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  3. CSR Key Topic 4: Contributing to the Community

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Our basic approach and strategy

Unicharm's approach to “contributing to society” aims to help solve social issues through business development. Besides striving to make a contribution on a global scale, Unicharm is also serious about tackling problems that affect local communities that have a close relationship with Unicharm's business activities; as a good corporate citizen, we aim to make a positive contribution to these communities by making effective use of our company's unique strengths.

In addition, when the community is in a difficult situation due to sudden disasters etc., we would like to help in any way possible to support the minds and bodies of everyone who has been affected by the disaster. Many people have been affected by the serious damage due to the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. More recently, in 2019, Japan was badly affected by Typhoon No. 15 (Typhoon Faxai), which caused particularly severe damage in Eastern Japan, as well as by Typhoon No. 19 (Typhoon Hagibis) and by torrential rains. We would like to express our sincere sympathy to those who have been affected and also wish for a swift recovery of the affected areas. Since immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Unicharm has delivered supplies and continually used the Matching Fund, set up to receive charitable donations from employees, to provide relief support. Through these activities, we will continue to deepen our interaction with local residents and make contributions to local communities.

Social issues recognized

Social issues Our activities

・The need to provide continuing support for areas affected by natural disasters

・The need to provide support for community-building

・Activities to provide support for areas affected by natural disasters

・Activities that address the diverse issues affecting regional communities

Contributing to the realization of the SDGs

Unicharm's “Contributing to the Community” activities are in conformity with the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal-3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, Goal-5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, Goal-8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, Goal-11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” and Goal-13 “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”. In the future, we will continue to leverage our unique strengths with the aim of making an even greater contribution towards the solving of the world's shared problems.

Social impact

With regard to “Contributing to the Community,” we are taking the number of participants in our “Super Cool Biz and Warm Biz” activities for continued support for areas affected by natural disasters, which are outlined below, as a “social impact” indicator.

A total of 19,710 Unicharm employees have participated in the “Super Cool Biz and Warm Biz” activities.

Social impact
Total number of persons participating in the Super Cool Biz and Super Warm Biz activities to provide continued support to disaster-affected areas

Our activities

Activities to provide support for areas affected by natural disasters

Continuing with our Matching Fund combing disaster relief support with electricity conservation

Our “Matching Fund” and “Super Cool Biz and Warm Biz” employee dress code activities which were launched to provide “disaster relief assistance” and to “reduce the burden on the environment through eco-friendly activities that employees can undertake themselves and through electricity conservation” are now in their ninth year. The “Matching Fund” is an employee-participation type initiative that provides a matching donation equivalent to the price paid by Unicharm employees for original Unicharm polo shirts, jumpers etc. that can be worn at work; the money is used to provide support for areas affected by natural disasters. Donations made through the “Matching Fund” have been used to provide care products to hospitals and other facilities located in areas affected by natural disasters and also for donations to the “MICHINOKU Future Fund” which aims to help children orphaned by natural disasters to realize their dream of continuing with their studies, as well as for providing support to disaster-affected areas in the form of financial assistance and emergency supplies. In the future, we will continue to promote disaster area relief activities and activities aimed at reducing the burden on the environment in collaboration with our employees.

Support for disaster-affected areas through product purchases

Unicharm wanted to be able to provide additional support to disaster-affected areas by boosting consumption through the purchasing of goods produced in affected districts. With this aim in mind, in 2019, Unicharm began providing employees with the opportunity to purchase “Fukushima Shiome Brown Cotton Hand-towels” made by “Iwaki Otento SUN Enterprise Cooperative” in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, in association with Unicharm's “Super Cool Biz” initiative, with the Matching Fund providing donations that match the amount that employees pay for these goods.
“Iwaki Otento SUN Enterprise Cooperative” launched the “Fukushima Organic Cotton Project” in the spring of 2012 with the aim of revitalizing agricultural land in the Fukushima region that had been left unused or gone out of cultivation; the area of such uncultivated land has been steadily increasing since the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Starting with the cultivation of organic cotton, which is highly resistant to salt damage, the Project involves the use of the harvested cotton to manufacture and sell textile products, with a portion of the resulting revenue being returned to the cotton producers. Through a series of initiatives, “Iwaki Otento SUN Enterprise Cooperative” has helped to revitalize the local community and create new employment opportunities, with the aim of making Fukushima a base for the development of new kinds of agriculture and textile industries. Domestically-produced cotton grown in Fukushima is used for part of the raw fabric utilized in the manufacturing of “Fukushima Shiome Brown Cotton Hand-towels” and the dyeing process takes place at a factory in Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture.

    * In December 2019, organic cotton business of “Iwaki Otento SUN Enterprise Cooperative” was transferred to KiTEN Co., Ltd.

“Fukushima Shiome Brown Cotton Hand-towels”

Cotton fields in Iwaki City

Support for areas affected by Typhoon No. 15 (Typhoon Faxai), Typhoon No. 19 (Typhoon Hagibis), and torrential rains

Unicharm donated 5 million yen via local government authorities in affected districts to support emergency response and recovery efforts in areas affected by Typhoon No. 15 (Typhoon Faxai), Typhoon No. 19 (Typhoon Hagibis) and torrential rains in 2019. These donations were made from the “Matching Fund” whereby Unicharm matches donations made by employees with an equivalent amount. We also provided emergency supplies for the disaster-affected areas, including baby diapers, adult diapers, sanitary products, wet wipes, masks, pet products, etc.

A truck carrying loaded with emergency supplies to help people living in affected areas. A truck carrying loaded with emergency supplies to help people living in affected areas.

A truck carrying loaded with emergency supplies to help people living in affected areas.

Activities relating to regional revitalization

Signing of a “Comprehensive Partnership Agreement” with Shibushi City, Kagoshima Prefecture in relation to community revitalization

In November 2016, Unicharm began collaborating with Shibushi City, Kagoshima Prefecture, on environmental protection activities with the signing of an agreement to undertake verification testing using Unicharm's recycling technology for the reuse of pulp derived from used disposable diapers, the first technology of its kind in the world. This was followed in March 2019 by the signing of a “Comprehensive Partnership Agreement” and a “Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Cooperation with Provision of Supplies in the Event of a Disaster,” which covered the provision of support etc. in relation to seven areas, including disaster response measures, health promotion and childcare. Unicharm is the first private-sector company to sign an agreement of this type with Shibushi City following the establishment of the “System for the Proposal of Projects for Collaboration between Shibushi City and Private-sector Companies, etc.”*

* The “System for the Proposal of Projects for Collaboration between Shibushi City and Private-sector Companies, etc.” is a new system that enables private-sector companies to submit proposals for collaborative projects in relation to measures being implemented by Shibushi City Government. The aim of the new system is to enable Shibushi City to access the vitality of the private sector, allow Shibushi City and private-sector companies to collaborate closely on policy implementation and contribute towards the revitalization of the local community and the enhancement of the services provided to local residents.

The seven areas covered by the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement relating to community revitalization

Unicharm is collaborating with Shibushi City on the following seven areas:
(1) Matters relating to disaster response measures and disaster preparedness.
(2) Matters relating to support for the cultivation of children and young people and childcare support.
(3) Matters relating to health promotion.
(4) Matters relating to environmental protection.
(5) Matters relating to support for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
(6) Matters relating to the promotion of women's empowerment.
(7) Other matters relating to items necessary for the realization of the previous articles.

As regards (1) “Matters relating to disaster response measures and disaster preparedness,” in the event of a natural disaster, Unicharm will, at the request of Shibushi City Government, provide emergency supplies in the form of disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, masks, pet products and other sanitary products. With regard to (2) “Matters relating to support for the cultivation of children and young people and childcare support,” when a newborn baby's birth is registered, Unicharm will provide babies' disposable diapers as a gift to celebrate the occasion. Regarding (3) “Matters relating to health promotion” and (5) “Matters relating to support for senior citizens,” Unicharm will provide proposals for measures to extend healthy life expectancy and also provide seminars on ways to avoid the need for care provision. As regards (4) “Matters relating to environmental protection”, Unicharm is aiming to put the recycling of used disposable diapers on a commercial footing. Through this agreement with Shibushi City, Unicharm aims to contribute towards solving the issues affecting the local community through our business operations and further strengthen mutual collaboration with Shibushi City thereby helping to realize the cohesive society.

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