Japanese cosmetics maker Kao Corporation [1] recently opened its new Eco-Technology Research Centre (ETRC) within the compound of the Wakayama Plant, together with an Eco-Lab Museum focusing on Kao’s environmental efforts. The total investment amounted to approximately 16 billion yens (139 million euros), the company said in a release.

The brand new ETRC features three research facilities with an approximate aggregate floor area of 23,000 square meters, the largest scale among Kao research facilities in Japan. The ETRC will host the research laboratories that have been established recently to focus on eco-innovation and particularly on the development of new functional materials. According to Kao, the main research themes include: the use of renewable raw materials such as plant-derived biomass, the development of non-edible oil plants, and the development of fundamental technologies for watersaving products. Additionally, the company said it would strive “to develop next-generation environmental technology, which will become the core of Kao business in the fields of water, food, and green chemicals.

Staff researchers from different fields will work together within the ETRC on environmental issues that, so far, were conducted separately in existing laboratories.

As per the ETRC, the Kao Eco-Lab Museum mission is to embody the company’s ecology-centred strategy. “The museum will also be used to strengthen the company’s communication function with the society.” The Kao Eco-Lab Museum will be open to the public from July 4, 2011.