LIXIL makes pioneering water and housing products that solve everyday, real-life challenges, making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere.
Leverage the knowledge and perspectives of a diverse workforce as a key driver of growth and innovation. Improve quality of life for all people through our products and services, irrespective of their age, gender, and the level of disability.
By 2050, one in five people are projected to be over the age of 60, with most of them living either alone or with their spouse only. Approximately 15% of the world’s population today also live with some degree of disability, and this rate is increasing every year.
Creating a sustainable society requires providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to play an active role in society.
LIXIL is committed to providing products and services that meet the diverse needs of customers in order to realize our goal of making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere. To achieve sustainable growth by ensuring a truly customer-centric approach and realizing innovation that meets diverse needs, we believe it is important to build inclusive environments that enable a diverse range of employees to demonstrate their true potential. To that aim, we actively promote diversity and inclusion (D&I).
Our D&I Strategy seeks to embed a culture of inclusion across LIXIL and to achieve gender equity by 2030. We are also focusing on creating workplaces where people with disabilities feel empowered as another key D&I promotion pillar.
We aim to leverage the knowledge and perspectives of a diverse workforce to provide universal design (UD) products and services that help improve the quality of life of various people worldwide, regardless of age, gender, or ability/disability.
To help realize a sustainable society in which all people feel valued and empowered, we also conduct awareness-building activities to promote understanding of people with disabilities and collaborative research with universities.
In FYE2018, LIXIL published our D&I Declaration. In FYE2020, we set up our Global D&I Department, which is tasked with developing common global measures for promoting D&I. Then, in FYE2021, we established the D&I Committee, which consists of our CEO and other executive officers and leaders. To further promote D&I across our organization, we also conducted a D&I survey of all employees in FYE2021, and used the results to gain a clear grasp of the current situation and any issues and to update our D&I Strategy.
The D&I Strategy has been updated to incorporate new focused targets and measures for achieving gender equity. In FYE2022, we formulated an action plan to achieve those targets, and we are gradually implementing measures that incorporate D&I perspectives into our talent development and improvement of workplaces.
We are also focusing on creating workplaces that make it easier for employees with disabilities to play an active role in order to help achieve our ultimate aim of embedding culture of inclusion.
LIXIL researches and develops products based on UD concepts and policies.
LIXIL Universal Design Policy
LIXIL has strengthened digital communication to ensure we provide the right information about our UD concepts and products to customers and business partners. We did this by revising our UD website in December 2020 and launching a public toilet information site in March 2022.
The UD website has separate pages for end users and businesses to make it easier to access the information they need. We are also working on improving accessibility and usability by introducing font and contrast settings that are easy to read, intuitive design, and the alt attribute to specify alternative text for images that can’t be displayed, making the site easier to navigate for a broader range of people including people with disabilities or older people.
LIXIL launched the DOAC front door electric opening system in September 2020. DOAC enables people to lock and unlock and open and close their front door without touching it using a remote control. This enables people with disabilities, older people, and others to get in and out of the house easily. The DOAC can also satisfy market needs for an entrance door that can be operated without touch as a form of infectious disease control.
In September 2021, we achieved the world’s first “hands-free operation” of a front door by adding new functions that support voice control as well as tap control using smartphone, Apple Watch* or other devices. The newly developed DOAC app boasts a voice recognition feature that enables people to use their voice to lock and unlock and automatically open and close the door.
We have designed this system so that it is easy to use and safe for all family members. For example, we developed an auto-assist function for moments when users don’t have the remote control or a smartphone on hand. Pushing the door lightly in these situations fully opens the door. The pinch-detection function, meanwhile, prevents the door from closing when it detects any abnormal contact or obstacle in its path. And we made it possible to retrofit the electric opening system using existing doors and keys. The system can be installed in one day and is designed to accommodate various environments.
DOAC was developed in our Business Incubation Center, a business division tasked with developing entirely new and unique high value-added products and services. Our team adopted an inclusive design approach when developing this product, interviewing various wheelchair users and inviting potential interested users to act as advisors from the early design stage.
DOAC won a Social Products Award at the 8th Social Products Awards held in 2021 on the theme of products and services that help people with disabilities to live a full life and enjoy their work. DOAC was applauded for broadening the scope of independent activity for people with disabilities and improving the lives of a wide range of people. We were also recognized for our agile development approach, being based on a clear understanding of the needs of potential users gained through talking directly with them during the development stage.
* Apple Watch is an Apple Inc. trademark registered in the US and other countries.
DOAC achieved the world’s first “hands-free operation” of a front door
Won a Social Products Award 2021
NITTO CERA Corporation, a LIXIL subsidiary, has started selling the KINUAMI U foam shower to hospitals and nursing homes across Japan since December 2021. This bathing assistance product releases soft and warm soapy foam from the shower head using foam generation technology developed for fire extinguishing equipment and fire engines and mixing a special body soap with hot water and large volumes of air.
Assisting with bathing is one of the heaviest tasks of nursing care work because it includes lathering soap, washing the care recipient’s body, and rinsing with hot water. KINUAMI U can reduce the caregiver’s workload by producing large amounts of soft, warm foam that envelops the care recipient’s whole body to wash them. KINUAMI U also makes care recipients feel comfortable and less reluctant about being seen during bathing since their whole body is wrapped in warm foam.
LIXIL introduced marketing methods using the Makuake crowdfunding service together with NITTO CERA to work on the development of the KINUAMI U. This generated fundraising income of over 50 million yen, which far exceeded our 1 million yen target, income, and also helped us understand its high demand in the nursing care sector. Following trial operations, we started selling the KINUAMI U to hospitals and nursing care facilities across Japan. Our aim going forward is to provide more people with safe and reliable care situations.
KINUAMI U reduces the caregiver’s workload
LIXIL aims to realize a public toilet system that everyone can use comfortably and with peace of mind to help solve one of the biggest barriers to achieving an inclusive society, namely public toilets.
LIXIL and Toyota Motor Corporation have jointly developed Mobile Toilet that wheelchair users can use with greater ease when outside the house. The toilet is loaded onto a vehicle so it can be installed anywhere when necessary. Installing these vehicles at event venues that typically don’t provide enough barrier-free toilets, such as sports events, helps increase the range of places wheelchair users can go.
During the development phases, we interviewed wheelchair users, Para athletes, and welfare engineering experts. This helped us devise ways to incorporate people’s desire not just for barrier-free design, but also to be able to use the toilet on their own without the help of a caregiver, or to be able to lie down if they are not feeling well.
This initiative is helping to realize a society that enables everyone to go where they want to go and do what they want to do, irrespective of their level of ability or disability.
Accessible Mobile Toilet
The facility enables everyone to select freely which toilet they want to use, irrespective of such categorizations as man, woman, adult, child, able-bodied person, or person with disabilities. The pods of different cubicles offer gender-neutral toilet options that respond to diverse needs and ease the difficulties faced by transgender users who have to choose between public toilets for men or women.
The vacant toilet monitor located at the entrance to the toilet space encourages users to “choose a cubicle that best suits you.” On each side of the corridor are toilets that anyone can use. There are also some gender-specific toilets and a handwashing corner, so that users can choose the most appropriate toilet for them without attracting attention.
Our inclusive toilet facility won a 2020 Good Design Award.
An inclusive toilet facility that enables people to choose their preferred stall
LIXIL built a suite of LIXIL PARK toilets for use by the public from July to September 2021. The toilets, which used our withCUBE portable booths to facilitate the flexible creation of private spaces in any location, were segregated according to function, not gender, based on the concept of “peace of mind and comfort for all.” LIXIL PARK represented a new kind of public toilet proposal by displaying five types of function-specific unisex toilet cubicles designed to serve the differing needs of wheelchair users, ostomates, and people with accompanying infants. We also prepared two types of private spaces: a nursing space and a calm-down space.*
* Calm-down space: A space to come to block out outside noise and calm your feelings. A place to calm or preempt any sense of panic. We envisage this space could be used by people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, mental health issues, or dementia for example.
LIXIL PARK overview
Toilet cubicles with different functionalities to suit different needs
In March 2022, we set up the LIXIL Public Toilet Lab on our UD website to curate information on public toilets. The website digs deep into the issue of toilet access from the perspectives of human rights and the SDGs. We intend to use it as a tool for conveying LIXIL’s ideas and proposals relating to public toilets and considering the best options together with specific toilet users.
LIXIL provides training for sales departments to help employees deepen their understanding of UD-related issues and formulate a response and make proposals that illustrate a more intimate understanding of our customers’ needs. In FYE2022, we conducted training sessions designed mainly to improve employees’ ability to propose ways to create safe and reliable housing for older people. One example was the six online sessions we conducted for coordinators who guide customers around our showrooms to enable them to learn more about the points to consider when designing toilet, bathroom, or kitchen spaces in the home, the products we can offer, and various systems such as the nursing care insurance system. The lectures were given to approximately 1,000 employees.
In addition, in order to improve our ability to make proposals for facilities for older people, a business area that we are striving to strengthen, we created a catalog called “ELDERLY FACILITY PLANNING BOOK” and conducted a total of five online training sessions for sales representatives who interact with architectural design companies, general contractors, and facility design companies. Roughly 300 people participated in the sessions.
In April 2022, we also set up a new website that offers a wide range of UD-related information and content.
Aiming to create a universally accessible society that enables diverse groups of people to live invigorating lives while respecting those around them, LIXIL offers education programs for elementary school students.
At our Universal Run: Sports Prosthetic Limb Experience Class program held at elementary schools throughout Japan, children learn about universal design by experiencing wearing a prosthetic limb designed for sports use and by talking with prosthetic limb users about their lives.
We also hold our Universal Design: Good for One, Good for All, Good for a Lifetime program, where LIXIL employees create their own teaching materials and visit elementary schools to conduct lessons on universal design for children. The program is designed to highlight examples of universal design in nearby streets and individual homes to deepen students’ understanding of diversity in terms of gender, age, nationality, and ability and disability, and encourage them to think what they can do and how they can act on it.
Students taking part in an outreach class