Making LifeWear a “New Industry,” and Accelerating the Transition to a New Business Model Supporting Both Sustainability and Growth
Fast Retailing is advancing its LifeWear concept–the ultimate in everyday clothing, designed to make everyone’s life better–to create apparel that not only emphasizes quality, design, and price, but also meets the definition of “good clothing” from the standpoint of the environment, people, and society. As part of this philosophy, Fast Retailing has formulated Fiscal 2030 Targets and an Action Plan for core aspects of sustainability. The entire Fast Retailing Group, based on the LifeWear concept, will accelerate its transition to a new business model encompassing both sustainability and business growth.
In conjunction with the objective of the Ariake Project, to make and sell only apparel that customers truly want, Fast Retailing will emphasize care for the environment in all processes, from manufacturing to transport and sales, sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste to establish a production process with a light environmental impact. Simultaneously, the company will safeguard human rights in all processes, building a supply chain that allows customers to purchase products with trust. Further, Fast Retailing will develop new reuse and recycling services and technologies to extend the life and utility of LifeWear post purchase. In addition, to help find solutions to the increasingly complex problems facing the world, Fast Retailing is extending its worldwide initiatives for social contribution and diversity through the apparel business. Through these initiatives, the company will increase the value of LifeWear and advance its philosophy for sustainability, providing customers with clothing they will appreciate and use for a long time.
Commenting on the plan, Koji Yanai, Group Senior Executive Officer of Fast Retailing, said, “Providing apparel that customers will cherish for a long time has been the aim of our business for many years. With environmental problems and other serious global issues becoming increasingly evident, we have further advanced our philosophy, and are pursuing measures to show the world a completely new way for clothes to be, while contributing to the realization of a sustainable society. By moving forward with broad support and cooperation from customers and partner corporations, Fast Retailing will create the “New Industry” of LifeWear. By making LifeWear available to more customers, we aim to conduct business in a way that improves the lives of people and societies throughout the world.”
Fiscal 2030 Sustainability Targets and Action Plan
- Key Initiatives: Making Good Clothes That Are Better for The Environment
For a more sustainable business, Fast Retailing has established an environmental policy that employs revolutionary technologies to reduce the burden on the global environment.
In accordance with this policy, Fast Retailing positions climate change as one of its most pressing issues, upholding targets set out in the Paris Agreement, and acting to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In September this year, the company announced its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by FY2030. These targets have been approved as Science-Based Targets by the SBT initiative (SBTi).
Targets and Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Fast Retailing Own-Operations Targets (Stores and Offices):
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by FY2030 (compared with FY2019)
- Reduce electricity consumption at stores through energy conservation initiatives, aiming for approximately 40% reductions at roadside stores and approximately 20% reductions at mall stores.
- By the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021, eight UNIQLO stores in Japan achieved Gold Level certification by LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the most widely-used green building rating system in the world.
- Develop new, highly energy-efficient store formats, with an aim to launch a prototype store during 2023.
- Switch electricity used by all Fast Retailing stores and key offices globally to renewable energy sources by FY2030. By August 2021, all 64 UNIQLO stores from nine markets in Europe had switched over to renewable energy. By the end of 2021, all stores in North America and in some countries in Southeast Asia will complete this switch.
Supply Chain Targets:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by FY2030 (compared with FY2019)
- Based on strong relationships with partner factories, Fast Retailing ensures a planned reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across our supply chain, which account for 90% of the total emissions relating to the business.
- By November 2021, defined conditions and issues at each of the core partner factories jointly accounting for 90% of UNIQLO and GU manufacturing. Formulated plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to implement energy efficiency, decarbonization, and renewable energy initiatives.
- Established processes and structure for 150 people from the manufacturing and sustainability departments to monitor and manage greenhouse gas reduction efforts.
Increase proportion of recycled materials to approximately 50% by FY2030
- Since 2019, UNIQLO has increasingly introduced recycled materials. By 2022 Spring/Summer, about 15% of polyester used derived from recycled PET bottles.
- 2019SS: Some DRY-EX Polo Shirt products employed recycled polyester.
- 2020FW: Some Fluffy Yarn Fleece products employed 30% recycled polyester.
- 2021SS: Released waist bags using 30% recycled nylon.
- The company is expanding its introduction of materials that place a lower burden on the environment, starting with synthetic fibers such as rayon and nylon.
Waste Reduction Initiatives
Realize “Zero Waste” early by reducing, replacing, re-using, and recycling materials* used in the process of delivering clothes to customers
- In July 2019, Fast Retailing enacted a group policy to abolish unnecessary single-use plastics.
- Since September 2019, plastic shopping bags have gradually been replaced with more environmentally-friendly paper bags. In September 2020, UNIQLO and GU introduced a charge for paper bags at all stores in Japan, where 70% of customers now decline shopping bags.
- From 2019, GU launched an initiative to collect product hangers in stores and return these to factories for re-use.
- From 2020, the company began consolidating packaging materials used in product transport into a single material to simplify recycling.
- From 2021, to recycle packaging materials and waste from product transport, the company launched proof-of-concept areas for recyclables separation, collection, and processing in some UNIQLO and GU stores.
* Product packaging, cardboard during shipping, plastic bags, hangers etc.
- Key Initiatives: Making Clothes Good for People and Society
To provide truly good clothing that customers can love and wear for a long time with trust, Fast Retailing is advancing the establishment of work environments where the health, safety and human rights of workers are protected, covering its own employees as well as people working in the supply chain. Aiming to create a better society for and with customers, Fast Retailing also conducts a wide range of global and local social contribution activities.
Establishing Supply Chain Transparency and Traceability
Strengthen transparency and traceability to raw material level; identify and correct human rights, labor environment and environmental issues in the supply chain
- Since 2017, Fast Retailing has published a list of core sewing partner factories, and since 2018, expanded the list to include core fabric mills. By March 2022, the company plans to publish a list of all sewing partner factories it has ongoing dealings with.
- In addition to audits at garment factories and core fabric mills, the company aims to establish traceability across the whole supply chain, from upstream spinning mills to raw material level. Through Fast Retailing site visits, audits by third party organizations, and third-party certifications, the company will identify and correct any human rights or labor environment issues at an early stage.
- In July 2021, the company formed a global project team of approximately 100 people to begin these operations. Starting from material procurement at the farthest point upstream, the company is carrying out due diligence for human rights across the entire supply chain to ensure the early detection of human rights violation risks.
Ethical and Responsible Procurement of Raw Materials
Fast Retailing promotes ethical and responsible procurement of raw materials, establishing procurement policies for both plant and animal-derived materials.
Promoting Social Contribution Initiatives Globally
Contribute to the safety and sustainable development of society, expanding social contribution activities on a global scale through the clothing business
- In cooperation with the Fast Retailing Foundation and Yanai Tadashi Foundation, the company will expand social contribution activities on a global scale through its clothing business.
- By 2025, Fast Retailing will expand its investment in social contribution activities up to JPY 10 billion, carrying out regional support activities from stores worldwide to provide support for 10 million people, including refugees and other vulnerable people. The company will also expand clothing support donations to reach 10 million pieces per year by 2025.
Accelerate Diversity and Inclusion Progress
Respect the individuality and diversity of employees and customers, create workplaces where employees can work to the best of their abilities, and facilitate career development
- Increase the representation of female management in the company to 50% by FY2030.
- Cultivate global talent to strengthen the next-generation of leaders and management.
- In addition to hiring people with disabilities, design for diversity in stores and expand product and service offerings that increase convenience for all customers.
- Enhance LGBTQ+ friendliness of environments for employees and customers.
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