The Kuraray Group undertakes a variety of social contribution activities, emphasizing those that can be sustained over long periods and that provide employees with opportunities to participate on a proactive basis. For its part, the Okayama Plant has promoted activities rooted in the local community, encompassing such areas as society, culture and sports. Moreover, starting this year, the Okayama Plant began participating in the Okayama Prefecture-supported "Companies Collaborating in Creating Forests" initiative, encouraging the growth of volunteerism among employees and serving as a means to enhance environmental education.
To facilitate communication between Kuraray employees and local residents, each year the Okayama Plant opens its baseball pitches and sports facilities to the public and stages summer festivals as well as bazaars. All of these activities provide local residents and employees’ families with opportunities to visit plant facilities. Included among these activities is the Konan Regional Children’s Ball Games Meet, an event held every Sports Day national holiday and, as of fiscal 2008, has taken place a total of 34 times. Targeting local elementary school children, this sports meet has become an event that is rooted in the region.
Through the Matching Gift* scheme, which Kuraray undertakes companywide, the Okayama Plant has been donating equipment and other items to neighboring nursing care facilities annually since 1992. In addition, as a new initiative undertaken during the current fiscal year, the Okayama Plant has donated books to local elementary and junior high schools with the aim of introducing more children to the world of reading.
Moreover, Kuraray is continuing to undertake steady activities that are rooted in the local community by holding an annual calligraphy and painting contest, for which the Company accepts submissions from local elementary school students; staging the "Fun Chemistry House" to familiarize children with chemistry; providing opportunities for neighboring junior and senior high school students to experience the atmosphere of a real workplace; undertaking clean-up activities in the area surrounding the plant by employee volunteers; and inviting local residents to attend lectures given by celebrities.
For the first time, the Okayama Plant began participating in "Companies Collaborating in Creating Forests," a project that undertakes tree planting and preservation activities while receiving assistance from the prefecture. In the town of Kibichuo (located in Okayama Prefecture), employees of the Okayama Plant and their families volunteered to plant saplings in May and cut grass in July, August and October of this year. Kibichuo and the Okayama Plant have concluded an agreement to continue these activities for a five-year period ending in fiscal 2012. Kuraray intends to steadily implement such measures as it coordinates with prefectures, towns and forest unions, with the goal of undertaking activities that preserve the environment as well as raise awareness of environmental preservation among employees and their families.