HOME > Sustainability > Respect the Environment > Environmental Management

Environmental Management

Last Updated: 2020.10.09
to Japanese page

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


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, countries where the majority of our partner factories operate. These employees are responsible for advancing efforts to improve environmental management at our partner factories.

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, we will continue to promote disclosure in accordance with recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Information Disclosure (TCFD).

*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.

Respecting the environment at stores

UNIQLO has been working towards reducing environmental loads through its store designs and operations. In October 2019, UNIQLO Kawagoe Store in Saitama Prefecture, Japan has 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 store received particularly high marks for its energy-saving measures, such as the adoption of a high-efficiency air-conditioning system, use of LED lighting, and 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. UNIQLO seeks to acquire LEED O+M certification at other main roadside stores in Japan with the same Kawagoe store standards, and plans to apply the knowledge gained through these efforts to further lower the environmental load of its stores. In October 2019, UNIQLO became a recipient of the Industry Pioneer award from the U.S. Green Building Council NGO for its leading role in reducing environmental impacts with this initiative.

Environmental management with partner factories

Along with workplace monitoring of our partner sewing factories and fabric mills, Fast Retailing conducts environmental audits based on our Code of Conduct for Production Partners. We have third-party auditors review water treatment and other environment measures at our partner factories. Fast Retailing personnel follow up with direct visits to factories that need to make improvements, working with that factory to ensure that the required improvements are made. We also conduct due diligence for sewing factories prior to entering into a business relationship.

【Main Elements of Environmental Monitoring】

・Is the factory in compliance with local laws and regulations related to the environment?
・Do the factory's wastewater treatment facilities have the proper permits and are they regularly inspected by local authorities; have the requisite certificates been obtained?
・Is wastewater treatment performed correctly?
・Are procedures in place for handling chemical substances and waste products?
・Have factory personnel been trained in handling and treating waste products?
・Does the factory have authorized contractors for the treatment of hazardous waste?

【Audit Results】

The details of the audit results can be found here.

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 the environmental impacts, UNIQLO launched the UNIQLO Responsible Mill Program, which calls for a reduction in water and energy usage by 15 and 10 percent, respectively, of 2016 levels by the end 2020 - the effort spanning three years from 2018 to 2020.

UNIQLO Responsible Mill Program

  • Evaluating the water and energy usage of the factories and formulating plans to reduce usage by 2020
  • When factories do not appear likely to achieve reduction targets completely, we work with outside experts to investigate areas that may yield additional reductions, including boiler upgrades, inverters, and other improvements to facilities and equipment operations.
  • Revising or creating new energy saving plans
  • Regular progress checks

• Progress
Participating factories in the UNIQLO Responsible Mill Program have formulated and implemented their water and energy saving project plans. We conducted on-site inspections with external experts on the reduction potential in some participating factories which were considered having large water and energy saving potential, and took measures to reduce water and energy usage in these factories. As a result, all participating factories' implemented projects by the end of 2018 achieved 20.7% water saving against the 15% reduction target, and 6.0% energy saving against the 10% reduction target by the end of 2019.

• 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 have been provided to the factory in areas of lightening system, thermal system, compressed air system, water system and the material processing. Based on these suggestions, this factory has implemented multiple projects including condensate recovery, using LED lights, switching to high efficiency motors, which overall generated annual savings of 215,869 ton water and 60,340 GJ energy by the end of 2019. Such amount of water and energy saving accounts for 1.5% and 2.4% of all the savings achieved in China by the end of 2019.

Adopting the Higg index at fabric mills

In 2014, Fast Retailing joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a non-profit organization that promotes efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the apparel industry. In 2015, UNIQLO began using the Higg Index at fabric mills. This index was developed by SAC as a standard for environmental assessments. We monitor and evaluate the environmental impact of fabric mills using the Higg Index, working with partner factories to make improvements.

【Seven Environmental Factors in the Higg Index 】

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

Training at core fabric mills

We provide training on the Higg Index at our core fabric mills to increase environmental knowledge and awareness. This training focuses mainly on raising awareness of issues surrounding water and energy use, as well as 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.

Fabric mill personnel receiving training on the Higg Index.

Fabric mill personnel receiving training on the Higg Index

Top of page