Message from Top Management
We will continue to exercise leadership in environmental management and
contribute to Japan becoming a “leading environmental nation”
First, I would like to express my deepest condolences to all those who lost loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and extend my heartfelt sympathies to all those affected. I would also like to express my deepest respect for the national and local governments in their day-to-day endeavors to control the spread of the disease, as well as the medical professionals constantly making every effort to diagnose and treat infected patients.
Scenario analysis based on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which the Company is implementing, shows that global warming is likely to increase the number of people at risk of contracting infectious diseases. In 2020, Kirin registered the Lactococcus lactis (LC) Plasma that it discovered as the first Food with Function Claims (FFC) that “helps maintain the immune system in healthy people” with Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) in Japan. In addition to preparing for the impact of climate change on our ingredients, i.e. agricultural products and water resources, we hope to deploy advanced fermentation technology and biotechnology to resolve social issues such as health risks and achieve business growth at the same time.
Our long-term environmental strategy, the Kirin Group’s Environmental Vision 2050, announced in February of last year, shifts our aim towards creating positive impact, marking a significant change from curbing negative impact, which was the focus of Kirin’s previous strategy. We are pursuing effective initiatives in the four priority issues of climate change, containers and packaging, biological resources, and water resources.
Regarding climate change, in November 2020 we joined RE100, an initiative committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity. In December, the Group’s medium-term GHG reduction target commitment was accepted by SBTi, as a “Business ambition for 1.5℃.” When the TCFD developed its Guidance on Scenario Analysis for Non-Financial Companies, which was published in October, we were the only Japanese company and the only alcoholic beverage company in the world to present our opinions as one of 15 companies interviewed.
With regard to “containers and packaging,” we launched a joint project with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation last year aimed at the practical application of chemical recycling, as part of efforts to establish a circular economy for PET bottles. This year, we also became the first Japanese food company to participate in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a non-profit organization that works on a global basis to resolve the issue of waste plastics.
As for “biological resources,” we converted paper containers to 100% FSC®-certified paper in the Japan alcohol and nonalcoholic beverages businesses last year. In February this year, we became the first company in the Japanese food and medical products industry to participate in the Corporate Engagement Program of the Science Based Targets Network, a global organization that develops scientific approaches to setting targets for the use of natural capital, including “water resources.”
I view the “realization of the decarbonization of society” advocated by the Japanese government as a longterm national policy vision comparable to the “Income Doubling Plan” and the “Plan for Remodeling the Japanese Archipelago.” The world recognizes the harmonization of nature and mankind as a philosophy of Japan. By continuing to demonstrate leadership in environmental management, the Kirin Group aims to contribute to Japan becoming a “leading environmental nation,” in which humankind and nature coexist, and to become a global leader in CSV.
Message from the Director in Charge of CSV Strategy
Our R&D and engineering capabilities create a positive impact.
The Kirin Group has been continuously developing TCFD scenario analysis since 2017. We revised our long-term environmental vision last year based on our assessment of the business impact of climate change obtained through scenario analysis. Mitigation measures, such as upgrading to a Science Based Target (SBT) of 1.5℃ and participating in RE100, as well as adaptation measures, such as expanding support for acquiring Rainforest Alliance certification to coffee farms in Vietnam, all represent a concrete manifestation of the insights gained from scenario analysis.
The Kirin Group is conducting a unique environmental strategy based on its strengths in R&D and engineering.
At Kirin's Packaging Innovation Laboratory, one of the world’s largest containers and packaging development bodies created by a food company, we have achieved significant CSV results in terms of reducing the amount of materials used, cutting GHG emissions, and reducing costs, by decreasing the weight of containers and packaging. We are currently working with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation to develop practical applications for chemical recycling, as part of efforts to achieve a circular economy for PET bottles.
In joint research with Bridgestone Corporation aimed at producing plants that are potential natural rubber substitutes, “bag-type culture vessel system technology,” Kirin’s proprietary technology that is expected to contribute to the production of large quantities of seeds of superior varieties, is applied. The practical application of Kirin Central Research Institute's mass plant propagation technology is expected to contribute to the development of various plant strains adapted to future global warming and the expansion of crop acreage in a short period of time.
We believe that contributing via the Health Science business to solutions for social issues such as the risk of infectious diseases associated with global warming offers business opportunities.
The LC Plasma that we registered with the CAA as the first FFC in the area of immune systems in Japan in 2020 was also the result of our efforts at the Kirin Central Research Institute.
The reduction of environmental impact and the introduction of new environmental technologies at plants requires engineering with full knowledge of the manufacturing process and production technology. In addition to the engineering divisions in each company, the Kirin Group includes an integrated engineering company, Kirin Engineering Company, Limited. By leveraging its nimbleness and facility technology capabilities through coordination between these divisions and Kirin Engineering, the Kirin Group supports the swift deployment of environmental measures.
Kirin's beer business, which is the origin of the Kirin Group, has a brewing philosophy of “Reverence for Life.” The idea is that not only agricultural products, which are the raw materials, but also fermentation, which is the production process, are supported by the bounty of living things. Kirin‘s strengths in technology are rooted in humble learning from agricultural products and yeast, and our organizational culture, which places the preservation of the environment as one of our purposes, have been nurtured to ensure that we pass on nature, the foundation of production, to the next generation.
Even when our business portfolio changes in future, Kirin will keep on utilizing fermentation and biotechnology to engage in business activities that benefit from nature. As we look to achieve the Kirin Group’s Environmental Vision 2050, we will continue to take on the challenge of creating positive impacts on people, society, and the natural environment by leveraging our R&D capabilities, engineering capabilities, and networking capabilities with NGOs and local communities.