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Kao Sustainability Statement

2015 Results & 2016 Targets

The Kao Group developed the Kao Sustainability Statement to represent its approach to sustainability and announced it both inside and outside the group in July 2013. The Statement defines the ways in which Kao aims to contribute to a sustainable society through business activities, including the three key areas of Conservation, Community and Culture.

The Kao Way and the sustainability of the Kao Group

The Kao Way

The starting point of all of Kao’s sustainability activities is Yoki-Monozukuri, as defined in our corporate philosophy, the Kao Way. In the Kao Way, we define Yoki-Monozukuri as “a strong commitment by all members to provide products and brands of excellent value for consumer satisfaction.” Our mission as defined in the Kao Way is “to strive for the wholehearted satisfaction and enrichment of the lives of people globally and to contribute to the sustainability of the world.” As members of the Kao Group, in order to fulfill this mission, we commit fully to working together to share joy with consumers and customers through products and brands of value, contributing to clean, beautiful and healthy living and, in the Chemical Business, contributing to the development of industries.
Based on the Kao Way, the Kao Sustainability Statement communicates our approach to building a sustainable society and the key areas in which we must focus our efforts.

Materiality for Kao

To further contribute to a sustainable society through our business, we must clearly identify the material issues for the Kao Group. Through the process of identifying the material issues described below, we defined the three key areas of Conservation, Community and Culture.

Five perspectives

  1. Aligned with the Kao Way
  2. Linked to Kao’s mid- to long-term management plan
  3. Social urgency of solving the issues
  4. Availability of effective resources in the Kao Group to solve the issues
  5. Impact on the sustainability of the Kao Group
Kao Sustainability Statement

Process to identify material issues

  1. Assessing the current situation
    The Sustainability Department led a project to identify and assess social issues recognized by the Kao Group and Kao’s current Group-wide efforts to solve these issues.
  2. Identifying opinions from stakeholders and the expectations of society
    We then interviewed experts and reviewed the opinions of our stakeholders including consumers and employees. We conducted a review of international standards related to corporate social responsibility and surveys by global evaluation organizations to identify the expectations of the Kao Group.
  3. Reviewing priority from the perspective of business strategy
    We then discussed the priority of the issues in terms of the Kao Group’s business from the five perspectives on the right.
  4. Determining the material issues
    We selected and finalized two target issues as where to focus our efforts for each of the three key areas.

Kao Sustainability Statement

Kao’s mission is to strive for the wholehearted satisfaction and enrichment of the lives of people globally and to contribute to the sustainability of the society. By developing innovative products and services, we work to conserve the environment and foster well-being in the communities we serve now and in the future.

To do this, in partnership with our stakeholders, we promote a culture of integrity in everything we do and we provide a workplace that maximizes the potential of each and every one of our employees.
To advance our business responsibly and sustainably, we are focusing our efforts on the three key areas of Conservation, Community and Culture.

Three Key Areas and Target Fields

Conservation
  • Kao commits to reduce our environmental impacts, to conserve biodiversity and to conduct environmental activities through community engagement so that we contribute to the conservation of the planet, as stated in the Kao Environmental Statement.
  • Reducing environmental impacts of our business activities
    We work to understand and reduce the environmental impacts of our business activities through the whole lifecycle of the products, from raw materials procurement to production, logistics, sales, use and disposal.
  • Environmental activities in partnership with stakeholders
    We partner in a broad range of environmental conservation activities with consumers, business partners, and communities, in line with the theme of “eco together.”
Community
  • Kao commits to make a positive difference in the communities we serve through our business and partnerships.
  • Engaging with communities through business
    We build close connections with consumers by developing products that foster well-being in the communities we serve, focusing particularly on issues related to aging populations, health, cleanliness and hygiene.
  • Engaging with local communities through partnerships
    We partner with local communities to improve quality of life. We empower employees to engage with their communities in the spirit of volunteerism.
Culture
  • Kao’s people are our most important asset in successfully bringing to life our sustainability plans. We conduct business with integrity, respect diversity among our employees, and create new values for society through improvements and innovation in our products and ways of working.
  • Integrity
    By operating under the spirit of integrity handed down to us from our founder, we will build trust among all our stakeholders worldwide. We will promote a culture of integrity from our executives and employees, through to our external business partners.
  • Diversity & Inclusion
    We will build a culture that respects the diversity of each and every one of our employees and allows them to work to the full extent of their potential and commitment.

Gaining employee understanding and support

To develop activities based on the Kao Sustainability Statement, all Group members need to fully understand the thinking behind it. We have been conducting educational activities for employees using various approaches since July 2013, when we announced the Kao Sustainability Statement.

Briefing sessions for all divisions and Group companies

We conduct briefing sessions for managers in all divisions of Kao Corporation and Group companies. The sessions cover the background to developing the Kao Sustainability Statement and include specific examples of activities in each key area and time for exchanging opinions. In 2015, we held 11 briefing sessions at Kao Group worksites in Japan, mainly at production sites. One session was also held at a Kao Group outside Japan.

Informational materials (in English)

Web-based communications

We publish information on the company Intranet system to aid understanding of the Kao Sustainability Statement.
Each month, we release on the Intranet a Sustainability Essay written by leaders from each division about their thinking toward sustainability. We also release Sustainability Tips, which introduces social trends and initiatives by Kao and other companies in an easy-to-understand format.
In 2015, these efforts were expanded to the Kao Group outside Japan so that by the end of the year, the same information that is available in Japanese could be shared by all Group companies using the Intranet.

Education through online learning

An e-learning program was held for all employees with Internet access in the Kao Group in Japan to facilitate their understanding of the thinking behind Kao’s approach to sustainability. The curriculum included the social background of demands for sustainability, the Kao Sustainability Statement and specific examples of activities. About 90% of the eligible 16,000 employees participated in the e-learning program.

An e-learning program

Internal publications

Our in-house magazine for all Kao Group members, KAO FAMILY, is published four times a year in both English and Japanese. It features a series of articles aimed at deepening employees’ understanding of the Kao Sustainability Statement.
A special feature in the October 2013 issue just after the Statement was announced described the background to developing the Statement as well as details of its content. Articles published in 2014 and 2015 introduced examples of specific activities in the three key areas. The magazine will continue to feature articles on Kao’s sustainability activities in 2016.

Articles in our in-house magazine KAO FAMILY

Sustainability promotion structure

Under the Sustainability Committee, chaired by the President, divisions engaged in each of the three key areas take responsibility to set targets, implement the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, and Act) cycle and manage Group-wide activities.

Structure to promote activities in key areas

Stakeholder communication

Kao takes in expectations of society through dialogue with stakeholders and incorporates these expectations into its activities and targets.

Stakeholder communication
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