Kao Salon Division Introduces Amplified Focus on Sustainability

Kao Salon Division has unveiled its plans to focus on sustainability. The newly sustainability strategy is part of a global effort to affect real and lasting change. The goal is to reduce the organisation’s collective impact on the environment by streamlining the footprint of each brand’s product portfolio and further empowering salon owners to take strides toward operating their salons more sustainably. 

Since the introduction of its first product 130 years ago, Kao has always strived to act sustainably, thus given the overwhelming environmental challenges, Kao has developed a new, holistic sustainability strategy - the Kirei Lifestyle Plan. 

In line with this strategy, the life-cycle of each product in the Goldwell, KMS, Oribe and Varis collections will be systematically examined and improved to ensure its environmental footprint is minimised as much as possible. Kao will also look into improvements such as including more sustainably sourced raw materials, creating packaging design that minimises waste, and/or streamlining production, logistics, sales, use and disposal. 

According to Dr Elmar Mussenbrock, Director of Sustainability at Kao Salon Division, “with our increased sustainability efforts and awareness plans, we will empower our partners to run their salons as sustainably as possible”.

Kao Salon Division’s amplified sustainability efforts will include:

  • Reducing the environmental impact of its formulas through water reduction, sustainable sourcing, energy conservation, lessening CO2-emissions, and streamlining packaging through the use of recycled and recyclable packaging materials.

  • Reducing propellants (VOCs) and aerosol products whenever possible by reworking existing formulations while exploring and implementing alternative spray technologies. 

  • Using raw materials that have the smallest environmental footprint whenever possible. The ultimate goal is to realise fully sustainable sourcing of all palm oil from certified sources (RSPO).

  • Improvement in the biodegradability of all formulas to minimise their impact on human and animal life.

  • Reducing transportation-related CO2-emission by lowering product weight through the introduction of new forms that contain less water such as concentrates and solid products (e.g. shampoo bars). 

  • With its 4R packaging program (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replace), Kao Salon Divison will systematically decrease the environmental impact of its packaging by introducing new solutions that minimise waste. Also, it will support a circular material flow while ensuring all paper, cardboard and other wood-fibre materials originate from certified sustainable sources. 

  • Minimising the use of plastics wherever possible to decrease the environmental footprint of all packaging (e.g. pouch delivery solutions are being integrated, using 70% less plastic than a traditional plastic bottle). 

  • Increasing the usage of recycled/recyclable plastics to ultimately result in a circular economy. Kao Salon Division will take further steps to integrate recycled or bio-based materials. 

  • Replacement of printed materials when possible with digital offerings, resulting in a lower environmental impact. 

  • Increased efforts in the pursuit of becoming climate neutral. The main production site has already been running on 100% renewable electric energy since 2014. Gradually, Kao will introduce net-zero carbon solutions as alternatives to oil and gas, making manufacturing operations net-carbon neutral. 

In its latest move towards sustainability, Kao Salon Division aims to offer sustainability support to its partnering salons in the form of: 

  • Environmental education and training for the implementation of small (but important changes) to optimise routine ways of working and usage of products.

  • Providing a network of expert consultants who will provide a suggested selection of products and services with exemplary low environmental impact, eco tools and appliances depending on the needs, goals and existing operation of the salon. 

  • An interactive information-exchange that will act as a learn and support platform, containing expert in-salon and at-home sustainability improvement tips for salon owners and professionals. Salon partners will also have access to step-by-step, how-to guides for making their salons sustainable and corresponding support tools. 

  • All academies will continue to be transformed into benchmark salons, showcasing minimal energy use, proper water consumption and optimal CO2 and waste generation. 

  • Publication of all product and ingredient information in digital formats, starting with KMS and extending to all brands. 

Kao Salon Division hopes that through the consistent and transparent communication of their progress on their efforts, partners and clients will be as empowered to make informed choices that optimise their individual and collective sustainability at work and home. 

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