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Our Kao Salon Division ESG Strategy and Activities

With its sustainability strategy tailored specifically to the salon business, Kao Salon Division aims to create real and lasting change, and to support the group’s global sustainability goals. The aim is to reduce the organisation’s collective impact on the environment by streamlining the footprint of each brand’s product portfolio and empowering salon owners to operate their salons more sustainably. Kao Salon Division’s sustainability strategy is based on three pillars.


Products – We make life beautiful by giving salons, stylists and clients products that work with our planet in mind.

1. Low-impact Formulations: To reduce the ecological impact of our formulas by systematically enhancing them. E.g.

  • By 2025, 100% of our palm oil derivatives  will be from certified sources (RSPO).

  • By 2025, we strive to achieve at least 95% biodegradability in a minimum of 50% of our formulations.
2. Sustainable Packaging: To develop solutions that minimise waste and promote a circular material flow.
  • By 2025, 50% of our plastic-based  packaging (by weight) will be made from recycled or bio-based materials (based on global availability of PCR material).

  • By 2025, 80% of all our packaging (by weight) will be designed for recyclability.

  • By 2025, secondary packaging will be used only if absolutely necessary – and if it is recyclable or made from recycled materials (if regulation allows and total environmental impact is positive).
3. Zero CO2 and Waste Operations: To work towards climate neutral* operations and to reuse, recycle or recover all our waste.
  • By 2025, we will reduce our CO2 emissions (main salon manufacturing site, Darmstadt, Germany) by 50% vs. 2017.

  • By 2025, we will achieve 100% climate neutral production in our main salon manufacturing site in Darmstadt, Germany.

  • 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. 


Partners – We make life beautiful by empowering salon owners to operate more sustainably

1. Environmental Education: To offer environmental training for salons and stylists, supported by certification.

  • In 2022, sustainability will become an integral part of all our offerings.

  • In 2023, we will launch interactive E-learning and support tools to help salon owners run their salons more sustainably.
2. Support minimal impact: To provide dedicated support to help reduce the environmental impact of our partner salons.
  • By 2025, our academies will be upgraded to serve as blueprints for sustainable salon operation (energy, water, COand waste).

  • By 2025, we will show how to cut the waste of Kao Salon products** at salon level by up to 30% using our academies as benchmark (**total waste of Kao Salon activities). 
3. Sustainable Communication: To empower our salon partners and their clients to make informed choices.
  • In 2021, we have begun with KMS to digitally disclose all product ingredients and their functions (other brands to follow until 2025).

  • Since 2020, sustainability has become a key topic at ‘Kao Salon Global Experience’ event featuring external experts and top salons.

  • By 2023, we will have reduced our print communication materials by 30% (vs. 2019).


People – We make life beautiful for salons, stylists and their clients by doing our bit to make the world a better place.

1. Purpose-driven brands: To ensure that all brands in our portfolio make their own contributions to society.

  • By 2022, each master brand will have a distinct, authentic purpose and plan to positively contribute to society.

2. Customer-led philanthropy: To support causes that are close to the hearts of our salon partners.

  • We allow our employees to personally engage with our philanthropic endeavours.

  • From 1 day per employee per year we will increase our commitment to 3 days by 2025.
3. Eco-conscious work environments: To make sustainability a natural part of our sites and actively promote sustainable behavior.
  • By 2022, selected Kao sites will partially or fully operate on solar power.

  • By 2025, we will have reduced our car fleet’s CO2 emissions in average to below 95 g/km, a 32% reduction vs. 2020 (in EMEA).


Packaging reduction with pouch solutions

As part of the company’s global 4R strategy (Reduce, Replace, Reuse, Recycle), Kao Salon Division has implemented several innovative pouch solutions, like Goldwell Structure+Shine application pouches, Oribe’s 1L refill pouches (top left image) or Goldwell LightDimensions SilkLift (top right image).

Its packaging uses 80% less plastic, saves 85% waste volume and causes 65% less CO2 emissions compared to its former packaging.


Supporting a circular economy

With the use of recycled plastic for our packaging and improving the recyclability of our packaging, we are actively supporting a circular economy.

Therefore, all KMS and Dualsenses shampoos and conditioners (retail sizes) are fully recyclable and more and more of our packaging is using recycled plastic such as Dualsenses Serum Spray bottles (top right) or KMS ConsciousStyle Multi-Benefit Spray (top left) which are made with 50% recycled plastic.


Reducing our carbon footprint with climate neutral* products

Kao Salon Division is committed to reduce our carbon footprint. We are proud that our R&D and Manufacturing sites in Germany as well as our Global Headquarters are already climate neutral.

Together with ClimatePartner we have also worked on making some of our biggest brands climate neutral: During 2022 KMS, Colorance (top left) and all System Developer Lotions (top right) will be certified climate neutral.
* 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. 


Making our products vegan

We appreciate that many consumers are making conscious decisions about consuming products based on animal derived ingredients. Where possible, we design our products with vegan formula and in fact, most of our products are vegan already today.

This is true for our hair color portfolio with brands like Topchic (top left), Colorance and LightDimensions but also for most of our care and styling products.

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