Our basic approach and strategy
ost of Unicharm's products are consumables essential to a clean and healthy lifestyle, which closely relates to the global environment through our use of resources and emission of waste. As we have expanded our operations globally centered on Asia in order to provide better products to consumers around the world, our role and responsibility for reducing our environmental impact has also increased with each passing year.
All of our employees are committed to environmental activities following the Basic Environmental Policy and the Environmental Action Guidelines developed based on our corporate philosophical framework (Unicharm Ideals, “‘Beliefs and Pledges’ and Corporate Principles of Action”). We carefully monitor the impact our business activities have on the environment, and we are promoting initiatives to realize “Twin Eco Goals” by reducing our environmental impacts and improving our economic efficiency, with the aim of achieving a sustainable society.
Basic Environmental Policy and Environmental Action Guidelines
Unicharm Group Basic Environmental Policy:
As a company that engages in the manufacture and sale of disposable products, we recognize the extent of our responsibility to the global environment. Through our corporate activities we strive to create environmentally-friendly products so that we may in the future pass on a beautiful earth to future generations.
We are committed to providing goods and services that bring comfort, excitement, and joy to people throughout the world and we are determined to realize the sustainable development of a society that achieves a balance between environmental conservation and economic growth.
Unicharm Group Environmental Action Guidelines
Abide by all laws and regulations
Reduce the use of natural resources
Make sound choices for the environment
Learn more about environmental issues
Share efforts for helping to improve the environment
Our environmental activities are collectively managed and overseen by the ESG Committee which is chaired by the Representative Director.
The integrated implementation of ISO14001 and ISO9001, which is closely linked to our day-to-day operations, is promoted proactively by each business location with the implementation of gate-control based on pre-set management items and key performance indicators (KPIs) and of a PDCA cycle. The ESG Division handles monitoring etc. of environment-related activity status in the value chain as a whole and reports to the ESG Committee which meets four times a year. Unicharm's “Eco Plan 2020” which was formulated in 2016 is positioned as embodying the company's key environmental targets that are translated into the targets of each individual division and in turn provide a basis for more finely-tuned activities through linkage to targets set for individual employees and weekly action plans.
As 2020 is the final year of implementation of “Eco Plan 2020”, Unicharm has formulated a new “Eco Plan 2030” which embodies the key environmental targets for the whole company.
Environmental Management Structure
Environmental management in conformance with ISO
In order to improve our environmental performance, Unicharm has introduced ISO14001. We have been promoting continuous improvement in accordance with Environmental Management System (EMS) activities.
In order to further strengthen both our quality and environmental activities, in 2017, we merged our Quality and Environment management systems, reinforced our activities to improve quality and reduce our environmental impact and implemented environmental initiatives through our business activities. Furthermore, in addition to the non-woven fabric processing and absorbent materials aspects of the production of disposable diapers and sanitary products which had been the main focus of our environmental activities in the past, we have expanded the scope of application to include the pet care product category and also strengthened our activities aimed at achieving “Eco Plan 2020” which embodies our key environmental targets set by the group.
ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO13485 Certification at the Unicharm Group (certified unit)
|Name of unit obtaining certification||Certification status|
|Unicharm and Unicharm Products (Japan)||○||○||○*|
|Unicharm Kokko Non-Woven (Japan)||○||○|
|United Charm (Taiwan-Greater China)||○||○|
|Uni-Charm (Thailand) (Thailand)||○||○||○|
|PT.UNI-CHARM INDONESIA Factory1 (Indonesia)||○||○||○|
|PT.UNI-CHARM INDONESIA Factory2 (Indonesia)||○||○||○|
|PT.UNI-CHARM INDONESIA Factory3 (Indonesia)||○||○||○|
|Unicharm Consumer Products (China) (Shanghai, China)||○||○|
|Unicharm Consumer Products (Jiangsu) (Jiangsu, China)||○||○|
|Unicharm Consumer Products (Tianjin) (Tianjin, China)||○||○|
|Unicharm Gulf Hygienic Industries (Saudi Arabia)||○||○|
|LG Unicharm (Korea)||○||○|
|Unicharm India (India)||○|
|Unicharm Australasia (Australia)||○|
|Unicharm Middle East & North Africa Hygienic Industries (Egypt)||○||○|
|Diana Unicharm (Vietnam)||○|
|DSG International (Thailand) (Thailand)||○|
|Disposable Soft Goods (M) (Malaysia)||○|
- ISO13485 certification is applicable only to Unicharm Products Co., Ltd.
Environmental audits for risk management and enhancing performance
Unicharm conducts three types of environmental audits in order to eliminate environmental risks and enhance environmental performance. These include target-focused audits such as:
- Periodic audits in conformance with ISO14001-compliant environmental management systems;
- Onsite confirmations at industrial waste processing partners; and
- Confirmation of compliance with laws and regulations.
In addition, operational audits performed by the Management Auditing Department confirm the status of waste treatment at sales offices that are not covered by an environmental management system.
Results of Environmental Regulatory Audits
It has been confirmed that in 2019 as well, surveys, data and documentation for submission to governments as required by environmental laws and regulations were submitted correctly. No fines have been incurred due to violations of environmental laws or regulations. Furthermore, there are no environmental matters pending.
Validation of environmental protection activities
Our company identified materiality through meetings with investors and NGOs in 2016 and, based on these findings, drafted “Eco Plan 2020” as a set of medium-term environmental targets for 2020. In 2019, besides continuing to implement “Eco Plan 2020”, we also formulated “Eco Plan 2030”.
Materiality which Unicharm identified
Eco Plan 2020
|■Recovery technologies for used disposable diapers (Japan)||Established technologies||Starting with local governments||Start testing||Cycle model establishment||Cycle model operation start||Cycle model operation start||○||Full-scale operations|
|■Recycling of product loss (Overseas)||2,000 tons||2,600 tons||2,600 tons||4,300 tons||4,000 tons||6,000 tons||○||4,000 tons|
|■Third party certification of paper and pulp suppliers (Japan)||82%||80%||94%||95%||97%||95%||×||100%|
|■Third party certification of paper and pulp suppliers (Overseas)||-||84%||87%||90%||92%||95%||○||100%|
|■Third party certification of palm oil suppliers (Japan)||0%||Start of investigation||Ascertained||2%||10%||31%||○||100%|
|■Environmentally-Friendly Products (Japan)||72%||78%||80%||86%||93%||89%||×||100%|
|■Products with the Eco Charming label (Japan)||50%||56%||58%||66%||60%||66%||○||60%|
|■Products with the Eco Charming label (Overseas)||0%||Survey||Understanding Completion||Operation Start Delay||Operation Start||Operation Start||○||Operation Start|
|■CO2 emissions base unit during manufacturing compared to 2015 (Japan)||Base year||-2.4%||-4%||-6%||-8%||-8%||○||-10%|
|■CO2 emissions base unit during manufacturing compared to 2015 (Overseas)||Base year||-||-3%||-6%||-8%||-8%||○||-10%|
|■Collection of overseas site data (compared to sales)||73%||77%||81%||83%||85%||88%||○||80%|
- Regarding reduction of waste, the above assessment was made because in 2019 we started verification testing and realized the planned implementation in the City of Shibushi and we were able to convert 6,000t/year of product loss generated during the manufacturing stage into cat continence care products, representing achievement of the planned goals.
- Regarding procurement of sustainable materials, with respect to paper pulp within Japan, the percentage remained at around the same level as in the previous year representing a failure to achieve the planned target; overseas, however, switching over to sustainable paper pulp through collaboration with suppliers enabled us to achieve the planned target, bringing the percentage up to roughly the same level as in Japan. With regard to palm oil, the above assessment was made because of a successful switch over to using the Mass Balance (MB) model, with approximately 30% of all palm oil used being RSPO certified.
- Regarding measures against climate change, although production of environmentally-friendly products has increased, there were still some product items left with respect to which progress in switching over to environmentally-friendly product specifications has been limited, and the overall objectives have not yet been met. With regard to the percentage of Eco Charming products, within Japan, the plan had been realized as of 2018 ahead of schedule and related operations had already begun overseas so, overall, the plan had been successfully implemented. The above assessment was made because we had achieved our target of reducing CO2emissions intensity at the manufacturing stage and production locations that have received third-party certification now account for 88% of the company's total sales.
- With regard to those items where the target for 2020 has already been achieved (including product loss recycling amount, Eco Charming product ratio and sales ratio based on data collection at overseas production sites), we are continuing to promote further efforts to surpass the performance realized in 2019.
Meetings with stakeholders to exchange views during the implementation process of “Eco Plan 2030”
Holding meetings to exchange opinions on environmental activities
With the aim of correctly identifying key environmental issues and using this knowledge effectively in our business activities, in April 2019, we held a meeting to exchange ideas with WWF Japan. Four WWF Japan officials – Mr. Sadayoshi Tobai, Conservation Director; Mr. Yosuke Ikehara, Climate and Energy Project Leader, Mr. Yukihiro Misawa, Plastics Policy Manager with WWF Japan's Seafood Markets Group and Ms. Chiaki Furusawa of WWF Japan's Forest Program – attended the meeting, together with several managers from Unicharm's Marketing and CSR divisions.
The meeting participants from WWF Japan noted that “before setting and disclosing environmental goals for 2030, it is important to first outline the company's vision for where it wants to be in 2050. After having established this ‘2050 Vision’, the company must then start to think about what it needs to achieve by 2030 in the process of realizing this overarching vision.
In light of Unicharm's business areas, the three main issues that Unicharm ought to focus on would include: (1) plastic waste pollution, (2) response to climate change and (3) sustainable procurement of forest resources”.
Following on from this suggestion, the WWF Japan officials pointed out some concrete steps that Unicharm could take to address these issues. Firstly, in regard to “plastic waste pollution,” the WWF Japan officials praised the “used disposable diaper recycling project” that Unicharm has been implementing. They also recommended that Unicharm should work to reduce the quantity of materials consumed and make effective use of recycled materials by following the “3Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in the correct order when addressing the issue of plastic waste. In addition, they suggested that: “Unicharm could consider adopting the ‘5Rs’ by adding ‘Refuse’ and ‘Replace’ to the existing ‘3Rs’ and should work steadily to achieve progress in this area by focusing on what can be done now. Unicharm should also proactively disclose information that makes it possible to monitor the status of implementation of the measures taken by the company.”
Secondly, in regard to measures taken to “respond to climate change”, the WWF Japan officials gave a positive evaluation of Unicharm's disclosure of Scope 3 CO2emission data covering the entire supply chain which we have been undertaking for some years now and of us becoming the 17th company in Japan to establish certified “Science Based Targets (SBT)”, etc. They also put forward the following suggestions: “Over the last 20 years, the amount of economic damage caused by torrential rains, floods, droughts, etc. has doubled. Today, climate change is an issue that affects the whole of society. Given this situation, if every company announces initiatives aimed at helping to realize a “Net Zero CO2Emissions Society by 2050” and lobbies government agencies and electric power providers to work towards this goal too, then this would speed up the creation of a “Renewable Energy Society” with dramatically reduced CO2emissions. We hope that Unicharm will also take proactive steps in this regard.”
Finally, in regard to “sustainable procurement of forest resources”, the WWF Japan officials praised Unicharm for switching over to the use of third-party certified forest products and palm oil and for implementing appropriate disclosure in relation to these activities. They also offered the following suggestions: “Even in the case of certified forest products, there may still be problems depending on exactly where the materials are produced. It would advisable to implement thorough surveys of producer areas along with disclosure of relevant information. We also hope that Unicharm can expand its utilization of certified materials by implementing activities that follow the guidelines relating not only to raw materials using in product manufacturing, but also those relating to forest products used in the manufacturing of office furniture, handout materials, etc.”
Environmental Materiality Identified by Unicharm in Relation to the Period Leading up to 2030
Eco Plan 2030
|Environmental issues||Implementation items||Baseline year||
|Responding to the problem of plastic waste||Reducing usage in relation to packaging materials||2016||Per unit of sales –30%||Realizing a new society with “zero” plastic waste|
|Sale of products that contain no petroleum-derived plastic||-||10 stock-keeping units (SKU) or more sold|
|Raising awareness about proper disposal of used products||-||10 stock-keeping units (SKU) or more sold|
|Eliminating the use of plastic in sales promotional items||-||Rolled out at all local management units (LMU)|
|Responding to climate change||Reducing CO2emissions associated with raw materials procurement||2016||Per unit of sales –17%||Realizing a society with net “zero” CO2emissions|
|Reducing CO2emissions in manufacturing||2016||Per unit of sales –34%|
|Reducing CO2emissions associated with disposal of used products||2016||Per unit of sales –26%|
|Not contributing to forest destruction (response to procurement-related issues)||Ensuring traceability to pulp and palm oil production locations (country/region)||-||Completed||Realizing a society with “zero” forest destruction related to the purchasing of timber|
|Expanding the use of certified pulp (PEFC and CoC certified)||-||100%|
|Expanding the use of certified palm oil (RSPO certified)||-||100%|
|Promoting the recycling of disposable diapers||-||Rolled out in at least 10 municipalities|
(Unicharm's targets from a coordinated ESG perspective are scheduled to be announced in the autumn of 2020)
Energy/material flow from the entire lifecycle perspective
As a manufacturer of consumer products, our company uses resources in various aspects of its business activities. As a responsible manufacturer that utilizes resources and runs businesses, we engage in efforts to improve the environment at every stage of the supply chain through all of our business activities, from the procurement of materials to manufacturing, transport and disposal of products after use.
Emissions from major production bases in Japan total 23,800 tons over 99% of which were recycled.
Energy/material flow from a lifecycle perspective