For the second year in a row, Kao Corporation has been named on the prestigious CDP A-List across three categories, receiving the highest triple-A score for its sustainability initiatives involving climate change, forests, and water security. This is the fifth time the company, with brands Goldwell, KMS, Oribe, and VARIS, has been A-listed for Water Security, the third time for climate change, and the second time for Forests. CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world's environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states, and regions.
Selection onto the list was determined by a global survey of businesses and an evaluation of their activities. Of 12,000 firms considered for the A List, only 14 were named across the three categories.
Kirei Lifestyle Plan
"Receiving a triple-A score in CDP's rankings two years in a row is a great honor and is a huge motivation for Kao to push even further to build and grow a purposeful business and help people live a more sustainable lifestyle, a Kirei Lifestyle," says Dave Muenz, Executive Officer in charge of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) at Kao Corporation. "The Japanese word kirei describes something that is clean, well-ordered and beautiful, all at the same time. We made some big decisions from last year, which we believe has helped us earn this recognition. These include committing to going beyond carbon zero to carbon negative by 2050 and launching programs for our palm oil supply chain."
Recognizing its responsibility as an enterprise that provides products people use on a daily basis, 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 its ESG strategy—the Kirei Lifestyle Plan—incorporating 19 key leadership actions.
KAO Addresses Each Category
Advancements in its commitments to forest preservation have been reflected in this A-List category mention. Acknowledging the challenges that exist in its palm oil supply chain, Kao has launched the SMILE program designed to support smallholder plantation farmers to increase their yield and improve their living standards, as well as alleviating the pressure for deforestation. With water security, Kao continues to pursue its "eco together" approach, working with stakeholders that include consumers, business partners, and society in order to reduce water use through its products with water-saving features powered by its proprietary technologies. Kao plans to further its actions in decarbonization, committing to 1.5 degrees scenario carbon reduction targets, as well as joining RE100.
The key, however, has been to conduct and maximize scenario analysis relating to climate change, forests, and water security by identifying the risks and opportunities, while integrating plans and actions into the business strategy.
CDP Applauds A-List Companies
"Many congratulations to all the companies on this year's A List," says CDP CEO Paul Simpson. "Taking the lead on environmental transparency and action is one of the most important steps businesses can make, even more so in the year of COP26 and the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report. The scale of the risk to businesses from climate change, water insecurity and deforestation can no longer be ignored, and we know the opportunities of action far outweigh the risks of inaction. Leadership from the private sector is essential for securing global ambitions for a net-zero, nature positive, and equitable world. Our A List celebrates those companies that are preparing themselves to excel in the economy of the future by taking action today."
By integrating ESG into the core of its company management and taking active steps in relation to climate change, forests, and water security, Kao aims to drive business growth and better serve consumers and society through its enhanced products and services. With this socially conscious ethos, Kao hopes to create a Kirei life for all—providing care and enrichment for the life of all people and the planet.
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