As of the end of December 2021, Kao Corporation has terminated production of all product items that had eye-catching plastic stickers (which are used to attract consumers' attention) attached to them. Kao has thus achieved the goal which it announced in 2020 of comprehensively ending production of these items throughout the Kao Group, including overseas production, by 2021* . This measure will contribute toward the realization of "Zero Waste," one of the leadership actions specified in the Kirei Lifestyle Plan (Kao's ESG strategy).
Although eye-catching plastic stickers were beneficial in terms of making it possible to accurately inform consumers of product features and correct product usage at the time of purchase, they also posed a problem because of the increased amount of plastic needed for manufacturing, and the increase in CO2 emissions deriving from plastic waste and disposal. Kao has now succeeded in completely eliminating the use of eye-catching plastic stickers, while taking all necessary measures to ensure that the information which was presented on the stickers can still be transmitted to consumers, for example by printing it on the bottle/packaging. In cases where it is considered that a separate label is still needed to prevent people from purchasing the wrong product by mistake, or prevent the product from being used incorrectly, Kao has switched over to using FSC-certified paper for the label, instead of plastic. This initiative by Kao will reduce plastic consumption by around 60 tons per year.
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. With this socially conscious ethos, Kao will create a Kirei life for all—providing care and enrichment for the life of all people and the planet.
Recognizing its responsibility as an enterprise that provides products which people use on a regular basis in their daily lives, Kao 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's purpose is to create a Kirei life for all. The Japanese word 'kirei' describes something that is both clean and beautiful. For Kao, Kirei not only encapsulates appearance, but also attitude—to create beauty for oneself, other people, and for the world around us. The Kirei Lifestyle Plan aims to integrate ESG as the foundation of its management to accelerate business growth and create products and services of better value for consumers and society.
Regarding the issue of plastic waste, which is a significant problem for society, in 2018, Kao announced its "Our Philosophy & Action on Plastic Packaging" declaration, and are abiding by the 4Rs: Reduce, Replace, Reuse, Recycle. We are substantially reducing the amount of plastic used in our packaging, by making them thinner, reusable, refillable, and reduced in volume, as well as improving our liquid concentration. We are also developing packaging that is easier to recycle. Plus, we will make efforts to switch away from fossil fuel-based plastics toward the use of sustainable materials.
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. In the area of Innovation in Recycling, we are collaborating with other companies and organizations on the horizontal recycling of plastic packaging. Initiatives for which we are undertaking verification testing include the recycling of film packaging made using multiple different materials, which in the past has been considered difficult to recycle, as well as recycling of mono-material film packaging (which is made using a single material), and of mono-material bottle containers. We are also conducting demonstration testing for many other projects, including recycling of items other than packaging, such as used diapers.
Over the past 130 years, Kao has worked to improve people's lives and help them realize more sustainable lifestyles—a Kirei Lifestyle. The Japanese word 'kirei' describes something that is clean, well-ordered and beautiful, all at the same time. The Kao Group established its ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan in April 2019, which is designed to deliver the vision of a gentler and more sustainable way of living. By 2030, Kao aims to empower at least 1 billion people, to enjoy more beautiful lives and have 100% of its products leave a full lifecycle environmental footprint that science says our natural world can safely absorb.
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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 1,400 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.