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Kao Way

Our Corporate Philosophy

Going back to our company’s founder Tomiro Nagase, the Kao Way communicates our corporate philosophy. It defines Kao’s unique culture and spirit, embracing the unique traditions the company has established over the years and our vision for the future. The Kao Way serves as the foundation of our business activities around the globe. It is the touchstone that we refer to when designing and implementing management systems and strategies.

In this way, the Kao Way provides consistency to our activities across our diverse global organisation, from the formulation of mid to long-term business plans to each business decision that we make. The Kao Way is not a rule book or manual. It acts as a “North Star” or guiding principle for all of us, bringing together the growth of our company and that of our people.



As one Kao, we work together with passion to provide comprehensive care and enrichment to create a Kirei life – a cleaner, more beautiful, and healthier life for all people and the planet. Through innovation that provides excellent value, we share joy and create a safer, more harmonious world for all.

The Japanese word kirei describes something that is clean, well-ordered, and beautiful all atonce. For Kao, this concept of Kirei not only describes appearance but also attitude – a desire to create beauty for oneself, for other people, and for the natural world around us. 

At Kao, Kirei is the value we want to bring to everyday life through our brands, products, technologies, solutions, and services – now and in the future.



By deeply knowing and understanding our world and its people, we aim to improve people’s lives beyond their expectations for a future where humans and nature thrive together.



The Japanese word we use for “integrity,” seido wo ayumu, literally means “walk
the right path.” This unique phrase comes from our founder, Tomiro Nagase. He
taught us that good fortune is given only to those who work diligently and behave
with integrity. We will always choose the path of integrity, even when it is not easy.

  • We treat everyone with respect, fairness, and  empathy and work with sincerity of purpose. This brings out the best in us as people and as one Kao. Respect, fairness, empathy, and purpose.

  • We do what is right, not what is easy. Lawful and ethical behavior is the foundation of the way we do business. Lawful and ethical business.

  • We take our corporate responsibilities seriously, creating safe, ethical, and high-quality products, brands, technologies, and solutions that serve society and protect our planet. Corporate responsibility.

In Japanese, “yoki” means good or excellent, and “monozukuri” means making or craftsmanship. For us, Yoki-Monozukuri means an excellent creation process that is good for everyone involved and enriches the lives of consumers and customers.


  • We develop products, brands, technologies, and solutions that uniquely answer the needs of individuals, society, and the planet, today and tomorrow. Answering needs.

  • We excel at Yoki-Monozukuri because we unite the creativity and energy of every employee and team in our organisation. Across all job roles and functions at Kao, we passionately commit to excellence in what we create. Uniting abilities.

  • We re-invest our profit and energy into serving individuals, society, and the planet with respect. This earns trust and ensures our sustainable growth. Yoki-Monozukuri growth cycle.


Innovation is a way of thinking. Our openness to new ideas has advanced our business since the days of our founder. Whether it is steady improvements, breakthrough technologies, or new ways of doing business and communicating the uniqueness of what we offer, we are committed to growth and change.

  • We do not wait for groundbreaking innovation. We create distinctiveness in everything we do. In what we design, how we communicate, how we market, and all the ways we do business – we strive to be unique. Create uniqueness.

  • We serve people and societies that are constantly changing. We stay ahead of change by continuously improving and innovating what we make and how we work. Stay ahead of change.

  • We are curious and inventive, always open to new ideas and eager to solve new challenges. Stay curious.

  • Innovation is hard. When we struggle, we remember that hard times build resilience and accelerate individual and organisational growth. Difficulties are opportunities.




We believe that people and the planet are inextricably linked. We know we must
consider this deep relationship carefully and holistically, and want our actions to
result in a positive impact on both people (our consumers, our employees, and
our business partners) AND the planet.

  • Everything we do starts with the consumer. We develop products, brands, technologies, and solutions that enrich lives by staying close to the people we serve. We stay close to the 

  • Our employees are our greatest strength. We
    create inclusive workplaces where every person
    can develop to their potential as a professional
    and a human being. Our employees are our
    greatest strength.

  • We respect and value our customers, suppliers,  and business partners. We build strong relationships based on shared values and trust, working together for mutual success. We build strong partnerships.

  • Recognising that all people live on a shared
    planet that cannot directly voice its needs, we
    commit to equally taking both people’s and the
    planet’s perspectives into all our decision-making. We take a holistic perspective.


In Japanese, Genba means the actual spot or on-site. At Kao, we believe that the
deepest knowledge, best ideas and smartest decisions can be found in the
Genba, both externally and internally. When in doubt, we go to the Genba.

  • We discover what consumers and customers
    need and how they are using our products by
    going to the Genba to sense, experience, and
    understand first-hand. We find knowledge
    and insight in the Genba.

  • To make the best business decisions, we
    actively listen to each other. We trust and value

the experience and expertise of people in the
Genba. We decide with the Genba.

  • In a constantly changing business environment, we continually re-assess what we know, where we need to look, and how best to listen to the Genba. We adapt with the Genba.


  • We treat everyone we encounter with respect and openness. We respect everyone.

  • Embracing the world’s diversity of cultures,
    nationalities, beliefs, races, genders, identities,
    and abilities makes business and society
    stronger and more beautiful. We respect and
    value all people in our organisation, our
    business partners, and the communities we
    serve, just as they are. We embrace diversity
    and inclusion.

  • We are stronger together. We work as one
    global team, removing barriers through open,
    honest communication, and collaboration
    across our organisation. We achieve more

  • We are constantly learning and are open to new
    ideas. We seek out diverse perspectives and
    new partnerships. We are open to new ideas.


  • We know that taking action and standing still both carry risks. We choose the risk of action. We choose the risk of action.

  • We challenge ourselves and our coworkers to set ambitious goals and take on difficult challenges to benefit society and the planet. We seek the unique joy that comes from these hard-won achievements. We set ambitious goals.

  • To achieve ambitious goals, we need to take informed risks. If we fail, we reflect, learn, try again and improve. We persist.

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