Kao Corporation has signed up to The Valuable 500, expressing its support for this international initiative to promote the advancement of people with disabilities.
The Valuable 500, which was launched at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting on January 24, 2019, is an initiative aimed at encouraging business leaders to launch reforms that will help to unlock the latent business, social and economic value of people with disabilities.
In April 2019, Kao launched the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, its ESG strategy. Kao's support for The Valuable 500 embodies four of the Kirei Lifestyle Plan's 19 key leadership actions: Universal Product Design, Respecting Human Rights, Inclusive & Diverse Workplaces, and Human Capital Development. By integrating ESG into the core of its company management, Kao will drive business growth and better serve consumers and society through its enhanced products and services. In the future, the Kao Group will continue to implement its unique ESG activities globally, so as to deliver satisfaction and enriched lives for people around the world, and contribute to the sustainability of society.
<Contribution to Business and Society>
In line with Kao's corporate mission, which is "to strive for the wholehearted satisfaction and enrichment of the lives of people globally and to contribute to the sustainability of the world," we are rolling out products and services featuring universal design which makes them easy to understand and easy to use for as many people as possible. We also collaborate with NPOs and NGOs to promote activities aimed at fostering understanding of and sharing the barrier-free approach—including barrier-free access to information—so as to enable people with disabilities to enjoy happy lives that are fully integrated with the rest of society.
We position support for people with disabilities as an important part of our Diversity & Inclusion efforts, and have formulated a basic policy of "Striving for a society where people with and without disabilities work and live together, we create workplace environments for employees with disabilities that make life easier for them and foster a sense of pride in one’s work."
<Promotion of Universal Design>
• To prevent confusion with hair conditioner products, we incorporated notches into the caps of our shampoo containers for easier identification. We have been working to make this standard practice in the industry, and the notch feature has been listed as an example in the relevant Japan Industrial Standard (JIS), specifically JIS S 0021, as well as in the international standard ISO 11156, development of which was led by Japan.
• We established the Kao Universal Design Guidelines in 2011, and we check the design of all new and improved household-use products from a universal design perspective.
• To help people with visual impairments, we have created and distributed braille labels that make it easier to distinguish different product containers.
• We have set up a sign language consultation center to handle inquiries from customers with hearing impairments.
• We have produced around 1,700 commercials with closed captions.
<Collaboration with Schools and Support Organizations>
• We arrange for Kao employees with disabilities to take part in the hand-washing awareness classes that Kao gives at ordinary elementary schools and also at schools for the deaf and special education schools.
• We provide support to help young social entrepreneurs solve social issues affecting people with disabilities.
• We provide sponsorship for the Japan Boccia Association, with the aim of spreading awareness of the importance of building an inclusive society, through both internal and external Boccia experience activities and exhibitions.
• We produce and lend out videos aimed at fostering awareness of the barrier-free philosophy, and we distribute, free of charge, spoken-word CDs for first menstruation education.
<Employment of and Support for People with Disabilities>
• We implement various measures to help people with different types of disability; we have formulated a selection and recruitment guidebook for vocational consultants, and we implement awareness-raising seminars to foster understanding of disability-related issues within the company.
• We have established a special subsidiary as a more proactive means of providing employment for people with disabilities.
• As a result of the measures implemented to date, the employment rate of persons with disabilities at Kao Group has consistently exceeded the statutory minimum level; as of June 2019, 2.42% of Kao Group employees in Japan were people with disabilities.
Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.