Research spending at Nippon Shokubai (NS) is about 6% of sales, that is, approximately $80 million per year. Over 600 employees, comprising 25% of the total company employment, are engaged in research work.
The company's credo is "to create technology for better lives." This is embodied in a concept called TechnoAmenity, which is aimed at making peoples lives healthier and happier through technological innovation by solving environmental problems such as acid rain, ozone depletion, rain forest losses, desertification, and global warming.
Interest in biodegradable polymers is related to the pressure that the company is feeling from its customers in the water-soluble and super-absorbent polymers. The company expects that those polymers will eventually have to be biodegradable, and that legislation will be introduced in Japan mandating the biodegradability of some water-soluble polymers. Nippon Shokubai bases this position on the April 1994 joint statement in Tokyo from MITI and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that water-soluble polymers represent a potential environmental problem. The joint statement is considered a strong indication of impending MITI requirements and control.
In addition to programs in the chemical synthesis of biodegradable water-soluble polymers, the company is also embracing biotechnology to clean waste streams before release into the environment.