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Environmental Management

Last Updated: 2021.06.25
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Fast Retailing continues to improve environmental management systems and promote environmental management throughout the supply chain.

Fast Retailing Environmental Policies

Fast Retailing works to eliminate all waste in in order to maximize the effective use of resources across all business processes. As we reduce our environmental impact, we also adopt innovative technologies in an effort to build more sustainable business models.

【Five Core Environmental Initiatives】

・Address climate change
・Improve energy efficiency
・Manage water resources
・Manage waste, maximize resource efficiency
・Manage chemical substances

【Related Policies】

Approach

Implementation Framework

The Sustainability Committee refers to the company's environmental policies to identify the most important initiatives to address. Each entity within the Fast Retailing Group pursues its own environmental initiatives. Fast Retailing pursues five core environmental initiatives: (1) Address climate change; (2) Improve energy efficiency; (3) Manage water; (4) Manage waste and maximize resource efficiency; and (5) Manage chemical substances. The Sustainability Committee sets targets for these areas and implements specific policies to support them. Attended by internal directors, external directors, full-time auditors, senior operating officers, and external professionals, the Sustainability Committee seeks and considers a wide variety of actions. The specific environmental activities of the committee are conducted by the companies in the Fast Retailing Group, as well as by the departments responsible for product development, production, distribution, sales, and marketing.

We assign sustainability department personnel to the production offices in China and Southeast Asia. These employees are responsible for advancing efforts to improve environmental management at our partner factories. In 2014, Fast Retailing joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a non-profit organization that promotes the reduction of environmental impact in the apparel industry. To assess the environmental impact of our company and our supply chain, we utilize the Higg Index, an industry standard tool developed by SAC, to understand environmental impacts and risks, and strive for improvement.

Information Disclosure

Based on our Environmental Policy, Fast Retailing recognizes the importance of environmental information disclosure as we continue to pursue improved environmental performance. We actively disclose this information through our websites, our Sustainability Report, Sustainability Data Book and by other means.

To disclose information about our environmental performance, we responded to the CDP* questionnaire on climate change, water security, and forest conservation. Furthermore, in response to the growing interest in our activities to address climate change, in June 2021, we declared our support of the recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Information Disclosure (TCFD). We continue to promote disclosure in accordance with the TCFD framework.

*At the request of institutional investors and major purchasing companies around the world who are highly interested in environmental issues, CDP requested companies and municipalities to disclose information on environmental issues such as climate change, water security, and forest conservation. It is one of the world's most valuable information disclosure platforms for environmental issues. Please see here for companies' CDP scores.

Fast Retailing Initiatives

Stores

・Protecting the environment through LEED certification
UNIQLO has been working towards reducing its environmental burden through store designs and operations. In October 2019, the UNIQLO Kawagoe Store in Saitama Prefecture, Japan received Gold Level LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in the Building Operations & Maintenance (O+M) category. Since its first roadside store opening in 1985, UNIQLO has standardized the specifications for roadside stores, utilizing high-quality materials, heat insulation, and simple store designs to create durable, energy-efficient retail spaces. The LEED O+M Gold certification was awarded in recognition of this store design and its operating procedures. The Kawagoe store received particularly high marks for its energy-saving measures, such as the adoption of a high-efficiency air-conditioning system, the use of LED lighting, efficient operations, and its resource conservation measures including waste separation and the installation of water-saving toilets, as well as the maintenance of air quality through appropriate air conditioning and circulation. In October 2019, UNIQLO received the Industry Pioneer award from the U.S. Green Building Council for its leading role in reducing environmental impact with this initiative. As of 2020, UNIQLO has acquired LEED O+M Gold certification at seven main roadside stores in Japan including the Kawagoe store, and seeks to acquire the same certification in 2021 for the UNIQLO PARK store, opened in April 2020. We continue to apply the knowledge gained through these efforts to further lower the environmental impact of our stores.

Supply Chain Initiatives

Partner factories

・Environmental management
In 2020, based on our Code of Conduct for Production Partners, Fast Retailing adopted the "Environmental Commitment" standard that sets out the minimum environmental protection standards that our business partners should comply with. We only contract with partners that can pledge their compliance to this commitment.

【Main Elements of Fast Retailing's Environmental Commitment】

  • The factory is in compliance with local laws and regulations related to the environment
  • Environmental impact assessment is conducted when required by local laws and regulations
  • Ensure wastewater treatment works properly
  • Procedures are in place for handling chemical substances and waste products
  • Training on chemical hazards is conducted for all employees who use chemicals while working in the factory, and on risks when handling chemicals in case of emergency or spill
  • The factory has authorized contractors for the treatment of hazardous waste

・Adopting the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) at partner factories
For our core fabric mills and sewing factories, we confirm the status of compliance with the environmental commitment standard through regular assessment using the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM), an industry environmental impact assessment standard tool for factories, developed by the SAC. With the introduction of the Higg FEM, we conduct a survey consisting of about 130 questions regarding the environmental impact of fabric mills and sewing factories and identify challenges based on these results. We require our core fabric mills to have third-party auditors review water treatment and other environment measures. Where necessary, Fast Retailing personnel who are recognized by the SAC as FEM trainers, follow up with direct visits and work with factories to ensure required improvements are made. Through this initiative, we work with our partner factories to understand and reduce environmental risks and promote voluntary efforts to make improvements.

【Seven Environmental Factors in the Higg FEM】

  • Environmental management system (environmental targets, etc.)
  • Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Water use
  • Drainage
  • Atmospheric emissions
  • Waste
  • Management of chemical substances

・Reduce water and energy usage under the UNIQLO Responsible Mill Program
Fabric mills use a significant amount of water and energy in the manufacturing process. To alleviate these environmental impact, UNIQLO launched the UNIQLO Responsible Mill Program, which calls for a reduction in water and energy usage by 15 and 10 percent, respectively, as compared to 2016 levels by the end of 2020 - the effort spanned three years from 2018 to 2020. Participating factories have implemented their water and energy saving project plans. Fast Retailing has conducted on-site inspections with external experts at some participating factories considered to have large water and energy saving potential, taking measures to maximize savings at these factories. In aggregate, participating factories had achieved 22.4% water savings against the 15% target, and 12.1% energy savings against the 10% target by the end of 2020.

Case Study of UNIQLO Fabric Mill projects
From 2017 to 2019, UNIQLO invited external experts to visit seven of the participating fabric mills to discover saving opportunities in water and energy for those factories. In March 2017, external experts visited one of the core fabric mills in Jiangsu Province, China, and suggestions were made to the factory in areas of lightening system, thermal system, compressed air system, water system and material processing. Based on these suggestions, this factory has implemented multiple projects including condensate recovery, heat recovery from dyeing wastewater, using LED lights, switching to high efficiency motors, which overall generated annual savings of 215,869 ton water and 165,137 GJ energy by the end of 2020. Such amount of water and energy saving accounts for 1.8% and 3.4% of all the savings achieved through these projects in China by the end of 2020.

・Training at core fabric mills and sewing factories
We provide training on the Higg Index at our core fabric mills and sewing factories to increase environmental knowledge and awareness. This training focuses mainly on raising awareness of issues surrounding water and energy use, as well as on the management of chemical substances. Providing this training on an on-going basis, we are advancing our goal of appropriate environmental management at our partner fabric mills. In fiscal 2020, we provided training to about 330 factories.

Fabric mill personnel receiving training on the Higg Index.

Fabric mill personnel receiving training on the Higg Index


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