June)

In 2015, we conducted preferred purchasing of palm kernel oil traceable to the mill, but our purchase volume of certified palm kernel oil did not increase. We intend to promote purchasing of RSPO certified products.

  • *1 HCV: High Conservation Value
  • *2 HCS: High Carbon Stock
  • *3 RSPO Next: An addendum established in 2015 of voluntary actions necessary to realize zero deforestation when meeting the requirement of the RSPO Principles and Criteria, the basic producer certification.
  • *4 SCCS (Supply Chain Certification System) certification
    A certification system for the manufacturing, processing, and logistics of products using palm oil produced at RSPO certified plantations when making products. There are four supply chain models, and at Kao, we obtain certification using the Segregation system or Mass Balance system.
  • *5 Book and Claim system
    A system to handle credits of palm oil certified by the RSPO. By purchasing “certification credits” issued in proportion to the amount of palm oil produced and registered by plantations certified by the RSPO, users of palm oil are considered to have purchased the amount of certified palm oil corresponding to the amount of credits. This system strictly ensures that the same amount of certified palm oil as palm oil used is produced and encourages plantations to produce certified oil.
  • *6 Mass Balance system
    A certification system that permits mixing of RSPO certified palm oil with non-certified palm oil.
  • *7 Segregation system
    A certification system that does not permit mixing of RSPO certified palm oil and non-certified palm oil.


Initiatives toward sustainable procurement of paper and pulp

Kao has also committed to consideration of biodiversity conservation and zero deforestation in the procurement of paper and pulp. Kao has set the goal of purchasing only recycled paper or paper produced with consideration for sustainability for the paper and pulp used in Kao products, packaging materials and office paper by 2020. An action policy for this goal has also been formulated.
We give priority to using waste pulp (recycled paper) as the main raw material without wasting paper or pulp. When using pulp other than waste pulp (virgin pulp), by 2020 we aim to purchase only pulp that is traceable to the source, and to confirm zero deforestation at producers of wood materials through cooperation with suppliers and third-party organizations.
As of the end of 2015, 96% of our purchased volume was recycled paper and traceable pulp.
To also ensure quality, we are confirming that environmental considerations including the following are being taken.

  • ・No chlorine gas bleaching
  • ・No extreme levels of whiteness
  • ・Minimal use of coating for coated products
  • ・No use of processes that hinder recycling


Promoting collaboration with various companies

Kao Corporation has participated in JBIB (Japan Business Initiative for Biodiversity) since its founding in 2008. We participate in multiple JBIB internal working groups, working with corporations representing a variety of industries for such purposes as researching effective tools and guidelines for conservation of biodiversity.


Biodiversity initiatives at Wakayama Plant

Wakayama Plant is incorporating biodiversity conservation viewpoints into its operations, deepening its activities from conservation of a greenery area on the plant grounds to conservation of the local ecosystem.
The grove consisting mainly of black pine trees that traverse Wakayama Plant grounds serves as a protection against the storm surge and is a legacy whose shape has been preserved since it was created in the first half of the 17th century. We monitor the trees and animals that live in this grove and have confirmed more than 20 species of wild birds. Based on the results of these surveys, we are conducting conservation activities of the greenery area on the plant grounds and of the protective grove in ways that are suited to the local ecosystem. We are also erecting an informational board so that the next generation continues to protect this grove.

On December 20, 2015, we held a forest foraging for nuts and wreath-making workshop with participation by 51 children and their parents and guardians.
This event was part of a program run by the Wakayama City Children’s Museum for parents and children to learn about plants and animals. The program is designed to have parents and children interact with Wakayama’s nature and develop an enriched sensitivity to the natural world.
Participants made wreaths by collecting pinecones and acorns from the pine grove on the Wakayama Plant grounds and using kudzu vines to make a ring.
The children commented that they learned what pinecones look like as they grow on trees and how making wreaths was fun.

Holding a wreath made from collected pinecones

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism commendation for ongoing
Kao Creating Forests for Everyone program

To leave an abundance of greenery for future generations, Kao has continued the Kao Creating Forests for Everyone program since 2000. This program is administered in partnership with Kao and the Organization for Landscape and Urban Green Infrastructure, and supports NPO’s and citizens’ organizations engaged in the protection and expansion of green environments in places that are part of daily life. Aid is provided in two main areas: forestation and environmental education. In both areas continuous support is provided for a period of three years, enabling citizens’ organizations to conduct stable activities from a longer-term perspective. Kao has so far supported 411 organizations (as of December 2015). Feedback from organizations whose support has concluded includes comments such as receiving the aid increased their credibility in the community and led to new activities, and the long-term aid received over three years allowed them to equip themselves in stages and deepen their knowledge.
This ongoing activity has received high praise, earning Kao a commendation of merit for urban greening in FY 2015 urban greening and urban park development, conservation, and beautification campaigns from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Kao was commended at the national Widen and Grow Green Cities convention on October 30, 2015.
In 2015, 109 organizations responded to our call for applications between August and October. Selections were finalized in March 2016, with 15 organizations the new recipients of support. In addition, about 50,000 people have participated in activities with the groups currently receiving aid.

Commendation ceremony

Sangosya Scole (Okinawa Prefecture), a recipient of aid in the environmental education category


“FURUSATO” Environment Conservation Project in Northern Thailand

With social problems such as rapid deforestation and soil degradation affecting Thailand, Kao conducts the “FURUSATO” Environment Conservation Project in Northern Thailand for reforestation and sustainable conservation of Thai forests together with the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) and OISCA Thailand.
This project started in 2012 and marked its fourth year in 2015. In 2015, 8,000 trees were newly planted on land covering 7ha, and a cumulative total of about 34,000 trees have been planted on 28ha so far. At the same time, the project provides environmental education to local children to develop future protectors of the environment. In July, local citizens, students from nearby schools and Kao Group employees participated in tree planting activities. Through the care of community residents, trees planted in the first year of the project now provide shade and a place for people to rest, and many bees and birds are also visible as the trees grow and turn into abundant forests.

Planting a commemorative tree

Tree planting on a hillside


Employee volunteers participate in Post Tsunami Monitoring Project

Kao creates opportunities for employees to volunteer with the Post Tsunami Monitoring Project, sponsored by the NPO Earthwatch Japan. This project has volunteers provide field support to researchers conducting field work of rice fields and tidal lands that sustained damage in the tsunami after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In 2015, 10 employees went to local areas to support the field work. The data obtained in the field work are being used in restoration plans that take biodiversity into consideration and for conservation of species.

Field work in a rice paddy

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