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Environmental communication [EC7]

Kao creates many opportunities to engage in communication with stakeholders and takes steps to further enhance its environmental activities by incorporating stakeholder feedback into management.

2015 activities

Kao has continued to conduct a variety of activities both inside and outside Japan aimed at environmental conservation and raising environmental awareness in partnership with governments, NGOs and other groups at venues including plants, schools, and stores.
Water-saving initiatives conducted jointly with the Chinese government marked their fourth year. Kao conducted new initiatives this year, including awareness-raising activities at over 50 universities in China and a contest with the theme of saving water.
In the sixth year of the Kao International Environment Painting Contest for Children, a textbook to consider the environment based on the prize-winning works to date was published and is being used to raise environmental awareness among children and adults.


Along with Community and Culture, Kao has defined Conservation as one of the three key areas of the Kao Sustainability Statement, released in 2013. This makes clear Kao’s corporate stance of aiming to make contributions to a sustainable society by conducting environmental activities in partnership with various stakeholders.
In 2009 before the release of the Kao Sustainability Statement, Kao recognized environmental problems including climate change and resource depletion as pressing issues. We then released the Kao Environmental Statement, which sets a clear environmental policy and targets looking to the future, including reducing our environmental impact across the entire product lifecycle and searching for sustainable raw materials.
Aiming to contribute to a sustainable society, we believe that working together with our customers, business partners and the wider community is important to advance these initiatives. Among these initiatives, we actively publicize information on Kao’s thoughts in relation to the environment and the features of our environmentally conscious products, based on the belief that it is vital for individual customers who use Kao products to take part in easy-to-do “eco together” activities in their daily lives. As part of this, we also conduct ongoing communication activities with all of our stakeholders to proactively provide information in a range of venues.


Exchanges with local communities through Environmental and Safety Reports

Since 2005, some of Kao Group companies and plants have issued Environmental and Safety Reports as a communication tool for delivering a wide range of information to our stakeholders regarding our corporate environmental conservation and safety activities. We sincerely hope to gain feedback and insight from our key stakeholders providing direction to future activities.

In 2015, seven Kao plants in Japan and the two companies of Kao Specialties Americas and Kao (Spain) produced Environmental and Safety Reports, which were distributed to local residents and plant tour participants.

Environmental and Safety Reports issued by Kao Group companies and plants


Kao Eco-Lab Museum displays information on the global environment and Kao eco-technologies

The Kao Eco-Lab Museum opened in 2011 on the first floor of the Eco-Technology Research Center in Wakayama as a base to communicate information about “eco together” and eco-technologies in an experiential format. The museum saw total visitors reach the 60,000 mark at the end of 2015.
The museum introduces what is happening to the global environment, how eco-products are created, and what are scientific ways to be more eco-friendly at home.
The museum has also prepared an educational program to use after experiential learning during social science field trips, in which about 70% of elementary school students in Wakayama City participate each year.

On October 6, 2015, Their Imperial Highness Prince and Princess Akishino visited the Kao Eco-Lab Museum. President Sawada and staff introduced Kao’s business activities that include considerations for the regional ecosystem as well as environmental conservation activities through partnerships with outside groups.

Their Imperial Highness Prince and Princess Akishino listening to President Sawada

Outside Japan

Water conservation campaign in cooperation with the Chinese government

In recent years, the shortage of water resources has become a serious problem in China. Kao (China) has conducted the Nationwide Cleanliness and Water-saving Initiatives jointly with the Center for Environmental Education and Communications (CEEC), part of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China, since 2012. These initiatives encourage people to “Save 10,000 liters of water annually per household” in China with events held in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and elsewhere. A total of more than 200,000 people have participated in the events in the three years through 2014.
Kao actively encourages employees’ participation in these events while communicating the importance of saving water and ways to save water at home.
The campaign kicked off its fourth year of activities in 2015 with an opening event in Beijing on March 20. Along with a new initiative to raise awareness for saving water at over 50 universities in China, the campaign also held a contest with the theme of saving water. In May, an exhibition and awards ceremony were held in Shanghai for the main works by participating universities.
With cooperation from the Chinese government, Kao (China) will continue pursuing environmental activities that can be done together with university students and customers, who will inherit the future.

Awareness raising for saving water at universities in China

Kao (China) employees also participate in events and communicate the importance of saving water

Kao endorses Cool Choice promoted by the Japanese government

In March 2016, Kao endorsed Cool Choice, a new citizen campaign designed to prevent global warming.
Cool Choice was decided at the 29th meeting of the Japanese government’s Global Warming Prevention Headquarters. It is a national campaign with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% in FY 2030 over FY 2013. With the cooperation of the national government, industry, labor groups, local governments, NPOs and others, the campaign encourages citizens to make “cool choices” in their daily activities, including choosing Japan’s environmentally friendly and low-carbon products and services that are renowned worldwide, and in taking environmentally conscious actions.
Based on the 2009 Kao Environmental Statement and the 2013 Kao Sustainability Statement, we also aim to contribute to a sustainable society through awareness-raising activities done in cooperation with the Cool Choice campaign.


Environmental awareness raising through the Kao International Environment Painting Contest for Children

Kao has been holding the Kao International Environment Painting Contest for Children since 2010 with the theme of “eco together” and the wish that children, who will be playing the leading role in society in the future, think seriously about the environment around them and take action to conserve it. Through 2015, we have received more than 45,000 works from a total of 71 countries and regions.

Publishing the environment textbook “Thoughts about Tomorrow’s Earth”

In 2015, the sixth year of the contest, we published the environment textbook “Thoughts about Tomorrow’s Earth” based on the prize-winning works. In the textbook, paintings done by children around the world are grouped by themes including Water, Forests and Trees, and Energy. The textbook is designed to raise the environmental awareness of children and citizens by having them think about how each environmental theme is connected to the others and learn about environmental problems.

Environment textbook: “Thoughts about Tomorrow’s Earth”

Sixth Kao International Environment Painting Contest for Children

In 2015, Kao Group companies invited elementary and junior high school children to submit paintings, with entries received from school children in 37 countries and regions worldwide. Entries far exceeded the number from the previous year to reach a total of 12,456 (2,450 from Japan, and 10,006 from outside Japan).
During the Eco-Products 2015 Exhibition in December, seven contest winners were invited to the awards ceremony at the Kao booth, and prize-winning works were displayed there. Thatchaphon Kaeokamkong represented the winners by giving a speech on “The Blessings, Happiness and Value Trees Give to People” that his winning work expressed.
To enable as many people as possible to see the prize-winning works, they are being displayed at Kao offices and plants and at environmental events, and along the route of our plant tours.

Winners posed with Mr. Masuda, chairman of the judging committee (right), and Kao President Sawada (left)

“Eco Together” – Planet Earth Grand Prix: Thoughts and wishes from the award winner Thatchaphon Kaeokamkong

“Wealth of Nature”
Painting by
Thatchaphon Kaeokamkong
(11 years old, Thailand)

Tree is a natural heritage, which is magnificent and diverse in its own right. It is a natural representative of growth and prosperity. Tree is a tremendously valuable resource for all. It is a resource of abundant food, ecological system, medicinal herbs, and habitat for wildlife. Tree also purifies air and decreases the wash down of soil. With its verdant color, tree can be a place for recreation. When tree is destroyed, it is extremely difficult to restore. Therefore, we should take care of the tree and the forest as best as we can so that tree will be with us forever.

Outside Japan

Community exchanges through the Kao International Environment Painting Contest for Children

Each of the Kao Group companies that calls for entries in the painting contest uses the opportunity to interact with children in their regions through the contest.
At PT Kao Indonesia, various exchanges with regional elementary and junior high schools and a very active campaign for entries led to an overwhelming 4,228 entries being received. On February 20, 2016, Kao Indonesia held an awards ceremony in Jakarta, both to express gratitude to the children who put their thoughts about the environment into their paintings, and to ask that they continue practicing environmental conservation in their everyday lives.

Contest winners in Indonesia

PT Kao Indonesia president with a contest winner

Parent and Child Eco Workshop creates opportunities to think about eco activities in daily life

Children listening to how detergent is made from palm oil

A student making a craft with help from her mother

The Kao Eco-Lab Museum in the Wakayama Plant held the Parent and Child Eco Workshop on August 25, 2015, for 42 elementary school students and their parents and guardians. The workshop was designed to introduce how familiar Kao products are made based on environmental considerations, and to create opportunities to think about eco actions in everyday life.
After an explanation of the environmental consideration put into making Kao products, participants heard from Professor Fumikazu Masuda, chair of the judging committee for the Kao International Environment Painting Contest for Children, about the eco actions of children around the world in the context of their own communities and cultures using the environment textbook “Thoughts about Tomorrow’s Earth.”
Lunch during the workshop used ingredients sourced locally in Wakayama and included carrot peel and other food parts that are often thrown away to show ways to be environmentally friendly by reducing food waste and eating locally grown foods.
Next, participants made crafts in the afternoon using Kao containers such as detergent bottles. Kao’s containers can be used again and again, and the workshop used the theme of finding yet another use for the containers before ultimately throwing them away. Among the unique and interesting crafts were pencil holders made from Ultra Attack Neo detergent bottles.
The workshop offered a meaningful opportunity to think about eco actions from a variety of angles together with elementary school students and their parents and guardians, environmental experts, and Kao employees.


Introducing eco as part of daily life at the Eco-Products Exhibition

The Eco-Products Exhibition is one of the largest environmental fairs in Japan. Kao has exhibited at the fair since 2008, conducting various activities to introduce Kao’s thoughts on the environment and eco activities possible in daily life using Kao’s leading products.
More than 14,000 people visited the Kao booth during the three days of the fair in December 2015.
Kao’s theme for this edition was “For a Beautiful Tomorrow.” In the exhibit corner, Kao introduced its new eco-friendly products and packaging efforts including recycling research on refill packaging. Chemical products that are beneficial to our lives were also introduced, such as Visco Top, a cement additive that is designed to be gentle on water environments.
At the participatory stage set up in the booth, visitors were able to experience the function of surfactants, dish-washing techniques, eco-friendly and effective hair-washing techniques, the features of refill products and refill methods, and the function of agents for de-inking, which is an important process in paper recycling.

Kao’s booth introducing various initiatives

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