Material Issues

Material Issues and KPIs of the Asahi Group

As shown below, the Asahi Group has five material issues and 15 activity themes as it moves forward with sustainability activities. Among the five material issues, we believe that the highest priority should globally and commonly be given to two: “Environment” and “Community.” The background is as follows.
For “Environment,” climate change, containers and packaging, water resources and other urgent issues of society are increasingly giving impact on our business operations. We are stepping up our activities for “Environment,” aiming for greater sustainability both in society and in our own business operations. For “Community,” changes in social trends are diluting people-to-people and people-to-community connections and this has given rise to many different local issues and increasingly indicates the importance of connections. Against this backdrop, our activities are based on the characteristics of the local communities in which we operate.

Overall Framework for Promoting Sustainability Towards Achieving Asahi Group Philosophy (AGP)

The Group has also established KPIs for each of its material issues and is closely monitoring the progress of efforts to address these issues. Under the renewed sustainability structure, we have made it a policy to establish taskforces to handle important sustainability-related themes. In advance of other themes, we established the Environmental Taskforce in 2020. For certain themes of environmental initiatives, we have established Groupwide targets and have worked to incorporate those targets into the targets of each Regional Headquarters. In particular, for climate change, we upwardly revised our interim goal under Asahi Carbon Zero, which aims to achieve zero CO2 emissions. At the same time, we incorporate the revised values of this goal into the roadmap at each Regional Headquarters and established individual targets accordingly (see table below). We are also establishing Groupwide targets for themes other than climate change and are taking steps to apply these targets to the targets of each Regional Headquarters to an even greater extent.

KPIs for Climate Change
KPIs for Climate Change

*1 Applicable companies: Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., Asahi Europe & International Ltd., and Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd.
*2 Applicable companies: Operating companies in Japan, Asahi Europe & International Ltd., and Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Materiality Theme Organizations Risk/
Chance
KPIs Social Outcome SDGs
Environment Sustainable Raw Material Procurement AGS Risk Raise the ratio of palm oil purchased from RSPO-certified suppliers to 25% in 2021 (Book and Claim certification system) Contribute to reducing environmental load and resolving human rights issues in the production process of palm oil and sugar 12.2
AHSEA Risk Purchase 20% of palm oil from MPSO-certified suppliers by 2021 in Malaysia
Sustainable Containers/Packaging Operating companies in Japan, AHA, AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Realize 100% utilization of materials for plastic containers that can be used effectively by 2025
* Effective use: Reusable, recyclable, compostable, thermal recyclable, etc.
Contribute to reducing environmental load by reducing and recycling plastic containers as well as by using eco-friendly materials for other containers 12.4/
12.5/
14.1
AEI Risk/
Chance
Use only containers, as well as secondary packaging that is reusable or fully recyclable by 2030
AB, ASD Risk/
Chance
Make the ratio of eco-friendly materials in plastic containers 60% by 2030
AEI Risk/
Chance
Use only containers, as well as secondary packaging that is made chiefly from recycled content by 2030
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Use recycled materials on 30% of PET bottles by 2025
ASD Risk/
Chance
Achieve sales target for unlabeled bottles
AEI Risk/
Chance
Reduce plastic container/packaging 25% by 2030 (compared with 2019)
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Reduce the amount of single-use plastic used per liter of product by 5% YOY to 2025
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Bring up the ratio of FSC-certified cardboard used for product packaging to 100% by 2021
Sustainable Water Resources Entire Group*1 Risk Reduce water intensity to 3.2 ㎥/kl or less by 2030 through streamlining of water usage and expansion of recycling system Increase the sustainability of water resources by reducing water use and nurturing water sources 6.4/
6.6
Entire Group Risk Carry out water risk survey periodically (once every 5 years) at Group manufacturing bases
AB Risk/
Chance
Achieve water neutrality at all breweries in Japan by 2025 through the utilization of the Asahi Forest
Circular Economy Operating companies in Japan Risk/
Chance
Maintain the 100% recycling rate for all byproducts and waste Contribute to the realization of a recycling-based society through waste reduction and recycling 2.4/
12.2/
12.5
People Respect for Human Rights HD Risk Complete a round of the human rights due diligence process at suppliers by 2022 Respect human rights of stakeholders in the supply chain 8.5/
8.7/
8.8/
10.2
Human Resources Development HD Chance Achieve the following targets for the numbers of participants in training programs:
  • LEAD (a program to develop business leaders in Japan): 80
  • Global Leadership Development Program (a program to develop glocal business leaders): 20
  • One Young World (an external training program focused on resolving global issues): 15
Contribute to society by increasing the sustainability of the business through the development of global talent 8.5
Diversity HD Chance Increase the ratio of women holding managerial positions to 20% by 2021 Contribute to society by increasing the sustainability of the business through the respect for employees' human rights 5.1/
5.5/
10.2/
10.3/
10.4
Workforce Health and Safety AB Risk Achieve a 100% participation rate in the seminar for managers, seminar for supervisors, and training for employees, which are all intended for plant employees Contribute to society by increasing the sustainability of the business through the ensuring of employees' health and safety 3.4/
8.5/
8.8
Operating companies in Japan Chance Achieve a 100% stress check implementation rate Contribute to society by increasing the sustainability of the business through the ensuring of employees' well-being
Operating companies in Japan Chance Achieve a 98% rate for the medical consultation of metabolic syndrome by 2023
Operating companies in Japan Chance Achieve a 45% rate for the implementation of guidance on lifestyle diseases by 2023
Communities Create People-to-People Connections ASD Chance Achieve 2021 target for the number of original regional co-creation measures implemented by business units Contribute to the establishment of sustainable communities through the enhancement of connections between the Asahi Group and local communities 11.a/
17.16/
17.17
ASD Chance Achieve 2021 sales target for “Mitsuya Nihon Kudamono” made with domestically-grown specified fruit varieties
AHSEA Chance Conduct community participation programs such as beach cleaning at each business unit twice a year
Realize Sustainable Supply Chains HD Risk Conduct 12 on-site interviews based on the supplier CSR questionnaire Contribute to the reduction of environmental load in the supply chain and the realization of a society where human rights are respected 2.3/
2.4/
12.6/
12.7
Health Secure Food Safety & Reliability Entire Group Risk Achieve zero quality accidents*3 Allow consumers to choose beverages and food safely 3.2/
3.4
AHSEA Risk Acquire HACCP certification for all plants by 2022
Create Value of Health ASD Chance Achieve the sales targets for Foods for Specified Health Uses, Foods with Functional Claims, and healthcare products
*Target products: Karada Calpis, Karada Jurokucha, etc.
Allow consumers to realize a healthier lifestyle by offering a wide range of options conducive to health 3.2/
3.4
ASD Chance Achieve sales targets for the 100ml series, which advertises value of health
*Target products: Todoku Tsuyosa-no Nyusankin, Mamoru Hataraku Nyusankin, etc.
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Reduce the quantity of sugar contained in 70% of the RTD product in Malaysia to 5g or less per 100ml by 2021
Responsible Drinking Reduction in Inappropriate Drinking Entire Group*2 Risk Achieve a 100% participation rate of employees in at least one training program by 2023 Reduce inappropriate drinking, and reduce health damage and violence caused by such a behavior 3.5
Entire Group Risk Achieve 80% compliance with IARD Digital Guiding Principles by 2021
Entire Group Risk Display age restrictions on alcohol consumption on all products under alcoholic beverage brands (including non-alcoholic beverages sold under that brand) by 2024
Solution of Social Issues through Creation of New Drinking Opportunities Entire Group Chance Achieve 15% low-alcohol and non-alcohol sales composition ratio by 2025 Enrich consumers' lifestyles by creating new drinking opportunities 3.5
AB Chance Achieve 20% low-alcohol and non-alcohol sales composition ratio by 2025
AEI Chance Achieve 20% non-alcohol sales composition ratio by 2030
AHA Chance Achieve 25% low-alcohol and non-alcohol sales composition ratio by 2025

*Company names are those that were in effect as of the end of 2020.
*Abbreviations stand for the following operating companies.
HD: Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.
AB: Asahi Breweries, Ltd.
ASD: Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.
AGS: Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.
AEI: Asahi Europe and International
AHA: Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd.
AHSEA: Asahi Group Holdings Southeast Asia Pte. Ltd.
*1 AB, ASD, AEI, AHA, AHSEA
*2 Operating companies in Japan, AEI, AHA
*3 Quality accidents indicate the number of product recalls made public through a newspaper announcement or on our website, on the grounds of a violation of the related regulations and voluntary rules specified in GRI Standards 416-2 and 417-2.

Background for Identifying Material Issues

Following similar activities in 2019, the Asahi Group again revised its material issues in 2020. We believe that sustainability issues need to be further enhanced to achieve the Asahi Group Philosophy. Accordingly, we revised the development of the overall sustainability promotion framework and conducted the review of material issues as a part of that endeavor.
When revising material issues, we emphasized the perspective of questioning what is needed in terms of sustainability to achieve the Asahi Group Philosophy, and added “communities” and “health” as new factors. Moreover, to date we have classified material issues in terms of “eliminating negative impacts” and “expanding positive impacts,” but since many issues include a mixture of both factors due to increasingly complex social issues, we reflected the perspectives of risks and opportunities in our KPIs and clarified the Asahi Group's approach to issues.

Processes for Identifying Material Issues

1. Identifying social issues

A broad range of social issues were identified for consideration based on the following perspectives.

  • Sustainability report guidelines (GRI standard / SASB)
  • ESG assessments (FTSE / MSCI / Dow Jones Sustainability Indices / CDP)
  • SDGs
  • World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risks Report
  • Other social issues unique to the businesses of the Asahi Group

2. Mapping of the identified social issues

The Asahi Group mapped the identified social issues from the viewpoints of their importance to society, stakeholders and the Asahi Group, and classified issues falling into similar categories into multiple groupings as shown below. The issues appearing in the top-right quadrant were regarded as those which can have a significant impact on the business activities of the Asahi Group through collaborative creation with stakeholders, and these were identified as material issues to be addressed on a priority basis going forward.

3. Evaluating adequacy

Top management of Asahi Group Holdings evaluated the adequacy of the material issues through deliberations by the Corporate Strategy Board and Board of Directors.

4. Identifying material Issues

Through the processes described in 1 through 3 above, the Asahi Group identified five material issues and 15 themes of initiatives to be tackled. The Asahi Group will implement the PDCA cycle by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for each theme and assessing achievements periodically.

Progress on Material Issue Initiatives

The status of initiatives addressing material issues in 2020 is detailed below. Under our sustainability promotion framework, reasons will be identified for unachieved targets and efforts promoted toward achievement.

Materiality Theme Organizations Risk/
Chance
KPIs 2020 Achievements
Environment Climate Change Entire Group*1 Risk Reduce CO2 emissions 30% by 2030 in Scope 1 and 2 (compared to 2015) Actual scope 1 and 2 emissions: 760,000 t-CO2, 11% reduction compared to 2019
*In 2020, the base year was revised from 2015 to 2019.
Entire Group*2 Risk Reduce CO2 emissions 30% by 2030 in Scope 3 (AB, ASD : compared to 2015) (AEI, AHA: compared to 2020) Actual scope 3 emissions: 2,791,000 t-CO2, 6% reduction compared to 2015 (AB, ASD)
Entire Group*2 Risk Reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 in Scope 1, 2 and 3 and become carbon neutral Actual scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions: 6,257,000 t-CO2
Operating companies in Japan Risk Reduce CO2 emissions by 1% or more YOY through the introduction of high efficiency equipment and other initiatives Actual scope 1 and 2 emissions: 433,000 t-CO2, 6% YOY reduction
AEI Risk Convert the energy used in the 3 plants in Poland to 100% renewable energy by 2021 Target expected to be achieved in 2021 through VPPA.
AEI Risk Reduce in CO2 emissions 50% or more at plants by 2025 through introduction of renewable energy (compared to 2015) Actual emissions from plants: 239,000 t-CO2, 20% reduction compared to 2019
*In 2020, the base year was revised from 2015 to 2019.
AEI Risk Reduce CO2 emissions to zero at plants by 2030 through introduction of renewable energy and become carbon neutral
AHSEA Risk Reduce CO2 emissions by 2% YOY Actual scope 1 and 2 emissions: 56,000 t-CO2, 5% YOY reduction
Sustainable
Raw Material
Procurement
AGS Risk Raise the ratio of palm oil purchased from RSPO-certified suppliers to 5% in 2020 and 25% in 2021 (Book and Claim certification system) Actual proportion of purchase: approx. 1%
AHSEA Risk Purchase 30% of palm oil from MPSO-certified suppliers by 2021 Planned to start in 2021.
AHSEA Risk Purchase 30% of sugar from VIVE-certified suppliers by 2021 Actual proportion of purchase: 11%
Sustainable
Containers/
Packaging
AB, ASD, AHA Risk/
Chance
Convert plastic containers to materials that can be 100% effectively utilized (reuse, recycle, composting, heat recycle) by 2025 In some countries where we operate, materials that cannot be effectively utilized were employed.
*The approach to effective utilization differs by country.
ASD Risk/
Chance
Make the ratio of eco-friendly materials in plastic containers 60% by 2030 Achievement rate to 2020 target volume: 82%
AEI Risk/
Chance
Reduce plastic container/packaging 30% by 2030 (compared to 2019) Actual weight: 7% increase compared to 2019
AEI Risk/
Chance
Use recycled materials on the average 60% for all plastic by 2030 Actual rate of use: 7%
AEI Risk/
Chance
Use recyclable materials for all container/packaging by 2030  Some materials that were not recyclable were used.
*The approach to recycling differs by country.
AHA Risk/
Chance
Make the ratio of eco-friendly materials in plastic containers 100% by 2030 Actual rate of use: 32%
AHA Risk/
Chance
Bring up the ratio of recyclable PET to 70% by 2020
AHA Risk/
Chance
Make packaging of all products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 Some materials that cannot be effectively utilized were employed.
*The approach to effective utilization differs by country.
AHA Risk/
Chance
Develop a method to reuse more plastic than the amount used at the company by 2025 As a system for plastic reuse for the broader community beyond the company, the establishment of a joint-venture company to build a PET bottle recycling plant was announced.
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Reduce the amount of plastic used per liter of products by 5% YOY Actual amount used: 14% reduction compared to 2019
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Use recycled materials on 30% of PET bottles by 2025 Planned to start in 2021.
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Bring up the ratio of FSC-certified cardboard used for product packaging to 100% by 2021 Actual rate of use: 100%
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Make all packaging with 100% recyclable materials by 2025 Some materials that were not recyclable were used.
*The approach to recycling differs by country.
Sustainable
Water
Resources
Entire Group*3 Risk Make the basic water consumption to 3.2 ㎥/kl by 2030 through streamlining of water usage and expansion of recycling system Actual water consumption intensity: 3.5㎥/kl
Entire Group Risk Carry out water risk survey periodically (once every 5 years) at Group manufacturing bases Number of manufacturing bases surveyed for water risk: 2
*Surveys were postponed for overseas bases due to COVID-19 pandemic.
*All bases planned to be surveyed by 2024.
AB Risk/
Chance
Achieve water neutrality at all breweries in Japan by 2025 through the utilization of the Asahi Forest Asahi Forest's groundwater recharge capacity: 14% increase compared to 2019
AHSEA Risk Reduce water consumption by 1% or more YOY Actual water consumption: 17% reduction compared to 2019
Circular Economy Operating companies in Japan Risk/
Chance
Maintain the 100% recycling rate for all byproducts and waste Actual recycling rate: 100%
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Achieve an 80% waste recycling rate by 2020 Actual recycling rate: 29%
People Respect for
Human Rights
HD Risk Start the human rights due diligence process at suppliers in 2020 The human rights due diligence process was started at suppliers.
Human Resources Development HD Chance Achieve the following targets for the numbers of participants in training programs:
  • LEAD (a program to develop business leaders in Japan): 75
  • Global Leadership Development Program (a program to develop glocal business leaders): 35
  • One Young World (an external training program focused on resolving global issues): 25
  • Number of participants in LEAD: 96
  • Number of participants in Global Leadership Development Program: 0
    *Postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Number of participants in One Young World: 15
Diversity HD Risk Achieve a participation rate of 90% or higher in e-learning on human rights and LGBT at Japanese operating companies Actual participation rate: 87%
Workforce
Health and
Safety
AB Risk Achieve a 100% participation rate in the seminar for managers, seminar for supervisors, and training for employees, which are all intended for plant employees Actual participation rate: 100%
AEI Risk Achieve Disabling Injury Frequency Rates (DIFR) of 0.37, Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rates (TRIFR) of 1.85 in 2020 Actual DIFR: 0.43
Actual TRIFR: 3.95
AHSEA Risk Reduce the loss time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) by 5% YOY Actual LTIFR: 1.4
*Monitoring started in 2020
Operating companies in Japan Chance Achieve a 100% stress check implementation rate Actual implementation rate: 95%
Operating companies in Japan Chance Achieve a 98% rate for the medical consultation of metabolic syndrome by 2023 Actual rate of consultations conducted: 98%
Operating companies in Japan Chance Achieve a 45% rate for the implementation of guidance on lifestyle diseases by 2023 In progress
ASD Chance Implement appropriate initiatives at 12 business sites in response to health issues at each site Number of sites that implemented initiatives: 2
*Cancelled since March due to COVID-19 pandemic
Communities Create People-to-People
Connections
HD Chance Launch three products that feature “Barley of Hope” from operating companies in 2020 Number of products launched: 3
ASD Chance Implement unique initiatives at 14 business sites to resolve local issues Number of sites that implemented initiatives: 11
*Some initiatives including mass-participation events were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
ASD Chance Organize delivery lessons called the “Mitsuya Cider Classroom for the Future of Water and the Environment” (SDGs School for Children) in all 47 prefectures Number of lessons conducted: 0
*Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
ASD Chance Achieve the sales targets for Tokusan Mitsuya that feature local specialty ingredients Rate of sales target achievement: 85%
ASD Chance Achieve a visitor total of 96,500 at the four plants across Japan Actual number of visitors: 8,928
*Plant visits cancelled since March due to COVID-19 pandemic.
AHSEA Chance Have 50 or more employees under AHSEA participate in community programs (beach cleaning, etc.) Actual number of participants: approx. 200
Realize
Sustainable
Supply Chains
HD Risk Achieve a response rate of 90% or higher for the supplier CSR questionnaire Actual response rate: 86%
HD Risk Conduct 12 on-site interviews in 2020 based on the supplier CSR questionnaire Actual number of interviews conducted: 0
*Postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic
HD Risk Explain the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct, amended as of January 1, 2020, to 90% or more of the suppliers Actual rate of consent forms collected: 100%
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, briefings were cancelled, but explanatory material was sent and consent forms were collected.
Health Secure Food
Safety &
Reliability
Entire Group Risk Achieve zero quality accidents*4 Actual number of quality accidents: 0
AHSEA Risk Acquire HACCP certification for all plants by 2022 Certification acquisition rate: 75%
Create Value
of Health
AGS Chance Achieve a participation total of 100,000 in Wakodo Nutrition Consultation Activities *Activities were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
ASD Chance Achieve the sales targets for Foods for Specified Health Uses, Foods with Functional Claims, and healthcare products
*Target products: Karada Calpis, Karada Jurokucha, etc.
Rate of sales target achievement: 73%
ASD Chance Achieve sales targets for the 100ml series, which advertises value of health
*Target products: Todoku Tsuyosa-no Nyusankin, Mamoru Hataraku Nyusankin, etc.
Rate of sales target achievement: 67%
AHA Risk/
Chance
Reduce quantity of sugar used in soft drink products company-wide by 20% by 2025 (compared to 2015) Achievement rate to 2020 target: 100%
AHSEA Risk/
Chance
Reduce the quantity of sugar contained in 70% of the RTD products for Malaysia to 6 g or less per 100 ml by 2021 Actual proportion of products containing 6g or less sugar: 82%
Responsible Drinking Reduction in
Inappropriate
Drinking
Entire Group Risk Display age restrictions on alcohol consumption on all products under alcoholic beverage brands (including non-alcoholic beverages sold under that brand) by 2024 Actual labeling rate in Japan: 100%
Group-wide efforts are in progress toward target achievement.
Entire Group Risk Achieve 80% compliance with IARD Digital Guiding Principles by 2021 Monitoring will be conducted in 2021.
Operating companies in Japan Risk Achieve a participation rate of 90% or higher at Japanese operating companies for e-learning on appropriate drinking Actual participation rate: 98%
Solution of
Social Issues
through
Creation of
New Drinking
Opportunities
AEI Chance Raise sales volume ratio of non-alcohol products to 6.4% of all products in 2020 Actual proportion of non-alcohol products: 6%

*Company names are those that were in effect as of the end of 2020.
*Abbreviations stand for the following operating companies.
HD: Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.
AB: Asahi Breweries, Ltd.
ASD: Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.
AGS: Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.
AEI: Asahi Europe and International
AHA: Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd.
AHSEA: Asahi Group Holdings Southeast Asia Pte. Ltd.
*1 Entire Group: Operating companies in Japan, AEI, AHA
*2 Entire Group: AB, ASD, AEI, AHA
*3 Entire Group: AB, ASD, AEI, AHA, AHSEA
*4 Quality accidents indicate the number of product recalls made public through a newspaper announcement or on our website, on the grounds of a violation of the related regulations and voluntary rules specified in GRI Standards 416-2 and 417-2.