The President & CEO of Asahi Kasei, Mr. Koshiro Kudo, talks about the company’s history, philosophy, IP landscape, intangible asset management, and sustainability initiatives.
3 Key takeaways from this article:
- Asahi Kasei is a Japanese chemical manufacturer with a 100-year history of innovation, recognition, and balanced progress.
- Asahi Kasei aligns its business activities with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to enhance people’s quality of life and reduce its environmental impact.
- The company uses IP landscaping and LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions’ analytics to support its growth, diversification, and sustainability initiatives.
From chemical fertilizers and fibers to materials, housing, and healthcare, Asahi Kasei has undergone a remarkable transformation and adaptation in its 100 years of existence. The Japanese chemicals manufacturer has always been attuned to the changing needs of society while keeping its core values of innovation, recognition, and balanced progress. In a recent interview, the CEO of Asahi Kasei explained how it uses its intellectual property (IP) assets to support its growth and diversification strategy and its dedication to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Asahi Kasei, the respected chemical manufacturer with origins deeply rooted in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, has been on a century-long journey from its establishment to becoming a leading player in the industry. President Mr. Kudo, who has been with the company since 1982, reflects on Asahi Kasei’s transition across a century marked by significant changes. “From the pre-war era through post-war recovery and into the contemporary era, Asahi Kasei has reflected society’s development, adjusting to its needs and expectations,” he says.
Innovation, recognition, and the pursuit of balanced progress
Asahi Kasei’s culture of innovation is evident in its remarkable accomplishments in research and development (R&D). The company has a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which was given to Dr. Akira Yoshino in 2019 for his creation of the lithium-ion battery. This is an uncommon achievement for a corporate researcher, and it shows the company’s lasting commitment to R&D and encourages researchers to follow their vision. Asahi Kasei also has a strategic way of doing R&D and commercialization, balancing the need for speed and quality. The company aims to create materials and technologies to help future social change while promptly bringing products to market. To do this, the company uses various approaches, such as developing an IP landscape. to identify the strengths and opportunities of its businesses, as well as possible partners and alliances.
Asahi Kasei’s innovation journey is one of strategic balance and foresight. Mr. Kudo emphasizes the company’s cultural dedication to extensive research, resulting in global recognition. “Our researchers have the freedom and support to work on long-term projects, reflecting our commitment to innovation that lasts over time,” he says proudly.
The strategic role of intellectual property in Asahi Kasei’s expansion
Asahi Kasei understands the value of IP as a crucial part of its strategy to grow and diversify. Mr. Kudo confidently emphasizes that IP is at the heart of Asahi Kasei’s strategic thinking. “IP landscape is fundamental to our strategy. It’s the strong thread that connects our diverse businesses,” he says. The company has a varied portfolio of businesses with advantages and challenges which makes it critical that they invest wisely and effectively in each industry while finding business synergies. IP data and analytics are essential for this process, as they help the company evaluate its competitive edge, safeguard its core technologies, and utilize its intangible assets.
They also use IP as a way of storytelling to convey their value proposition to different stakeholders, such as investors, customers, and society. The company recently organized an IP strategy briefing meeting, where the president and the IP department presented their vision and activities to the investors. The meeting was well received, as it demonstrated the dedication and involvement of the management in IP, as well as the role of IP in the innovation and growth of the business.
The use of LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions’ analytics has been vital, enabling Asahi Kasei to leverage its technological strength and adapt to the complexities of market needs effectively. This analytical approach has also shaped Asahi Kasei’s mid-term management plans, which have been communicated internally and externally. “Our ‘Growth & Gear’ plan, also known as ‘GG10,’ is a blueprint for our future, covering ten businesses,” Mr. Kudo explains. Here, IP analytics have provided a clear direction for growth areas, such as hydrogen business development, vital for the company’s mission towards carbon neutrality and environmental protection.
Aligning investor interests with sustainable development goals
The company is guided by two key phrases in its business activities: “Care for People” and “Care for Earth.” This commitment goes beyond profit margins to the company’s corporate social responsibility, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The company works to create products and services that will enhance people’s quality of life and happiness and lower the environmental impact and carbon footprint of its operations. The company also aligns its activities with the SDGs, a set of 17 global goals that aim to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Asahi Kasei believes that its individual and corporate efforts are linked to the SDGs and that this will inspire its employees and stakeholders to join the global agenda. Mr. Kudo is proud of the investors’ recognition of Asahi Kasei’s strong IP activities. “Investors see the value in our devotion to the IP landscape and its integration into our business development,” he says.
The company also hopes to cooperate with other companies and organizations, using the digital transformation in IP to create a positive business and intangible asset strength cycle.
Asahi Kasei’s strategic use of IP to support sustainable growth and innovation has not only drawn the attention of investors but has also shown the company’s commitment to sustainable practices. Mr. Kudo emphasizes, “Our contribution to the SDGs through our business is proof of our commitment to making a positive impact on the global environment and society.”
Watch the full interview with Mr. Koshiro Kudo here.
About Asahi Kasei
Asahi Kasei is a paradigm of innovation and commitment to sustainability in the global chemical industry. With a century of history, the company has evolved its offerings to encompass materials, housing, and healthcare, reflecting its dynamic response to global needs. Asahi Kasei continues to forge ahead, pushing technological and business boundaries with an unwavering commitment to enhancing lives and safeguarding the planet.
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