KOKUYO Signs Up to The Valuable 500, an International Movement for Promoting the Empowerment of People with Disabilities in the Workplace

KOKUYO Co., Ltd. (Head office: Osaka / President: Hidekuni Kuroda) announced today that it both supports the mission of and has signed up to The Valuable 500, an international movement that seeks to realize a society in which people with disabilities can demonstrate diverse values.

The Valuable 500 was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2019. It aims to get 500 national and multinational, private sector corporations to be the tipping-point for change and help unlock the social and economic value of people living with disabilities across the world.

The KOKUYO Group believes that diversity entails "creating a work environment where many positions and values are mutually recognized and where various work styles are permitted, thus making it possible for each and every employee to draw on his or her innate abilities." By signing up to The Valuable 500, its goal is to further promote diversity and inclusion, and to promote the empowerment of people with disabilities.

1. The KOKUYO Group will work to promote diversity and inclusion as an SDGs material issue

In February this year, KOKUYO updated the Corporate Philosophy to "be Unique." It made clear that the mission of KOKUYO was to realize a richly creative society through its business activities, declaring: "We will adopt a more sustainable mindset with a long-term focus, and cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem that generates one new business after the other."

Under the direction of its senior management, KOKUYO intends to further accelerate initiatives aimed at resolving societal issues through its business; to this end, it has identified material issues that focus particularly on sustainability activities.

One of its material issues centers on the theme of promoting diversity and inclusion. KOKUYO intends to become a company where diverse human resources can display their unique talents and meet the challenge of creating innovation via an organization in which diversity thrives in all its forms?including diversity of gender, of nationality, and of ability and disability.

2. The KOKUYO Group will promote inclusion in the recruitment of people with disabilities

KOKUYO’s history of recruiting people with disabilities dates back to 1940. In that year, the company started employing students of the Osaka City School for the Deaf (the present-day Chuo School for the Deaf) at its Imazato Factory,which stood on the site of what is now our Head Office.. The company established KOKUYO K Heart, a "special subsidiary" (meaning a disability-friendly employer that is counted as part of the parent company) in September 2003; in December 2006, it established a second special subsidiary, Heartland, to employ people with intellectual or mental disabilities.

As of May 1, 2021, the KOKUYO Group's employment rate for people with disabilities stood at 2.34%. At present, as part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, the Group is implementing a organization-wide initiative to encourage employees to overcome their differences and achieve sustainable growth together; to this end, it is promoting the participation of KOKUYO K Heart employees in work flows across the Group.

KOKUYO K Heart Co., Ltd.

The KOKUYO K Heart company philosophy

KOKUYO K Heart provides environments in which each employee overflows with confidence and happiness, executes their work as a responsible member of society, and flourishes by leveraging the unique qualities of their disabilities.

When it was established, KOKUYO K Heart was initially tasked with creating printed materials for the KOKUYO Group. Since then, the company has gradually expanded its fields of activities, and now supports value creation by promoting the Group’s business. Its activities include: creating sales promotion materials; processing images of KOKUYO products for use on e-commerce websites; supporting the creation of development documents; and processing data.

KOKUYO K Heart seeks to enable its employees to transcend the special designation of "employing people with disabilities"; indeed, it hopes to create an environment in which its employees can liaise closely with colleagues from various other KOKUYO departments, advance their work together, influence each other in a mutually beneficial manner, and learn to understand each other better.

Inside the KOKUYO K Heart offices

Website / https://www.kokuyo-k-heart.com/

Heartland Co., Ltd.

The KOKUYO Group wished to provide employment for people with intellectual or mental disabilities, but it proved difficult to find opportunities within its everyday business. For this reason, it established Heartland Co., Ltd., a company involved in the production and sales of vegetables.

Heartland was the first special subsidiary in Japan to be designated an Agricultural Production Corporation (now a “corporation qualified to own cropland”). As well as providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, through the production of safe and secure vegetables Heartland also seeks to contribute to the revitalization of the Japanese agriculture industry, which year on year is seeing decreasing numbers of workers and shrinking acreage under cultivation. At present, Heartland produces approximately 50 tons of vegetables per year, and the quality of its produce is praised by large numbers of supermarkets, retailers, and restaurants alike.

Vegetable production entails a wide variety of repeated tasks, including sowing seeds, planting seedlings, harvesting, and shipping. It is therefore possible to allocate different tasks to different employees, according to the type and extent of their disabilities. Vegetable production also enables employees to experience joy when cultivating vegetables and a sense of achievement when harvesting them, and so is well suited to people with intellectual or mental disabilities.

Heartland is a company at which people with disabilities take center stage. In addition to providing working opportunities for its own employees, the company also endeavors to provide a working environment for locally-based people with disabilities who are not employed by KOKUYO. Heartland believes its primary mission is to create a company in which people with disabilities can feel happiness and live with independence. It will continue its efforts to improve business efficiency and profitability, and so encourage society to view agriculture carried out by people with disabilities as a sustainable business.

A Heartland worksite

Website / https://www.kokuyo.co.jp/heartland/

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