Today, Kao Corporation concluded a cooperation agreement with Wakayama City for promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 adopted by the United Nations. Through this cooperation, Kao will contribute to the sustainable development of the local community of Wakayama City in economic, social and environmental ways.
Kao began operating a manufacturing plant in Wakayama City in 1944, where it produces various products for its Fabric and Home Care, Beauty Care, and Chemical businesses. The Wakayama Complex, which includes the Wakayama Research Laboratories, is currently Kao's largest business site in Japan. As part of the conclusion of this agreement, Kao will make contributions in wide-ranging business fields and with research and technologies that support them, aimed at promotion of the SDGs in Wakayama City and sustainable development of the local community. Specifically, Kao will conduct the following activities. The planned timeframe for these activities is one year from today, October 21.
1. Activities to pass down a rich natural environment, including the ocean
(1) Research on marine plastic waste and promotion of recycling
Regarding recycling, the two parties will cooperate in RecyCreation*1, a new system and lifestyle to achieve a circular society that Kao has been advocating since 2015. To protect the ocean from pollution, including marine plastic waste, arising from land-based activities, marine plastic waste collected in Wakayama City will be processed into recycled plastic. Various uses for the recycled plastic will be examined, such as reusing it in tables and chairs at facilities along the ocean shore and as a road strengthening agent in the cycling route that runs along the ocean.
(2) Begin activities for preservation of the ocean environment
Kao will use the wide range of research and technology expertise it possesses and begin activities to enrich the ocean environment.
2. Activities to realize a local community that is highly livable
Kao will conduct activities to create beneficial conditions for raising children. To create beneficial conditions for raising children from the viewpoint of those engaged in housework and childcare, Kao will review what course curriculum is appealing and how to conduct activities through cooperation with monitoring of people raising children in Wakayama City.
3. Activities to develop human capital for the future
Kao will conduct activities to raise awareness in the next generation linked with: 1. "Activities to pass down a rich natural environment, including the ocean." Kao will conduct an educational program, first at elementary schools in Wakayama City, using plastic waste and other problems as lesson materials. While testing this program from the perspective of resolving issues in local communities and the wider society, Kao will examine how to expand the program into city-wide activities.
4. Other cooperation to work toward achievement of the SDGs in Wakayama City
Recognizing its responsibility as an enterprise that provides products which people use on a regular basis in their daily lives, the Kao Group takes active steps to reduce the environmental footprint of its products throughout the entirety of the product lifecycle. In April 2019, Kao launched the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, its ESG (environmental, social and governance) strategy, which incorporates 19 key leadership actions. Kao is now beginning the full implementation of related activities by enhancing its core value of Yoki-Monozukuri that it has built up through its corporate activities to realize "Yoki-Monozukuri with ESG integration (ESG-driven Yoki-Monozukuri)." Kao defines Yoki-Monozukuri as a strong commitment by all members to provide products and brands of excellent value for consumer satisfaction. It plans to further strengthen its initiatives incorporating environmental and social considerations.
Regarding the issue of plastic waste, which is a significant problem for society, in 2018 Kao released "Our Philosophy & Action on Plastic Packaging," which details its approach to plastic packaging. In addition, in September 2019, Kao announced that it would be focusing on Innovation in Reduction and Innovation in Recycling, so as to help realize a society characterized by effective plastic resource circulation.
Kao has been offering the approach of RecyCreation*1, a new system and lifestyle to achieve a circular society, since 2015. One specific RecyCreation activity is to collect used refills packs for detergent, shampoo and other products together with local communities and partner companies, process the used packs into recycled resin and provide it for other purposes.*2 Kao has undertaken research for new types of resource circulation for packaging and has started to validate its value.
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.
Wakayama City was selected as one of the SDGs Future Cities by the Cabinet Office of Japan in 2019. Cities and regions that are conducting comprehensive, foundational activities aligned with the philosophy of the SDGs and that have strong potential to create new value and realize sustainable development, particularly in the areas of the economy, society and the environment, have been selected for the SDGs Future Cities. This January, the Wakayama City SDGs Promotion Network was established to deepen cross connections among companies and groups working toward the SDGs and further amplify their respective activities. Along with aiming to deepen partnerships among companies and groups working toward the SDGs and further amplify their individual activities, the network also serves as a platform to help drive activities toward achieving the SDGs in the region. Currently, approximately 160 companies and groups are participating in the network and its study groups, exchanges and sharing of information about activities.
With its selection as one of the SDGs Future Cities, Wakayama City has defined its vision for 2030 as becoming an Advanced Renovation City that Realizes Sustainable Ocean and Society. Specifically, the city will undertake urban development through renovation*3 of the city as well as activities for renovation of the overall area, including area redevelopment research in the Kada district together with academia and other partners and sustainable ocean development. Wakayama City aims to achieve sustainability across its entire area by improving the sustainability of both its city center as well as fishing villages on its outskirts.
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.