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CEO Message

The Kao Group’s Yoki-Monozukuri is evolving to make even greater contributions to a sustainable society.

Aiming for both “profitable growth” and “contributions to the sustainability of the world”

In 2015, the world reached agreement on two important frameworks aimed at sustainability. One is the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the other is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An international framework to fight global warming from 2020, the Paris Agreement aims to keep the rise in the average global temperature below 2℃. The UN SDGs target global-scale problems, such as poverty, that need to be addressed by the international community. Recognizing the importance of taking action to realize a sustainable society, both industrialized and developing countries have reached agreement on adopting these frameworks.
Based on the Kao Sustainability Statement, the Kao Group seeks to achieve both “profitable growth” and “contributions to the sustainability of the world.” We are helping to tackle social issues through environmentally friendly products that help to conserve water and electricity, and also help to improve health and sanitation. At the same time, 2015 was the final year of the Kao Group Mid-term Plan 2015 (K15), and we achieved all of its targets.

Yoki-Monozukuri since our founding

In 1890, our founder Tomiro Nagase launched Kao Soap with the wish to contribute to people’s cleanliness and comfort. Since then, we at the Kao Group have conducted business activities aiming to enrich the lives of people around the world through Yoki-Monozukuri values in our corporate philosophy, the Kao Way. As times have changed, our Yoki-Monozukuri has also gradually changed to include additional perspectives such as global environmental conservation and a variety of other social issues. The culmination of these changes and additions has brought us to where we are today. In the 2009 Kao Environmental Statement, we pledged to actively undertake environmental initiatives, working together with consumers, business partners and other stakeholders under the theme of “eco together.” Then in 2013, we released the Kao Sustainability Statement, which defines the three key areas of Conservation, Community and Culture, and also clarifies our approach to environmental conservation and the tackling of social issues through development of innovative products and services.

Contributions to a sustainable society in three key areas

In the area of Conservation, we are working to reduce environmental impacts throughout the entire product lifecycle, from raw material procurement, manufacture, distribution, sales, usage, waste disposal and recycling. Because the environmental impacts of products used in the home are especially large during the usage stage, we are developing and offering products that contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and the amount of water consumed during use.
The driver for this product creation is our research and development capability, which seeks to identify the essence of everything we examine. The Kao Group’s R&D divisions conduct fundamental technology research to thoroughly investigate the essential aspects of human beings and substances in a range of scientific fields. We then integrate and mobilize the in-depth research results in each field in our product development research, to offer unique Kao products with new value and to create products that can contribute to solving social issues.
In the area of Community, we offer products that contribute to solving various issues facing society in relation to sanitation, health and aging. In addition to offering products, we also conduct educational activities, for example to teach hygienic habits. We are actively undertaking initiatives to nurture the next generation, such as fun lessons to teach children proper hand washing techniques.
In the area of Culture, we are conducting sound business activities founded on integrity together with our employees and business partners. This culture of integrity has earned recognition from outside groups. The Ethisphere Institute, a U.S. think tank specializing in ethical business practices, has placed Kao on its World’s Most Ethical Companies List every year since it began the list in 2007. This year marks Kao’s 10th straight appearance.
We are also continuing initiatives to promote employee diversity, including support for women’s career advancement. We are working to develop our human capital based on the belief that people have infinite potential and that their capacities are drawn out through taking on challenges. We will promote HR development and appointments according to people’s desires and capacities, and strive to create a corporate culture in which diverse employees can readily make contributions.

Earning the trust of global society

At Kao, we continuously deepen Yoki-Monozukuri, make contributions to solving social issues, and strive to offer new value. At the same time, we conduct fair business activities in accordance with guidelines and standards shared in the international community.
In 2005, we declared our support for the United Nations Global Compact, which are ten principles across the four areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption. The impact of corporate activities on human rights is an issue that has received greater attention in the international community in recent years. On that front, we adopted and released the Kao Human Rights Policy in June 2015, based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In the area of corporate governance, we are continuing to implement various reforms in order to rapidly realize efficient, sound, fair and highly transparent management. In July 2015, we systematically organized our corporate governance activities and described the implementation status of each principle stated in the Corporate Governance Code established by the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
We at the Kao Group will work closely with various stakeholders to realize the Kao Way’s Mission “to strive for the wholehearted satisfaction and enrichment of the lives of people globally,” as we contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.

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