EMEA English

Our ESG Activities in the EMEA region  

Being a beauty company in EMEA, our ESG Mission of making life beautiful is especially close to our hearts. It is our passion to create products that will make people not only look more beautiful but give them confidence and self-esteem. We therefore put a lot of care into the development of our formulas and the manufacturing of our products to ensure we deliver products of the highest quality that are safe to use for both the consumer and the environment.

Based on the global ESG Strategy, Kao has identified actions for its EMEA operations that it commits to realise by 2025.


Production – Supply Chain and Operations

  1. Reduce our Carbon Footprint: By 2025, all Kao owned and managed locations in EMEA will be climate neutral*.

  2. Responsible Sourcing: By 2025, 100% of Tier 1 vendors, that contribute to 95% total annual spend, will meet our high ethical standards (linked to SEDEX or  equivalent).

  3. Waste Reduction: By 2025, we target zero waste to landfill at all Kao owned and managed locations.
* Often also called "carbon neutral", describing the reduction and compensation of carbon emissions to zero, but scientifically "climate neutral" refers to all greenhouse gases, not only carbon dioxide. 


Products – Sustainable Packaging

  1. Reuse & Replace: By 2025, we strive for 50% of all plastic based packaging to be made with recycled or bio-based materials.

  2. Recycle: We strive for our packaging to be designed to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.

  3. Reduce: By 2025, we will eliminate all unnecessary secondary packaging and source any necessary secondary packaging from 100% consumer recycled paper.


People – CSR and Inclusive Workplace

  1.  Corporate Social Responsibility: By 2025, we will have corporate citizenship efforts in EMEA to strengthen the self-esteem of individuals and empower them to live a Kirei life.

  2. Employee Engagement: We will facilitate and encourage civic engagement by providing employees the opportunity for paid time to volunteer and participate in civic duties, activities, or community programs.

  3. Inclusive Employer: We will actively promote an inclusive place to work for all our employees.

Climate neutral* operations in UK and Germany

Over the past years, Kao EMEA has applied a wide range of measures to pave the way towards climate neutral operations. Since 2014, all Kao operated factories and owned offices in EMEA have been using 100% renewable electricity**. In addition, energy saving measures have been implemented, resulting in a 31% reduction in energy consumption since 2010.
Furthermore, Kao has reduced its waste water volume by more than 12% since 2016 and completely switched to sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified) in 2015.

Since 2022, our production and administrative facilities in the UK and Germany are climate neutral. For this project, Kao has teamed up with ClimatePartner, a leading solution provider for corporate climate action. ClimatePartner supports Kao by calculating its carbon footprint, identifying the biggest emission sources and suitable future countermeasures. These are divided into direct emissions such as heating (Scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2) and other indirect emissions like commuting and waste treatment (Scope 3). By using renewable energy in the UK and German facilities, Kao is already able to completely avoid all Scope 2 emissions.
However, the emissions categories Scope 1 and 3 were identified as more challenging to tackle as they account for more than half of the emissions from the UK and German facilities. To achieve its goal of climate neutrality in the UK and Germany, Kao is offsetting its unavoidable emissions by supporting of a wind farm project in De Aar, South Africa. With its 96 wind turbines that have been installed by the project, the windfarm supplies 439,600 MWh renewable energy to the Southern African grid, that would have been generated by fossil fuels, and delivers an estimated annual emission reduction of 433,929t CO2. 

On top, the project also fosters benefits for the local community by creating jobs and improving the infrastructure. It is thus contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).***

For more information about Kao’s offset project, visit: www.climatepartner.com/1387

The next milestone in Kao’s strategy is the year 2025: Until then, Kao plans to further reduce its carbon footprint in the EMEA region by continuing to cut water consumption, installing LED lights in its facilities, switching to low energy consuming cold mixing process and reducing waste in its production sites. Additionally, Kao is looking to certify selected brands and products as climate neutral. By 2030, the plan is to replace any fossil fuel heating with alternative heating technologies.

* Often also called "carbon neutral", describing the reduction and compensation of carbon emissions to zero, but scientifically "climate neutral" refers to all greenhouse gases, not only carbon dioxide. 
** Electrical energy is one of the energy sources we use.
*** The project supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 6, 7, 13. 


Towards Zero Waste in our Logistics

In order to find new innovative ways to achieve our ESG goals, Kao EMEA is constantly looking for partnerships. Truly a project “out of the box” and a milestone in our zero waste mission is the partnership with GS1 Germany GmbH, a specialist organisation for business standards across industries and countries.

The industry-wide initiative “GS1 SMART-Box” aims to reduce packaging in the supply chain between manufacturers and retail partners as well as increase supply chain efficiency. The reusable box is meant to replace the many different cardboard boxes and packaging films that are currently used while delivering a product from its production site to warehouses, logistics partners and eventually to the point of sale. A real novelty, as until now there was no circular economy between manufacturers and central retail warehouses. At Kao we are piloting this project with our hair care portfolio as we are now transporting hair conditioners to our retailers with the reusable GS1 SMART-Box.  


Reducing our carbon footprint with Airpads

Our goal is to always deliver our products in good quality and condition to our Salon customers.

Our shipping boxes are designed to allow safe and ergonomic packing. Being made of FSC certified paper, our boxes also save planetary resources.

The protection of goods is achieved by using Airpads as filling material. Airpads are made of 50% recycled plastic (PE) and are 100% recyclable. Given Airpads have less weight than paper filling we achieve CO2 savings equivalent to 488.500km driven by car!


Higher-quality recycling rates for our packaging

As part of the company’s ESG strategy and Zero Waste mission, Kao has joined the Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0 with the aim to support better sorting and higher quality recycling rates for packaging in the EU. Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes, the size of a postage stamp, covering the surface of a consumer goods packaging  and carrying a wide range of attributes, which enable more accurate sorting streams, resulting in higher-quality recyclates benefiting the complete packaging value chain. 

A semi-industrial test phase is being conducted with the help of a prototype sorting detection unit based in Copenhagen. If this trial is successful, the next step will be a commercial test phase which will involve consumers being able to buy products with digitally watermarked packaging.

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