THE WHAT? Kao has released progress reports on its ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, first announced in April 2019.
THE DETAILS In 2020, the Japanese manufacturer of John Frieda and Biore reported a 15 percent reduction in absolute scope CO2 emissions versus 9 percent in 2019 and upped its percent of renewable electricity consumer to 28 percent versus 21 percent the year prior.
The company’s progress on its zero waste targets are set to be disclosed in 2022, but it has upped its percentage of new or improved products that meet its own Universal Design Guidelines from 44 percent to 53 percent and progressed towards its goal of confirming traceability to small oil palm farms, having completed this up to own farm managed by oil and fat supplier in the past 12 months.
On the diversity front, the percentage of female managers at the J-beauty firm actually dropped over the course of the year to 28.8 percent versus the 29.4 percent reported in 2019.
THE WHY? Dave Muenz, Executive Officer in charge of Kao’s ESG Division, notes that: “2020 was a challenging year with the entire organization adapting to the myriad of changes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this did not hinder but rather accelerated our commitment to ESG. Kao rapidly responded to the urgent need for hygiene products across its markets, including substantially increasing our production capabilities of hand sanitizers in Japan by thirtyfold. Our efforts to minimize plastic waste saw the launch of MyKirei by KAO in the US with our innovative thin air-in-film packaging. Addressing climate change continues to be one of our top priorities, and Kao will pursue its RE100 and CO2 reduction goals aligned to SBTi 1.5 degrees scenario in order to achieve our ambitious targets of Carbon Zero by 2040 and Carbon Negative by 2050. As the company works its way into the first year of our mid-term business strategy—K25—, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan will continue to form our ESG strategy and serve as the cornerstone of making Kao an indispensable partner of a sustainable society and the people that we provide for.”