Kao Corporation has signed The Valuable 500, expressing its support for this international initiative to promote the advancement of people with disabilities.
Related: ADM & Kao Named 2020 World's Most Ethical
The Valuable 500, which was launched at a World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in 2019, is an initiative aimed at encouraging business leaders to launch reforms that will help to unlock the latent business, social and economic value of people with disabilities.
Previously: Kao Receives Consumer Affairs Agency's Commendation for Best Practice
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.
Contribution to business and society
In line with its corporate mission, which is “to strive for the wholehearted satisfaction and enrichment of the lives of people globally and to contribute to the sustainability of the world,” Kao is rolling out products and services featuring universal design which makes them easy to understand and easy to use for as many people as possible.
Kao is also collaborating with NPOs and NGOs to promote activities aimed at fostering understanding and sharing the barrier-free approach—including barrier-free access to information—so as to enable people with disabilities to enjoy happy lives that are fully integrated with the rest of society.
The company positions support for people with disabilities as an important part of its diversity and inclusion efforts, and has formulated a basic policy of: “Striving for a society where people with and without disabilities work and live together, we create workplace environments for employees with disabilities that make life easier for them and foster a sense of pride in one’s work.”
Promotion of universal design
To prevent confusion with hair conditioner products, Kao incorporated notches into the caps of its shampoo containers for easier identification.
The company has been working to make this standard practice in the industry, and the notch feature has been listed as an example in the relevant Japan Industrial Standard (JIS), specifically JIS S 0021, as well as in the international standard ISO 11156, development of which was led by Japan.
In 2011, Kao established the Kao Universal Design Guidelines, which are consulted for new and improved household-use products.
To help people with visual impairments, Kao created and distributed braille labels that make it easier to distinguish different product containers.
Also, the company set up a sign language consultation center to handle inquiries from customers with hearing impairments and Kao has produced around 1,700 commercials with closed captions.
Collaboration with schools and support organizations
Kao arranges for employees with disabilities to take part in the hand-washing awareness classes that Kao gives at ordinary elementary schools and also at schools for the deaf and special education schools.
The company provides support to help young social entrepreneurs solve social issues affecting people with disabilities.
Also, Kao provides sponsorship for the Japan Boccia Association, with the aim of spreading awareness of the importance of building an inclusive society, through both internal and external Boccia experience activities and exhibitions.
Additionally, Kao produces and lends out videos aimed at fostering awareness of the barrier-free philosophy, as well as distributes spoken-word CDs for first menstruation education.
Employment of and support for people with disabilities
The group implements various measures to help people with different types of disability; it has formulated a selection and recruitment guidebook for vocational consultants, and implements awareness-raising seminars to foster understanding of disability-related issues within the company.
Kao has established a special subsidiary as a more proactive means of providing employment for people with disabilities.
As a result of the measures implemented to date, the employment rate of persons with disabilities at Kao Group has consistently exceeded the statutory minimum level; as of June 2019, 2.42% of Kao Group employees in Japan were people with disabilities.
Japan's Ministry of the Enviornment ESG Finance Awards
Related: Kao Corporation Recognized as Supplier Engagement Leader by CDP
In other news, Kao Corporation has been awarded the Gold Award in the Environmentally Sustainable Corporations section of the ESG Finance Awards (Minister of the Environment's Awards) organized by Japan's Ministry of the Environment.
Related: CDP: Kao Corporation Earns A Rating in Climate & Water Protection
This could be achieved through proactive measures relating to ESG finance or Green Projects, or by business enterprises incorporating major environment-related opportunities or risks into their business strategies with the goal of enhancing corporate value, thereby affecting both corporate value and the environment.