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  3. Unicharm Group's Sustainability

Our basic approach and strategy

Unicharm's corporate philosophy is “NOLA & DOLA” (Necessity of Life with Activities & Dreams of Life with Activities). Our concept of NOLA & DOLA: Necessities of Life with Activities & Dreams of Life with Activities, contains our hope that “from newborn infants to the elderly, Unicharm aims to provide people with products that provide physical and psychological support through gentle care so that they may be free of their burdens to fulfill their dreams.” Our corporate social responsibility (CSR) is embodied by our commitment to achieve this aspiration through our business activities and to help resolve social issues in the process. In order to make this aspiration even more effective, Unicharm has established CSR Key Topics and Key Performance Index (KPI).

Unicharm Group's Value Creation Process

In selecting our CSR Key Topics, we hold interviews with stakeholders both within and outside the company to identify topics that are felt to be of particular importance. These topics are then grouped under “Environmental Themes” or “Societal Themes”, and classified according to the level of concern that our stakeholders have for them and according to the extent of the potential impact on our business operations.

Environmental themes

Societal themes

Dialogue on environmental materiality

Dialogue on establishment of human rights policy

After carefully examining the content of the “Environmental Themes” and “Societal Themes” and following intensive discussions, we selected the following five “CSR Key Topics.”

  1. Lengthening healthy life expectancy
  2. Supporting women's independence and improving hygiene
  3. Contributing to global environment
  4. Contributions to the community and respecting people
  5. Strengthening organizational foundation and following fair business practices

Through communication with stakeholders

Unicharm obtained an opinion about the Unicharm Group's CSR key topics and indicators (KPI) from Mr. Hidemi Tomita of Lloyd's Register Japan K.K. to receive an objective evaluation from a wide-ranging perspective. We will utilize his observations to improve our initiatives going forward.

Mr. Hidemi Tomita
Lloyd's Register Japan K.K.

The basics that must be performed as a company are covered in Unicharm's CSR key topics and indicators (KPI). However, considering what is important to the company over the medium-to-long term and focusing on issues that are connected to your business could lead to materiality that is unique to Unicharm. When I look at Unicharm's business, resources seem likely to be most important social issues. I think it is because of this awareness that Unicharm has been working on disposable diaper recycling in Shibushi City. Energy consumption KPIs are also important. However, I think that formulating KPIs that are linked to essential initiatives focused on resource circulation will result in topics for resolving social issues that are unique to Unicharm.

The education on the beginning of menstruation that Unicharm provides can be expected to have more impact. I think there are many regions in the world where there is still a lack of understanding about menstruation. Further expanding your education on the beginning of menstruation in such countries and regions and contributing through your business can be expected to create a cycle that leads to more ongoing initiatives. Positioning such symbolic initiatives as having materiality and promoting their activities will move toward aiming at the SDGs. While it is important to do the things that are required as a company in a comprehensive manner, I look forward to initiatives having a social impact that is unique to Unicharm.

Unicharm Group's Key Topics and Indicators (KPI)

*Main scope of the impact of the initiative.

Message from Management

Tetsuya Shite
Senior Executive Officer,
Chief Quality Officer(CQO) and Head of the Global Human Resources & General Affairs Division responsible for overseeing the ESG Division and Customer Communication Center
Unicharm Corporation

At the Unicharm Group, we are working to create products and services that are the first of their kind in the world, or number one in the world, so as to bring people comfort, emotional satisfaction and joy, thereby contributing towards the building of “cohesive societies” where all people can continue to shine through independence and mutual aid.

With the trend towards smaller families and an aging population in Japan and other mature economies, environmental problems that are global in scale, problems relating to poverty and sanitation, etc. in developing nations, the societal problems affecting the world have become increasingly diversified, as reflected in the issues addressed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We believe that it is necessary to address these problems in a comprehensive manner so that we can “pass the baton” to future generations in a responsible manner and we feel that it is vitally important to work towards the achievement of the 17 Goals and 169 Targets specified by the UN SDGs, as well as working to resolve the various environmental, social and corporate governance related problems and to address their risks.

At Unicharm, we have been focusing on the recycling of used disposable diapers, with the aim of contributing towards the realization of the sustainable society and the building of the recycling-based society. Having started with the development of recycling technology that is capable of turning pulp and superabsorbent polymer(SAP) derived from used disposable diapers back into material that can be used again in the manufacturing of sanitary products, we have also identified three key topics under our “Eco Plan 2030,” our guideline for medium-term environmental measures: Addressing the problem of plastic waste, responding to climate change, and ensuring that we are not contributing to the destruction of forests. We are already implementing strategies to address these key topics.

Within Japan which is headed towards becoming a super-aged society, in aiming at extending the healthy-life expectancy, we are working together with communities and local governments to realize the goal of reducing the number of senior citizens who are isolated at home by raising awareness of the importance of preventing the need for nursing care and of implementing appropriate excretion care, through the provision of products that reduce unease about incontinence so that elderly people become more willing to leave the house. Internationally, we have rolled out menarche (first menstruation) education programs in developing nations, and we have been expanding job opportunities for women in Saudi Arabia at our offices and factory in that country. In this way, Unicharm is empowering women to play a more integral role in society.

In January 2020, we established a new “ESG Division” to replace our existing CSR Division, as an evolutionary step towards strengthening our ESG-related measures and speeding up the dissemination of these measures within the company, and towards enhancing our corporate value by strengthening our ability to spread our message outside the company.

In the future, we will continue to generate innovation, enhance our corporate value and provide value for all our stakeholders by working to address societal problems. For example, we will seek to make a positive contribution to the global environment through our business activities and throughout the supply chain, with the development of a recycling system for used disposable diapers and the promotion of environmentally-friendly products. We will also contribute towards the extension of healthy life expectancy, placing even more emphasis on living in harmony with the local community, and we will be providing support for women's empowerment throughout the world.

Management structure

ESG promotional structure

Unicharm has established a structure to implement and promote smooth ESG activities in order to meet our stakeholders' expectations. Our “ESG Committee” is a cross-organizational structure for the support of ESG, chaired by the Representative Director. The committee meets four times a year to discuss and share information about ESG-related activities, which in turn is utilized in management.

Unicharm Group's ESG Promotional Structure

Core themes and categories of ESG Committee initiatives

Reference framework for Unicharm's CSR strategy

At Unicharm, we operate our global business activities in awareness of the voices of our stakeholders and by referring to various international guidelines. We support the ten principles of the “UN Global Compact”, and have participated in the compact since May 2006.

Communicating with stakeholders

Unicharm pledges to undertake honest and trustworthy corporate activities toward its customers, shareholders, business partners, employees and society under its “‘Beliefs and Pledges’ and Corporate Principles of Action”, and encourages two-way communication with its stakeholders by providing a wide range of dialogue opportunities.

Communicating with stakeholders

  Communication policy (Beliefs and Pledges) Primary communication methods Examples of dialogue themes
Customers We pledge to earn the full support of customers by always doing everything we can Customer Communication Center
Group interviews
Monitoring surveys
Exhibitions and events
Quality, safety and functions concerning products
Opinions concerning products and services and response
Shareholders We pledge to distribute industry-leading returns to shareholders. General shareholders' meetings
Results briefing
Overseas IR roadshows
Summary explanations of financial results
Sound company management
Business partners We pledge to achieve mutually sound growth by maintaining fair and equitable relationships. General shareholders' meetings
Results briefing
Overseas IR roadshows
Supply chain management
Quality, safety and the environment
Employees We pledge to achieve the happiness of associates and their family members by filling each of them with confidence and pride. Labor-management discussions
Employee survey
Employee counseling hotline
Family visit day at factories
Internal intranet and company newsletter
Compensation and health
Pride and satisfaction toward work
Introduction of programs that respect diversity and examples
Society We pledge to contribute to the economic and emotional fulfillment of the entire population and society through our corporate activities. Agreements with local governments
Cooperation with government and NGOs/NPOs
Emerging countries
Activities through industry organizations
Disaster assistance
Continence care classes, Social Walking program
Health and hygiene and local hiring
Japan Hygiene Products Industry Association (JHPIA) and Japan Anti-Pollinosis Council (JAPOC)

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