Message from the President
Transitioning from “CSR Report” to “Sustainability Report”
Unicharm was founded in 1961. The year 2020 represents our 60th year in business, while February 2021 marks our 60th anniversary. On this important milestone, we have transitioned from “CSR Report” to “Sustainability Report”, bringing readers more in-depth stories about employees who are working hard on the various frontlines of our operations.
This report covers our initiatives across the entire value chain and future plans with regard to topics in the spotlight worldwide such as “climate change,” “responsible procurement,” “sustainability,” “biodiversity,” “human rights” and “preventing environmental pollution,” in an effort to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of Unicharm today. I held frank discussions on a number of occasions with members of the ESG Division involved in the editing process and examined how best to convey the “non-financial information” required by stakeholders. While this marks our first true sustainability report, by improving even the slightest each year, I hope to gain the understanding of stakeholders regarding Unicharm's vision of “sustainability.”
Unicharm's “purpose” is found in “promoting the SDGs”
We established the “Unicharm Ideals” in 1974 when we were still a small company. We worked extensively to imprint this message so that each and every employee could recite the “Unicharm Ideals” verbatim for embodying this message in our actual business activities. The “Unicharm Ideals” include the following: “We contribute to creating a better quality of life for everyone by continuing to offer only the finest products and services to the market and customers, both at home in Japan and abroad” and “We strive to pursue proper corporate management principles which combine corporate growth, associate well-being and the fulfillment of our social responsibilities.” At the time, we had finally reached 10 billion yen in net sales and were only a small- and medium-sized enterprise with operations mainly in our hometown of Kawanoe City, Ehime Prefecture (presently, Shikokuchuo City). Despite this, and yet precisely because of this, the “Unicharm Ideals” include a very “ambitious dream” and “commitment” considered beyond our means at the time.
In 1981, our 20th anniversary as a company, we established our corporate philosophy of “NOLA & DOLA”, which initially stood for “Necessity of Ladies' Activities & Dreams of Ladies' Activities.” “NOLA” meant “liberate women from burdens” while “DOLA” meant “allow women to fulfill their dreams.” To realize “NOLA & DOLA”, we launched better performing and higher quality products in rapid succession and, in particular, helped liberate women from the physical burdens of menstruation through our “Sofy” brand of sanitary napkins and freed them from the burden of washing cloth diapers through our “Moony” and “MamyPoko” brands of disposable baby diapers. When I took over as president in 2001, we changed “ladies'” in “NOLA & DOLA” to “life with” for “Necessity of Life with Activities & Dreams of Life with Activities” as a part of the changes we made to our corporate identity which has demonstrated that “We are now working to liberate all consumers, from infants to the elderly and even pets, from constraints and fulfill their many dreams.” Our “Lifree”, a top brand in nursing care and incontinence care products, has addressed the need for excretion care, a serious social issue in an aging society, “with the goal of eliminating bedridden seniors” and “helping people go to the bathroom on their own until the last moment.” We also came up with a new dementia prevention program called “Social Walking®” that combined “interaction with society” with “walking” and rolled it out nationwide in Japan since 2016. We further evaluated the effectiveness of “animal therapy” aimed at improving people's quality of life through “interaction with pets.” In this manner, we have developed a series of innovative products and services that support cohesive societies, so that people of all ages and genders, including their pets, can live a healthy and happy life together.
In this manner, looking back on our history, I believe that “Unicharm's purpose was found in resolving social issues.” As such, I believe that our purpose is working to address the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
Sharing and implementing our mission, vision and values among all employees while setting the “SDGs” as our purpose
In our financial results for the year ended December 31, 2019, 62.1% of our sales came from outside of Japan. Our workforce of some 16,000 people is active in more than 80 countries and regions around the world with nearly 80% located outside of Japan. In today's “new normal” where changes become the norm, the key to ensuring flexibility is encouraging independence by “having our diverse workforce think and act on their own while capitalizing on their unique talents.” In 2006, Unicharm announced its support for the “UN Global Compact” and since then we have been actively creating sales and manufacturing jobs locally in the countries and regions where we operate.
The key to maximizing this “diversity” and our agility as an organization is to share “Unicharm's purpose of promoting the SDGs” with all employees, share our mission, vision and values among them and encourage everyone to promise and compete with each other to realize them. Specifically, our “mission” is “realizing ‘cohesive societies’” and “contributing to realizing a society where we coexist not only with people and pets but also the global environment.” Our “vision” is “NOLA & DOLA” which is “‘resolving consumer issues’ and ‘realizing their dreams’.” Our “values” are found in “the execution of ‘Management with Resonance’”. That is, all the companies and employees of the Unicharm Group carry out their work by utilizing the common management model. Specifically, we employ a new management method called the “observe-orient-decide-act(OODA) loop” to implement management grounded in “The Unicharm Way” and strive to foster human resources through this.
To fulfill this “purpose along with our mission, vision and values,” we are introducing and implementing various personnel systems and striving to provide compensation and motivation that are among the best in the region and industry. We also maintain an ongoing commitment to “work-style reform” where we are encouraging diverse work-styles, improving productivity while reducing working hours and maximizing opportunities to create innovation.
This year, 2020, marks the final fiscal year of our 10th Medium-Term Management Plan. Running parallel with carrying through the Plan completely, we are currently in the process of formulating our 11th Medium-Term Management Plan that will kick off in 2021. At the same time, we are moving ahead to announce the “Kyo-sei Plan 2030” (tentative name) in October 2020 that will outline our medium- to long-term ESG targets. Looking ahead, we will continue with various activities in order to contribute to the realization of cohesive societies by endeavoring to fulfill the “SDGs” which happens to be our purpose.
President & CEO