Kuraray Co., Ltd.

Happy New Year! On behalf of the Kuraray Group, I would like to make a few comments as we step into 2023 together.

Last year, our daily lives and economic activity recovered greatly thanks to the implementation of COVID-19 measures. Still, China’s zero-COVID policy continues to impact economic activity. In addition, the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has kept oil and natural gas prices high and caused consumer prices to rise due to supply chain disruptions. During the latter half of the year, there was a slowdown in economic activity as rising policy interest rates in Europe and the U.S. curbed consumption behavior and caused a decline in demand in the major economies.

Today, it remains unclear whether there will be any improvement or resolution of various geoeconomic issues in the near future. While the economic environment continues to require us to respond to a wide range of issues, I look forward to working with you to devise new solutions and boldly attempt innovative measures to ride through these difficult times.

Effectively use our unique technologies to create new business opportunities and value.

2023 is the second year of the Medium-Term Management Plan that will end in 2026— the 100th anniversary of our company. We must review and strengthen the strategies and policies in the Plan and steadily implement them to achieve concrete results.

Regarding cross-organizational matters that affect the entire company, we will concentrate our efforts on expanding the activities of the Innovation Networking Center that is engaged in creating new business opportunities, on enhancing the Sustainability Division’s activities to address the important issues and opportunities of sustainability, and on promoting DX and IT-related propositions to speed up business innovation. As for global human resources strategies, the foundation of the Kuraray’s Group’s activities, we will seek to address various challenges by strengthening coordination with affiliates around the world through corporate reorganization and talent allocation.

In each division, office and affiliated company, our thought processes and actions have become somewhat inward-focused due to the coronavirus. It is the time to make a shift to proactively obtain and analyze information about the outside world, market trends, and customer demands so we can effectively use our unique technologies to create new business opportunities and value.

This year, we are planning to begin operations at multiple large-scale projects such as the Thai Plant for the isoprene business, the Environmental Solutions Division’s activated carbon production line in the US. I ask for your commitment to implementing flawless safety measures so that the operations are launched smoothly and safely and can quickly contribute to our growth.

In addition to these large-scale undertakings, there are numerous ongoing projects planned in PASSION 2026. While we operate in a difficult business environment, we must still inject the necessary resources into promising projects based on a thorough evaluation of each project’s potential return on investment.

To be a company where each employee can work with confidence and grow by upholding high ethical values.

In implementing these projects, it is important that all Kuraray Group production and R&D sites and offices adhere to the baseline of being "a safe workplace and a company in which everyone can work with confidence."

As we welcome the new year, I want each one of us to take ownership of our guiding principle that “safety is the cornerstone of everything we do.” We must sharpen our senses regarding safety and see this reflected in our actions as we aspire to be a safe, incident-free company.

I also want Kuraray to be a company where diverse people with unique characteristics can work together without fear of harassment and where each employee grows by upholding high ethical values. As full-fledged members of the company and society, I challenge all of you to consistently act with a strong sense of responsibility and to hold each other accountable. By doing so, you will help lead the company to growth.

Thinking and acting positively without fear of failure.

My hope is for the Kuraray Group to be a vital and dynamic corporate entity. We must have the ambition, energy, and strength to take advantage of the world’s environmental changes and see them as opportunities to evolve, while also transforming ourselves. By thinking and acting positively without fear of failure, we can produce and implement ideas that lead to innovation and change, and ultimately to great success. I strongly urge you to keep this in mind so that the Kuraray Group can continue to grow sustainably as a specialty chemical company.

Taking tagline to heart, we believe in our respective possibilities, and continue to challenge ourselves.

Last year, the Kuraray Group introduced a new tagline that conveys our thoughts and values: “Possible starts here.” The “here” in the tagline represents more than just the Kuraray Group. It also represents our “workplaces” and “each of us as individuals.” I hope that we will all take “possible starts here” to heart, believe in our respective possibilities, and continue to challenge ourselves.

Our founder’s philosophy that “profits made from society should be returned to society” and our company’s mission, “for people and the planet—to achieve what no one else can,” are valuable intangible assets. It is important that we remember these assets can only be realized and passed onto the next generation when each one of us embodies them in our corporate activities. I hope that the Kuraray Group will work as one through the proactive efforts of all of you around the world, so that we can forge a future together and make 2023 a fruitful, fulfilling year.

In closing, I wish everyone in the Kuraray Group worldwide and their families a healthy, happy, and prosperous year.

Representative Director and President Hitoshi Kawahara