Kao achieves climate neutral operations in the UK and Germany

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Today, Kao, a leading Japanese consumer goods manufacturer and one of the world’s largest suppliers of professional salon products including brands like Goldwell and other iconic beauty brands such as John Frieda and Molton Brown, announced that its production and administrative facilities in the UK and Germany will be climate neutral by 2022. Whereas the UK facilities have already achieved this goal for the year 2021, the German operations will follow on January 1st, 2022. For this project, Kao has teamed up with ClimatePartner, a leading solution provider for corporate climate action. The collaboration is an addition to Kao’s longstanding commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.  

Over the past years, Kao EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) has applied a wide range of measures to pave the way towards climate neutral operations: Since 2014, all Kao operated factories and owned offices in EMEA have been using 100% renewable electricity. Furthermore, energy saving measures have been implemented, resulting in a 31% reduction in energy consumption since 2010. Additionally, Kao has reduced its waste water volume by more than 12% since 2016 and completely switched to sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified) in 2015. 

The next milestone in Kao’s strategy is the year 2025: Until then, 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. Additionally, Kao is looking to certify selected brands and products as climate neutral. By 2030, the plan is to replace any fossil fuel heating with alternative heating technologies.  

Climate neutrality as part of Kao’s ESG strategy 

The step to become climate neutral in the UK and Germany is part of Kao’s ESG strategy, the Kirei Lifestyle Plan. 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 the company’s vision of a gentler and more sustainable way of living. As part of the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, Kao aims to reduce its global CO2 emissions to zero by 2040. 

“Becoming climate neutral in two key markets of the EMEA region is a big milestone for us on our way to zero CO2 emissions,” says Guido Kirchhoff, Vice President Supply Chain at Kao EMEA. “However, we do not stop here. Reducing our carbon footprint continues to be one of our key priorities at Kao and we are already planning the next steps to further minimize our emissions along the entire supply chain. The collaboration with ClimatePartner is a great support and will help us on our path to full climate neutrality for all EMEA branches of Kao.”  

Cooperation with ClimatePartner identifies further saving potential 

ClimatePartner supports Kao by calculating its carbon footprint, identifying the biggest emission sources and suitable future countermeasures. These are divided into direct emissions such as heating (Scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2) and other indirect emissions like commuting and waste treatment (Scope 3). By using renewable energy in the UK and German facilities, Kao is already able to completely avoid all Scope 2 emissions. However, the emissions categories Scope 1 and 3 were identified as more challenging to tackle as they account for more than half of the emissions from the UK and German facilities. 

To achieve its goal of climate neutrality in the UK and Germany, Kao is offsetting its unavoidable emissions by collaborating with ClimatePartner. “Our vehicle fleet and our employees’ commute have already been on our agenda for several years. It has been insightful to see that we have not been moving the needle enough in this area. While we are working on this and other projects such as improved waste management in our production sites, our collaboration with ClimatePartner will help us to reduce our carbon footprint while also supporting local communities in their own efforts to lead a more sustainable life”, says Guido Kirchhoff.  

Strengthening renewable energy and the role of women in Morocco 

Key element of Kao´s offsetting activities is the support of a wind farm project in Tangier-Tétouan, Morocco. This project helps to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels and empowers women in the region by improving their economic and social status. The project is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals*, as is the sustainability strategy of Kao. The wind farm comprises 40 turbines with an overall capacity of three megawatts each. The electricity generated is fed into the national grid, reducing Morocco’s dependence on fossil fuel imports, which currently stands at 95%. Furthermore, the project empowers local women through the establishment of agricultural cooperatives and women’s associations, training in cooperative management and handicrafts as well as medical care, helping to strengthen their role in society and improve their employability. The project is W+-certified, a standard that recognizes projects that support women to act collectively to address climate change, poverty and food insecurity.  

Tristan A. Foerster, CEO and co-founder of ClimatePartner, explains: “While working with Kao we have seen how committed the company is to achieve more sustainability for everyone around the globe. We, therefore, are very happy to be able to continue to accompany Kao on its journey to become climate neutral and to support the company offset its currently unavoidable carbon emissions with certified carbon offset projects.”