Reborn Kao: Japanese cosmetics giant unveils mid-term plan for 2025 with sustainability focus
Kao is the parent company of cosmetic and personal care brands including Biore, Molton Brown, Liese, Laurier, and Magiclean.
There were three K25 objectives presented; namely becoming a sustainable company, building robust business through investment (“Another Kao” and “Reborn Kao”) and lastly, maximising the potential of its employees.
At the announcement, Yoshihiro Hasebe, senior managing executive officer at Kao Corporation explained “Another Kao” tapped on its existing technology to develop new products to solve peoples’ needs while “Reborn Kao” focuses on enhancing and expanding the current Kao business.
Within sustainability, Hasebe explained the firm was looking at carbon recycling and positive recycling.
Carbon recycling involves the conversion of carbon dioxide into raw materials. Carbon dioxide is emitted from raw material use, manufacturing, storage, transportation, distribution and even end-consumer usage.
Hasebe said: “There is a lot of carbon dioxide generated and we have been trying to reduce it.”
At Kao Lifestyle Plan Progress Report 2020, it was reported that carbon dioxide emission across the Kao’s entire product lifecycle in Japan was 7,328 thousand tons in 2019, a drop from 7,415 thousand tons in 2015.
The firm is hoping to utilise its catalyst technology to convert carbon dioxide emission into oil or surfactants. Hasebe claimed this would be a “true reverse innovation.”
In addition, the Kao Group has plans to use 100% renewable power sources by 2025.
For positive recycling, the firm said the goal was to create new businesses.
Hasebe cited an example: “We use a lot of plastic containers in our business. We can recycle these wasted plastic containers as an ingredient to make highly durable roads and pavements.”
Kao is reinforcing its current business in what it calls “Reborn Kao”, to create products for everyday lives.
Hasebe explained during the presentation: “We have many products and brands, but recently, there have been fewer outstanding or leading-edge products. This is a crisis to the company.”
“We want to create something that can solve many of the issues faced by our customers.”
For instance, he cited Kao’s cosmetics and sanitary business including diapers.
“We have steadily grown these businesses, but we found that our products are very similar to competitors and we have to improve or change that.”
“We will be pursuing the next innovation in these areas, and by doing so, we can make indispensable products.”
Areas of “Reborn Kao” will include creating products such as protective skin care (friction proof, UV, artificial tanning), skin care cleansing (bubble care), target-focus care (make-up for wrinkles, blemishes, rough skin), holistic skin care (fine fiber, ceramide) and baby health care (skin and stress care).
Kao is also hoping to create “Another Kao” to enter new business fields, especially in the area of improving lives.
This branding aims to launch digital and precision health care business.
The company is tapping on its existing monitoring technologies to discover hair cure treatments, skin cure treatments, and even anti-virus technologies.
Kao recently revealed that application of a low-viscosity silicone oil on human skin can prevent mosquitoes from staying on the skin and keep them sucking blood.
This is unlike conventional insect repellents which deter mosquitoes by affecting its smell and taste, preventing it from finding a human host. Mosquitoes are attracted to skin odours and carbon dioxide. Nonetheless, some people still get bitten.
Kao’s technology alters the skin’s surface by applying a hydrophobic oil, which prevents mosquitoes from landing on the skin, ultimately preventing bites.