Kao to join Unilever and Geno’s venture to scale palm alternatives

By Julia Wray | Published: 29-Sep-2022

Geno’s technology also offers alternatives to fossil fuel-based ingredient sources

Kao Corporation is joining Unilever and biotech firm Genomatica, now known as Geno, in a US$120m venture to scale alternatives to palm oil and fossil fuel-based ingredients.

The collaboration was first announced as a joint venture between Unilever and Geno in June this year.

Kao’s 130-plus years of expertise in the consumer products and chemical industries is anticipated to deepen the venture’s global reach and impact.

The Japan-based consumer goods and chemicals company said joining the venture will help it hit its climate goals, which include reducing carbon dioxide missions to zero by 2040 and becoming carbon-negative by 2050.

According to Geno, companies can reduce the carbon footprint of palm-derived ingredients by up to 50% with its plant-based alternative.

"I am delighted that Kao has had the opportunity to invest in a venture with such outstanding, cutting-edge biotechnology capabilities,” said Masahiro Katayose, Kao’s Senior Executive Officer in charge of its Chemical Business.

“Kao’s investment in this venture will make possible the provision of new eco-chemical solutions and represents an opportunity for Kao to play an even bigger role in helping consumers, customers, industry and society to realise decarbonisation and make the shift to a resource-circulating economy.”

Christophe Schilling, Geno’s CEO, added: “We’re excited to welcome Kao as a founding member to our palm kernel oil alternative venture along with Unilever.

“Kao joining this venture is another example of Geno collaborating with world-leading brands and value-chain partners to commercialise sustainable solutions at scale that support traceable and responsible sourcing.”

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