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Kao Joins The Climate Pledge – A Commitment Co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism



Tokyo/Darmstadt, 1 August, 2022 – Underlining its global commitment to reduce its carbon missions to be net-zero by 2040, Kao signed The Climate Pledge, a commitment co-founded by online retailer Amazon and environmental advocacy group Global Optimism.


As a signatory of The Climate Pledge, Kao agrees to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement and take action to neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Kao already set new targets for realizing a decarbonized society in 2021 and is aiming to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to be net-zero by 2040, and become a carbon negative company by 2050.


Sustainability is at the core of Kao’s corporate philosophy and ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan. The Japanese word 'kirei' describes something that is clean, well-ordered and beautiful, all at the same time. Implemented in 2019, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan encompasses three main pillars, namely “Making my everyday more beautiful”, “Making thoughtful choices for society”, and “Making the world healthier and cleaner”. Included in these pillars are 19 key leadership actions, which include decarbonization and the development of clean and environmentally safe products.


By 2030, Kao commits to improve consumers’ quality of life, promote a sustainable lifestyle and make the world healthier and cleaner through decarbonization, zero waste, water conservation and air and water prevention. Kao aims to be net-zero carbon by 2040 and carbon negative by 2050 in its business activities.


To achieve its global goal to reduce its carbon emissions to be net-zero by 2040, Kao is accelerating its carbon reduction pathway by transitioning to non-fossil fuels, implementing measures to further reduce the environmental impact of its products across the entire lifecycle, and proactively introducing innovative technologies. As part of these measures, Kao installed the largest photovoltaic power generating facilities for on-site power generation at its Sakata Plant in 2021. Since last year, the company was also able to further reduce its scope 1+2 emissions and increase the use of renewable energy, achieving 100% renewable energy on all 55 logistics sites in Japan, the Sumida Complex (including the Tokyo Plant), and the Sakata Plant.


In the EMEA region, all factories and owned offices operated by Kao Consumer Products have been using 100% renewable electricity since 2014. Furthermore, energy saving measures were implemented, resulting in a 31% reduction in energy consumption since 2010. In 2022, Kao made its production and administrative facilities in Germany and in the UK climate neutral by complementing its existing efforts to reduce and prevent carbon emissions with a compensation program to offset currently unavoidable emissions. Until 2025, Kao plans to further reduce its carbon footprint in the EMEA region by continuing to cut water consumption, installing LED lights in its facilities, switching to low energy consuming cold mixing process and reducing waste in its production sites. By 2030, the plan is to replace any fossil fuel heating with alternative heating technologies.


“In order to achieve the goals set by our Kirei Lifestyle Plan, we are fully committed to becoming net-zero carbon by 2040. Beyond our own efforts, we believe that strong alliances and partnerships make all the difference. By signing The Climate Pledge, we are part of a meaningful network of some of the world’s largest and most important companies that act today for a better tomorrow”, commented Dave Muenz, Managing Executive Officer and Senior Vice President, ESG, Kao.


“We are thrilled to welcome Kao to The Climate Pledge,” said Sally Fouts, Global Lead of The Climate Pledge at Amazon. “Urgent innovation and collaboration from the private sector, across regions and industries, is critical in order to decarbonize the global economy at scale, and The Climate Pledge offers the opportunity to join a community of leading businesses, all committed to transformational action on climate. We look forward to working with Kao and the more than 300 signatories of the Pledge to achieve this ambitious goal, together.”

About Kao

Kao creates high-value-added products and services that provide care and enrichment for the life of all people and the planet. 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 business, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,420 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,500 people worldwide and has 135 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.


About Kao’s Kirei Lifestyle Plan

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.


About The Climate Pledge

The Climate Pledge is a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040 that forms a cross-sector community of companies and organizations, working together to crack the climate crisis and solve the challenges of decarbonizing our economy. The Climate Pledge was co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019.



Q&A for Communications on Kao joining The Climate Pledge by Amazon and Global Optimism

Tell us more about Kao

Kao corporation is a leading Japanese consumer goods manufacturer and one of the world's largest suppliers of professional salon products. Kao was founded 1887 by Tomiro Nagase, the first product was Kao Sekken (Japanese “facial soap”), the first affordable high quality Japanese facial soap and has given the company its name. Today, Kao is one of the largest Japanese consumer goods companies, it has over 33,500 employees worldwide and is currently active in more than 100 countries. The company holds a portfolio of over 20 well-known and iconic brands, such as: Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries, and Molton Brown.


What does “Kirei” mean?

Over the past 135 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. In the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, Kao lays out its ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy that is designed to deliver this vision of a gentler and more sustainable way of living. By 2030, Kao aims to empower at least 1 billion by 2030, 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.


What is The Climate Pledge by Amazon and Global Optimism?

The Climate Pledge is a cross-sector community of companies, organizations, individuals, and partners, working together to crack the climate crisis and solve the challenges of decarbonizing our economy. Bringing together those that are prepared to run the furthest and fastest, The Climate Pledge calls on signatories to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040—10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. Amazon co-founded the Climate Pledge with Global Optimism in 2019 and became the first signatory of the pledge.


Signatories of The Climate Pledge agree to three principal areas of action:

1. Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis;

2. Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies;

3. Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.


What is Amazon’s Role in The Climate Pledge?

Amazon is a global company, with operations across e-commerce, cloud computing, consumer products and devices, digital streaming, grocery, and more. Amazon co-founded and was first signatory of The Climate Pledge, which calls on organizations to commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. Amazon continues to work to reduce emissions across its operations to reach net-zero by 2040, as well as encourage other companies to join them in signing the pledge to accelerate their goals, plans, and programs to address the urgency of climate change.


What is Global Optimism’s Role in The Climate Pledge?

Global Optimism is a purpose-driven organization that exists to catalyze transformative actions in our world. The organization co-founded The Climate Pledge and is led by two founding partners: Christiana Figueres, former UN climate chief and Tom Rivett-Carnac, former political strategist at the UNFCCC, who together oversaw the delivery of the historic Paris Agreement, the first global accord on climate change. Global Optimism helps build The Climate Pledge community, and provides access to expertise across teams, industries, and NGO partners so that Amazon and signatories of The Climate Pledge can continue to accelerate action and meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.


Why did Kao join The Climate Pledge?

• Overall environmental problems: Scientists tell us that we have a limited window to make unprecedented headway towards limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. No one company or organization can do this on its own and everyone must do their part—business does not operate in a vacuum.

• Recently, Kao’s responsibilities have grown as well as the role it is expected to play in relation to tackling climate change caused by global warming. To be able to deliver a Kirei Lifestyle not only to today’s consumers but also to the consumers of the future, Kao has set new decarbonization objectives aimed at the realization of a decarbonized society. By implementing innovation in reduction and innovation in recycling with regards to CO2, Kao is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040, and carbon negative 2050 in its business activities.

• By joining The Climate Pledge, Kao underlines its commitment to these objectives and joins forces with other companies and organizations, to address the importance and urgency of decarbonization for our environment and for our future.


Kao has set its new decarbonization goals in 2021 already – what additional impact can The Climate Pledge make?

• We believe we cannot do it alone – it takes all of us working together to achieve real and long-lasting change for our environment.

• By joining The Climate Pledge we join 315 companies who sign up for the same goals – an impactful and important statement of commitment to decarbonization that underlines our own efforts, but at the same time underlines the importance and urgency of decarbonization.

• The Climate Pledge community together is a whole-economy approach, which can influence vast value chains and supply chains to make real business changes feasible more rapidly. Together, we can send signals of demand that help deliver the transformational action needed to tackle the climate crisis.


How does Kao plan to achieve its decarbonization goals?

• Kao is accelerating its carbon reduction pathway by transitioning to non-fossil fuels, implementing measures to further reduce the environmental impact of its products across the entire lifecycle, and proactively introducing innovative technologies.

• As part of these measures, Kao installed the largest photovoltaic power generating facilities for on-site power generation at its Sakata Plant in 2021. Since last year, the company was also able to further reduce its scope 1+2 emissions and increase the use of renewable energy, achieving 100% renewable energy on all 55 logistics sites in Japan, the Sumida Complex (including the Tokyo Plant), and the Sakata Plant.

• In the EMEA region, all factories and owned offices operated by Kao Consumer Products have been using 100% renewable electricity since 2014. (Electrical energy is one of the energy sources we use).

– Furthermore, energy saving measures were implemented, resulting in a 31% reduction in energy consumption since 2010.

– In 2022, Kao made its production and administrative facilities in Germany and in the UK climate neutral by complementing its efforts to reduce and prevent carbon emissions with a compensation program.

– Until 2025, Kao plans to further reduce its carbon footprint in the EMEA region by continuing to cut water consumption, installing LED lights in its facilities, switching to low energy consuming cold mixing process and reducing waste in its production sites.

– By 2030, the plan is to replace any fossil fuel heating with alternative heating technologies.

• In the Americas region, all factories and owned offices operated by Kao Consumer Products have been supporting 100% renewable electricity since 2019. Furthermore, energy saving measures were implemented, resulting in a 14% reduction in energy consumption since 2010. In US, Kao generates its own solar energy, which it aims to expand at every opportunity. Until 2025, Kao plans to further reduce its carbon footprint by continuing to cut water consumption and reducing waste in its production sites.

• For its global initiatives in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change across its supply chain, Kao Corporation has been recognized, for the fifth consecutive year, as a Supplier Engagement leader by CDP in 2022, an international non-profit organization that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse emissions

• In December 2021, CDP has also included Kao Corporation in its prestigious ‘A List’ across three categories for the second year in a row. Kao received the highest triple-A score for its sustainability initiatives involving climate change, forests, and water security.


Amazon is regularly being criticised for its poor working conditions and business ethics. Why does Kao join an initiative by Amazon?

• It is an initiative by Amazon and Global Optimism

• The Climate Pledge has an important goal and is an impactful initiative – we believe, we can make a difference together and take a leadership position on climate change

• 315 companies have joined the Climate Pledge so far – we are part of a worldwide network and work together to build a safe and healthy planet for future generations.


Will Kao join other cross-industry initiatives related to its ESG efforts in the future?

• We firmly believe that when it comes to creating real and long-lasting change in sustainability, it takes all of us – manufacturers, retailers, governments and consumers – working together.

• We are regularly reviewing meaningful cross-industry partnerships in all different areas and have already realized some important collaborations

• We are also part of relevant industry initiatives, such as the Holy Grail and The EcoBeautyScore Consortium and of various other packaging and logistics initiatives in the EMEA region


Press Contact South Africa anke.sander-duncan@kao.com

Contact Kao head office on 011 312 5070 for more information and to ask a friendly rep to visit you.


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