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Sound management of chemicals

Kao has been working actively to promote the sound management of chemicals in accordance with SAICM across the product lifecycle from development, production, and distribution to use and disposal, aiming to contribute to realization of a sustainable society.

2015 activities

In line with the medium-term risk assessment plan, Kao compiled risk assessment reports for seven substances for which risk assessments were completed. At production sites in Japan, risk assessments for PRTR substances, VOC substances, and poisonous and deleterious substances have been completed.
SAICM promotion activities that Kao is conducting also began to be released on the website, and Safety Data Sheets, which summarize risk assessments in an easy-to-understand manner, have also been released.


Based on its SAICM Promotion Policy, Kao is working to strengthen and promote chemical management in accordance with SAICM.* This policy lays down a company-wide approach to managing chemicals that applies throughout the Kao Group, and constitutes the foundation for Kao’s chemical management.

  • * SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management)

SAICM is global-scale landmark initiative to protect human health and environment. The goal of SAICM is “to ensure that, by 2020, the chemicals are used and produced in ways that minimize the significant adverse effects on human health and the environment, using transparent, science-based risk assessment procedures and risk management procedures, taking into account the precautionary approach.”
Even by comparison with Japan’s major chemical manufacturers, Kao has a large number of different chemical substances that it is required to manage; from the SAICM perspective, therefore, there are issues that Kao needs to address. With this in mind, in order to speed up specific activities for the achievement of the SAICM goals, the Group-wide SAICM Promotion Committee was established in 2012, with the Chemical Business Unit, R&D, SCM Division, Product Quality Management Division and Corporate Division playing leading roles.
The main focus of Kao’s SAICM activities comprise three key issues that have been identified: (1) risk assessment and risk management of chemical substances, (2) lifecycle management of chemical substances, and (3) risk communication of chemical substances with stakeholders. Projects related to these three key SAICM issues have been established and are being implemented under the SAICM Promotion Committee.
Through these activities, the Kao Group is promoting strengthened chemical substance management and communicating the obtained deliverables to stakeholders to build the trust of customers and consumers.

SAICM Promotion Committee activities

In 2015, Kao conducted activities concerning the following three priority issues in the promotion of SAICM.

  • 1) Conduct risk assessments and create risk assessment reports for Kao priority assessment substances in line with the chemical substances management medium-term plan; build the fundamental base of a lifecycle management system for chemical substances
  • 2) Plan and implement risk reduction measures at handling sites based on chemical substance risk assessments/Study display of hazardous labeling at production sites according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
  • 3) Study of ways to publicly release the deliverables of SAICM activities and engage in two-way communication with stakeholders

The results of activities in 2015 are as follows:

  • 1) The risk assessment of Kao priority assessment substances scheduled for 2015 was completed according to the medium-term plan. The results of assessments done to date were compiled in a risk assessment report, and a safety summary presenting the contents in a manner easy to understand by a general audience was created.
    Meanwhile, we conducted a review of the fundamental base for a more advanced lifecycle management system for chemical substances based on the Comprehensive Management System for Chemical Substances, with a focus on re-establishing Safety Data Sheets (SDS) creation and management system. This development is scheduled to continue in 2016.
  • 2) Regarding risk assessments at production sites that handle chemical substances, a combination of risk assessment methods were employed, such as a qualitative risk assessment of worksites using the control banding method,*1 and the more detailed ECETOC TRA*2 also adopted for risk assessments in the EU’s REACH regulation. The risk assessments at production sites that handle PRTR, VOC and toxic substances have been completed, and risk mitigation measures will be successively implemented.
    Display of hazardous labeling according to GHS at production sites has been introduced on a trial basis at some plants, and will be expanded to all plants.
  • 3) SAICM-related information including seven Safety Data Sheets of Kao priority assessment substances began to be released publicly in May 2015 on the Kao and Kao Chemicals websites. This information was published on the Kao Group website in October and on the Kao Chemical Corporation Shanghai website in December.
    In 2015, we released 12 GPS safety summaries for Kao Chemicals products (cumulative total of 89).
  • *1 Control banding method
    One method of assessing the risks of health hazards associated with chemical substances. It is a method for managing chemical substances designed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that incorporates simple, practical risk assessment methods, and is intended to protect the health of workers in small and medium-sized companies in developing countries from hazardous chemicals. For each process that requires handling of hazardous chemicals, risks are ranked into four levels according to three components: the hazardousness of the chemical, its form (volatility/risk of becoming airborne), and the amount being handled. In addition to indicating general items to be implemented in each category, this tool also makes it possible to indicate more specific items to be implemented with regards to other general work tasks.
  • *2 ECETOC TRA (European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals Targeted Risk Assessment)
    A globally recognized risk assessment tool also used by REACH, the EU’s system for registering chemical substances. It provides direction in terms of both judging and managing risk.

Management system

Kao created a chemical substance database in 2001, which gives and registers a Group-wide code (Master Index) to individual products and raw materials as well as each chemical substance contained in them. The database has been used in the Comprehensive Management System for Chemical Substances, which is able to verify information in an integrated manner, including safety and regulatory compliance and environmental impact assessments. This system is closely coordinated with both formula design in R&D and the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to ensure product design incorporating safety and environmental aspects as well as traceability of chemical substances from raw materials procurement to production and shipment. It is the backbone supporting Kao’s Yoki-Monozukuri.
The Kao Group, which has both the Consumer Products Business and Chemical Business, handles a large number of chemical substances. In 2015, we completed the data transfer for raw materials handled by the Consumer Products Business Companies in Europe and the Americas, and established conditions to be able to make visible and share chemical substance information for these raw materials by using one database. In addition to new raw materials registration and chemical products registration to the Master Index, data for registered substances were revised on a daily basis to maintain the most up-to-date information in the database. Using the information collected here, Kao has registered hazardous chemicals under Chinese regulations and complied with new registration regulations in Taiwan and South Korea.

Kao will continue to promote system development in a proactive manner to manage chemical substances and strengthen Group-wide compliance to meet the requirements of various legal and environmental regulations in an increasingly globalized and borderless world.

Comprehensive Management System for Chemicals

Comprehensive Management System for Chemicals


Global compliance with chemical regulations

The Kao Group is registering the chemical substances contained in Kao products manufactured outside Japan and Kao products directly and indirectly exported outside Japan based on the chemical regulation of the relevant country according to the quantities and hazards.
In the EU, Kao Chemicals Europe (KCE) and Kao Corporation worked closely together to complete registration of REACH* Phase 1 substances (mainly substances of which 1,000 tons or more are manufactured and imported annually into the EU) and Phase 2 substances (100 tons or more manufactured and imported annually into the EU) by the 2013 deadline. We are systematically working to register the next step of Phase 3 substances (1 ton or more manufactured and imported annually into the EU) and have been selecting priority substances to register each year since 2014. We plan to complete all registrations of the required substances by the final deadline of May 31, 2018 without delay.
In Asia as well, some countries are creating and starting to implement new chemical regulations.
In China, in addition to a notification program for new chemical substances, the registration system for hazardous chemicals was substantially revised in 2012 to cover raw materials and chemical products imported into China as well as products manufactured locally. The Kao Group worked together with local Kao Group companies to create a registration system by 2013 and completed registration of the necessary hazardous chemicals during 2015.
Taiwan and South Korea also started new chemical regulations in 2015. The Kao Group undertook preparations in cooperation with related divisions prior to implementation of the regulations. In Taiwan, we completed registration of all substances available in the market to the existing chemical substances list in 2015. In South Korea, we are making step-wise preparations in accordance with the new regulation for substances subject to registration that was publicly announced in 2015.
In 2016, Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia are moving to create new chemical regulations. In Asia, we will work together with Kao Group companies while gathering the relevant information in a timely manner to facilitate compliance with local regulations.

  • * REACH is an EU regulation that stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals.


Reinforcement of information management of chemicals

1. GHS*1-compliant SDS*2 and product labeling

Kao promotes the issuance of GHS-compliant SDS for chemical products in countries which have introduced GHS as well as GHS-compliant product labeling.
For the Chemical Business, including Kao Japan and Asian affiliates, Kao has been managing GHS-compliant SDS and product labeling and integrated management using the Comprehensive Management System for Chemical Substances since 2008. In 2015, Kao implemented GHS labeling for products marketed in countries and regions which have introduced GHS (Japan, EU, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia). Kao has also issued SDS and created product labeling for GHS to comply with the EU’s CLP Regulation for chemical substances and mixtures and the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) in the United States, which went into force in June 2015.

2. Providing and obtaining information regarding chemicals in products

With regards to the provision and acquisition of information regarding chemicals in products, as a founding member of the JAMP*3 consortium, Kao is actively promoting the provision and acquisition of information regarding chemicals through the use of the common MSDSplus.*4
In 2015, revised versions of MSDSplus were issued in January (Substances List Ver. 4.030) and July (Substances List Ver. 4.040), and these have been distributed to customers via sales distributors as well as released on the corporate website. Similarly, Kao has produced English and Chinese versions of MSDSplus for products of Asian subsidiaries and released the most up-to-date versions on those subsidiaries’ websites. To efficiently communicate MSDSplus information in the supply chain, Kao registered MSDSplus information on chemical products on JAMP-IT*5 in 2015 and is releasing and providing this information to customers. Kao also continues to provide information to and obtain new information from some sales distributors via JAMP-IT.
Regarding communication of information on chemical substances contained in products, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been developing a new information communication scheme since 2013 that can be used by the entire supply chain. Kao is also participating in these activities. In October 2015, a data creation support tool for the new information communication scheme (chemSHERPA)*6 was released for use, and Kao continues to be involved in activities aiming at full implementation of the scheme.
Kao will continue to cooperate with the relevant internal and external divisions and groups and actively engage in activities to promote improvements and strengthen chemical substances management in the supply chain.

3. Risk communication on chemical substances

Kao has been participating actively in the Japan Initiative of Product Stewardship (JIPS),*7 a voluntary activity aimed at strengthening management of chemical substances through product stewardship proposed by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), which the Japan Chemical Industry Association has been implementing since 2009, and which constitutes an effort by the chemical industry to make a major contribution toward SAICM. To this end, Kao has been actively implementing chemical substance related communication with customers.
Kao has always been proactive in its SDS, MSDSplus and eSDS*8 for Europe disclosure for chemical products inside and outside Japan as part of its chemical substance related communications. In recent years, Kao has proactively made available GPS safety summaries*9 that outline, in an easy-to-understand manner, hazard information and information on product risks on the Kao Chemicals website and ICCA GPS Chemicals Portal. Kao considers publication of GPS safety summaries to be an important element of risk communication on chemical substances with stakeholders that constitutes part of its SAICM activities.
In 2015, Kao prepared GPS safety summaries for products with REACH registration. For multiple substances for priority assessment handled by Kao, the safety summaries have been published on the Kao Chemicals website as risk assessment deliverables. We have created 12 GPS safety summaries in English and Japanese for chemical products related to these Kao priority assessment substances, which are published on the Kao Chemicals website as well as the ICCA’s GPS Chemicals Portal website. With this, the Kao Group has published a total of 89 GPS safety summaries globally.
Kao will continue to publish GPS safety summaries and implement proactive risk communication with customers and with society as a whole on a global basis.

  • *1 GHS
    Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
  • *2 SDS (Safety Data Sheet)
    The SDS provides information to ensure safe and appropriate handling of chemicals, such as names of substances contained in the product, information about potential hazards, and handling precautions. The former Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) was renamed SDS per JIS Z 7253, issued March 2012.
  • *3 JAMP
    Joint Article Management Promotion-consortium
  • *4 MSDSplus
    This is a data sheet applying to specific types of chemical substances.
  • *5 JAMP-IT
    An Internet system developed by JAMP for the efficient accessing and provision of MSDSplus chemical substance content information.
  • *6 chemSHERPA
    A new scheme that facilitates sharing information on chemical substances in products across the entire supply chain to address broadening regulations and appropriately manage chemical substances contained in products on an ongoing basis.
  • *7 JIPS (Japan Initiative of Product Stewardship)
    A voluntary effort based on the “principle for enhancing global management of chemical substances (Global Product Strategy: GPS)” that the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) is promoting in response to the decision of the SAICM.
  • *8 eSDS
    An extended Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Adds risk appraisal and risk management content to the conventional SDS.
  • *9 GPS safety summary
    This is a document providing a summary of chemical substance safety information for reference for the general public. Besides information about physical and chemical properties, this document also addresses the usage and processing requirements for appropriate risk management, and outlines risk management measures, etc.; it is used for disseminating information to downstream users.


Activities relating to compliance with laws and regulations in Japan

1. Compliance with the amended Chemical Substances Control Law

The amended Chemical Substances Control Law, which came into effect in April 2011, established a new category of Priority Assessment Chemical Substances to assess the phased appraisal of the impact on human health and on the environment, and substances are added to this category each year. In response to the new Priority Assessment Chemical Substances that were added in 2015, Kao has revised the SDS for the subject chemical products, and provided customers and sales distributors with information regarding chemical substance content.
In addition, the amended Chemical Substances Control Law requires reporting of volumes for each use.
Continuing in 2015, Kao conducted surveys and updated usage information for chemical products in cooperation with sales distributors and managed the information to keep it up to date.

2. Revisions to SDS and product labeling

To comply with the 2012 revisions of the Industrial Health and Safety Law (IHSL) and the Law Concerning Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR Act), revisions were required to the SDS and product labels of almost all chemical products. Kao completed SDS revisions for the applicable products in 2014 as well as revisions to product labels in 2015.


Monitoring and control of releases of chemical substances subject to the PRTR Act

Kao began activities by setting in 2000 the voluntary target of annual emissions of 1 ton or less for each substance from each plant. We achieved this target in FY 2002. Since then, we have continued to achieve this target, excluding leaks of fluorinated gas and similar emissions.

The number of chemical substances subject to the PRTR Act which Kao handled in 2015 was 76, and the total discharge of such substances into the atmosphere and public water areas was 1.3 tons.
In addition, we are voluntarily monitoring and controlling releases and transfers (in the same way as would be done for PRTR subject chemical substances) of chemical substances that the Japan Chemical Industry Association has designated as being subject to voluntary surveys.

Releases of chemical substances subject to the PRTR Act


Management of VOC emissions

Although Kao has no facilities subject to the VOC emission regulations provided by the Air Pollution Control Act, we work to voluntarily cut VOC emissions. For the 100 VOC substances defined in the Notice of the Director General of the Environmental Management Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, we set voluntary targets on the annual emissions volume from each plant for each substance (5 tons or less in 2005, 3 tons or less in 2009, 1 ton or less in 2010), conducted emission reduction activities and accomplished our targets. These activities have become established and we are currently managing VOC emissions with the target of maintaining the activities.

Kao handled 34 chemical substances in 2015, and the total release into the atmosphere was 13.1 tons (★).

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