Our basic approach and strategy
In keeping with Unicharm's corporate philosophical framework (“Beliefs and Pledges” and Corporate Principles of Action), we always strive for continual improvement with customer-oriented ideas.
Since many of our products come into direct contact with skin, we strive to enhance quality and safety and ensure proper labelling so that customers can use our products with confidence.
As quality assurance is aligned to the quality policies in our mid-term management plan, the Chief Quality Officer (CQO) who is responsible for the conformity and effectiveness of the company's quality management system is assigned to promote internal and external audits mainly through the ESG Division and Global Quality Assurance Department. While taking corrective and preventive measures, the ESG Division periodically reports to the ESG Committee chaired by the president on quality management so that the entire company can carry out quality enhancement activities on an ongoing basis.
All our business offices have obtained ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification, on which our quality management systems (QMS) and environmental management systems (EMS) are based. In 2017, the QMS and EMS were merged in hopes of strengthening the activities that encompass both quality and environmental managements. By integrating the operation of the two management systems, we are now addressing both quality and environmental tasks via a centralized structure.
Outside Japan, in order to keep current with updated regulations in the countries of import and marketing, we are working to obtain certification in each country. We acquired ISO13485, the international standard of quality management system for medical equipment, in Indonesia and Thailand in 2014 followed by ISO9001 in India in 2016 and ISO14001 in Egypt in 2018.
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.
We carry out gate-checks in accordance with the Unicharm Management System Basic Regulations during every process, from materials procurement to product development, manufacturing, sales, and disposal so that customers can use products that directly contact their skin with greater peace of mind.
The Safety Assessment Committee has established a gate function during the stage of product development to conduct risk assessment based on various product uses and disposal. Products for which safety is confirmed receive Safety Assessment Confirmation Sheet.
In addition, we implement product use tests with products that use the safety-checked materials.
Unicharm does not conduct experiments involving animals for its safety checks, including outsourced testing, nor will we in the future. (Not applicable in any cases where UC is held accountable toward society for safety issues or is met with demands from local administrations in certain countries.)
Initiatives for Product Safety
Obtained “STANDARD100 by OEKO-TEX®”, one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances, for Disposable Baby Diaper “Natural Moony”
In January 2020, Unicharm received “STANDARD100 by OEKO-TEX®”, a certification that is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances, for disposable baby diaper “Natural Moony”. We are now in the process of adding this label to the certified product. This marks the first time that a disposable baby diaper in Japan obtained this certification*1.
“STANDARD100 by OEKO-TEX®” is an international safety certification for textile products given only to products that clear strict standards after analysis and testing for more than 350 types of harmful substances by authorized testing institutes*2 that belong to the international consortium called OEKO-TEX®. To use the STANDARD 100 label, a product has to clear the testing criteria for all of materials and chemical solutions it is made from.
*1 Finding by Unicharm as of January 2020
*2 This product was certified by the Nissenken Quality Evaluation Center, the only OEKO-TEX® authorized testing institute located outside of Europe.
Management of chemical substances
We strive to minimize any direct or indirect (environmental) impacts on people from chemical substances used in manufacturing diapers and sanitary pads using the Unicharm Material Safety Guideline. This forms part of our efforts to ultimately eliminate all harmful impacts found in the raw materials we use. To achieve this, we have defined harmful substances, developed a substance list of approximately 3,600 materials and determined target substances for reduction. At the same time, we receive disclosures from each supplier on the complete materials list and conduct toxicity risk assessment. In determining target substances for reduction, we strive to broadly collect the global information on harmful chemical substances and identify and manage the prohibited and restricted substances based on the reference literatures and standards. In addition, with the implementation of a management system for chemical substances contained in products or materials in 2017, we have been able to strengthen our collaboration with material suppliers in more efficiently managing chemical substances.
Safety Check Workflow
Safety Check Workflow
- ECHA (European Chemicals Agency)
- SVHC (Substances of very high concern)
- RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
- STANDARD100 by OEKO-TEX®
- EU DIRECTIVE 2015/1221/EC
- DIRECTIVE 2009/48/EC(safety of toys)
- POPs: Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Dioxin Regulation Act
- Montreal Protocol
Global safety initiatives
Safety-related initiatives are necessary in all locations where Unicharm runs business, so we operate a global safety-check framework. We have been operating a safety-check framework in each country of operation since April 2007. Currently, our local subsidiaries in China, Korea, Taiwan-Greater China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are spearheading efforts. We strive to share experiences and information through general meetings involving all persons in charge of safety, tele-conferences and regular individual meetings. In addition, we visit our suppliers, testing partners and government institutions in each country to step up communication in order to deliver safe and reliable products to our customers.
Also, we steadily rolled out the chemical management system mentioned above at our overseas locations beginning in 2018. This rollout has been completed in five countries, including Japan, as of December 31, 2019. We will continue to roll out the system in 2020 as well to ensure a system is in place for local persons in charge of the growing volume of imports and exports are able to comply with the regulations of the country where products will be marketed, swiftly conduct investigations on chemicals used in products and deliver even greater peace of mind to customers.
Quality management initiatives for manufacturing
As an initiative for quality management, Unicharm Products uses the Unicharm Total Management Strategic System (UTMSS) at all its plants together with information from consumers relating to problems with products in order to make continuous improvements. Working together as a whole, we work to address customer feedback on problems with products which is essential to improving product quality and safety.
UTMSS is used for “visual control” and “standardization” that allow us to provide our customers with products that are consistent and of high quality. All plants implement regular UTMSS activities (at least once per month) to continuously improve productivity and quality. As a specific example, by introducing the “workmanship management” framework, we have minimized individual variations in work, thereby realizing stable quality.
UTMSS members at all plants worldwide gather in Japan twice per year for an all-company meeting. At this meeting, UTMSS members report on the results of their improvement activities and the seven plants that had the best results make a presentation to share/implement their efforts. With Japanese plants as a benchmark, plants outside Japan deploy these ideas in their own countries. We also promote a “mother plant system” between factories in Japan and other countries to transfer frameworks and success stories to overseas plants. Through such initiatives, we are promoting UTMSS improvement activities and passing on such frameworks to carry out productivity improvements and quality enhancement at plants outside Japan.
Initiative for appropriate product labeling
Since 2010, Unicharm has continued to maintain its track record of zero product labelling issues based on its own consumer-oriented labelling code.
In order to provide correct information to customers, our marketing communications (product packaging and advertising) are checked for compliance with applicable laws such as the Law for Ensuring the Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices, the Premiums and Representations Act and the Containers and Packaging Recycling Law and for compliance with industry standards set out by the Japan Hygiene Products Industry Association and our own proprietary evidence-based standards. We also confirm compliance from a customer perspective to ensure that the information provided does not invite false assumptions or mistaken use. In accordance with changes in the environment inside and outside the company including diversification of advertising medium, market changes and changes in consumer awareness, Unicharm updates its own standards and works thoroughly to ensure its application by providing trainings to the relevant divisions.
Additionally, at the product design stage, we have established a Communication Guarantee Meeting as a gate-check on labelling that is based on scientific evidence. Members from the Customer Communication Center also participate in the package design to lend a customer-focused perspective so that the company as a whole provides labelling that is optimal and accurate.