Message from the chief officer
Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer
Divisional General Manager of Management Support Division
Yakult’s approach to environmental initiatives
Since its founding, Yakult has engaged in corporate activities that aim to contribute to the health of people. Over 40 million bottles of our dairy products are now consumed every day in 40 countries and regions around the world including Japan. We are aware, however, that this also entails a major impact on the environment. The Yakult Group strongly believes that "in order for people to be healthy, everything around them must also be healthy.” We believe that a healthy world is essential for health. Thinking about how we can reduce the growing burden of our business on the planet and pursuing that goal continuously are essential to the world the Yakult Group aims to create.
We formulated the Yakult Basic Policy on the Environment in 1997, and have carried out environmentally responsible business activities ever since. However, in light of the rapid intensification of environmental issues and our own corporate social responsibility, in 2021 we established a new Yakult Group Environmental Vision with the aim of uniting people and planet as one. This document sets out Environmental Vision 2050: our ideal vision of the future, in which we achieve net zero Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions by 2050 in order to realize a value chain that has zero environmental impact. To ensure that we pursue effective initiatives based on this vision, we also used backcasting to formulate Environmental Targets 2030 and Environmental Actions (2021–2024).
Advancing the Yakult Group Environmental Vision
In order to advance our initiatives toward our ideal vision of the future as set out in the Yakult Group Environmental Vision, in April 2022 we established an Environmental Promotion Department. This department plays a central role in strengthening activities within the Group, building cooperative relationships with companies outside the Group, and collaborating with relevant government and municipal bodies.
Here I will offer some specific examples of our initiatives. Within the Group, purchased energy for manufacturing was switched entirely to renewable energy at 12 dairy product and pharmaceutical plants in Japan*1 in April 2022, followed by one cosmetic plant in July, helping reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Our energy-saving activities at the Yakult Central Institute have also been well received, winning the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Director-General’s Prize (CGO/Corporation Field) in the Energy Conservation Best Practices at Workplaces category of the Energy Conservation Grand Prize Award 2022. We indicated our endorsement of the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)*2 in August 2022, and we will continue these and other active efforts to address the climate change issue, which has become a pressing matter for the entire world.
To reduce our use of plastics in Japan, we switched to a basic policy of not providing spoons and straws at the time of sale in Japan. In Europe, amid moves to restrict the use of all kinds of plastic products, we have switched from plastic film to paper packaging for multi-packs of our Yakult series and outer packaging for distribution. As an example of our initiatives in collaboration with external parties, we participate in the Ichihara City Polystyrene Chemical Recycling System Promotion Committee, which brings together citizens, local government and private enterprise to collaborate on attempts to experimentally verify methods for chemically recycling*3 polystyrene products.
*1 Fukushima Plant, Ibaraki Plant, Fuji Susono Plant, Hyogo Miki Plant, Saga Plant, Yakult Iwate Plant, Yakult Chiba Plant, Yakult Aichi Plant, Yakult Okayama Wake Plant, Yakult Fukuoka Plant, Fuji Susono Pharmaceutical Plant, Yakult Materials Co., Ltd. Fuji Susono Plant. *2 The TCFD was established by the Financial Stability Board following a request from the G20 to develop more effective climate related financial disclosures through their existing reporting processes. It released its final report in 2017, which recommended that companies and other organizations disclose climate-related risks and opportunities in four thematic areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets. *3 Chemical recycling is a new recycling technology that involves breaking down used plastic products chemically and reusing the results as raw materials for plastic products.
For the future of Yakult and the world
We feel it is vital to ensure that all Group workers understand environmental issues as directly relevant to them as individuals and take step-by-step action with a sincere attitude. For this reason, we will continue striving to raise awareness of environmental issues among workers. Additionally, as Yakult alone cannot address every peril our planet currently faces, which range from climate change to pollution, we believe that we must unite with our entire value chain to address these challenging issues.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this message, we believe that “in order to be healthy, everything around them must also be healthy,” and continue to work toward this goal to create a better future for both Yakult and the world. In order to realize a society in which people and the planet co-exist, we will continue promoting initiatives to increase the sustainability of society and the world.