Since its founding in 1926, the Kuraray Group has grappled head-on with ways of addressing social issues through its business activities. Magosaburo Ohara, our founder, and Soichiro Ohara, our second President, sought to build the business through technological innovation while stressing the importance of fulfilling the company’s social responsibilities, helping to address environmental issues, and contributing to the improvement of people’s quality of life. This mission has been passed down through the generations and remains unchanged today, as expressed in our Corporate Statements: “We are committed to developing new fields of business using pioneering technology that improves the environment and enhances the quality of life throughout the world.”
The Kuraray Group has launched our five-year Medium-Term Management Plan, “PASSION 2026,” starting in 2022 to make the long-term “Kuraray Vision 2026” a reality. The plan sets out three challenges such as "Sustainability as an opportunity," "Innovations starting from networking," "Transformation of people and organization" for the Kuraray Group to pursue to create value for customers, society, and the planet while growing sustainably as a specialty chemical company.
In term of "Sustainability as an opportunity," to achieve the Sustainability Long-Term Vision, which was formulated alongside “PASSION 2026,” we grouped sustainability-related measures based on the materiality of the Kuraray Group under three Ps: Planet, Product, and People. Then, we established performance indicators in our Sustainability Medium-Term Plan to guide these measures.
I would like to say a word about the first P, the Planet aspect of “Sustainability as an opportunity.” We are making Group-wide efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. We set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 30% by the halfway point, 2030, against the benchmark year of 2019. We are now taking concrete steps to reach this goal. Furthermore, many of the Kuraray Group’s products and services themselves contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in society. Thus, we see the trend toward carbon neutrality not only as a risk but also as an opportunity for business growth, and will work to create and propose further value in this area.
With regard to the second P, Product, let me explain our system for evaluating product sustainability. The Kuraray Group is committed to prioritizing resource allocation to products and technologies that make strong contributions to the natural and living environment as well as offer high economic value. To this end, we introduced the Kuraray Portfolio Sustainability Assessment (PSA) system in 2022 with the aim of continuously enhancing the business portfolio. The Kuraray PSA system can be applied to a variety of other uses, such as providing indicators for a phase gate product development process or decision-making criteria for capital investment.
The third P is People, who are the foundation of all the things I have discussed. I believe that the well-spring of the Kuraray Group’s competitiveness is the “power of people;” in other words, our human capital. “PASSION 2026” established three priorities for creating a global framework for our personnel systems: developing an HR platform and personnel data, HR development based on a long-term perspective, and personnel measures to promote diversity.
Safety is non-negotiable; it’s the cornerstone of everything we do. Our business continuity depends on us acting with safety as the top priority. At production sites, staying within budget and proceeding according to plan often tends to take precedence, making safety concerns unintentionally secondary. However, ensuring safety is precisely what makes stable production possible and this ultimately feeds profits.
Since 2019, each of our business companies and divisions have been engaging in activities to establish a safety management framework for our overseas production sites. We created a Global Process Safety Management Audit Team in 2022, which began safety audits of our chemical and activated carbon plants.
I believe the three challenges identified in “PASSION 2026” serve as the focal points of communication between employees as they come together to collaborate and set key themes that guide our efforts to work together as “One Kuraray” in creating new value in society. The Kuraray Group marks its 100th anniversary in 2026. Looking ahead to this milestone, the whole Group will come together with a shared passion to address the three challenges.
Our various sustainability-related measures are reported in Kuraray Report 2023 and on Kuraray Sustainability website. I look forward to your continued understanding and support.