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Improved Waste Management and Resource Efficiencies

Last Updated: 2021.04.02
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Fast Retailing strives to minimize its environmental impact by reducing resource use, and by reusing and recycling waste generated by our own business activities and across the supply chain.

Policies for Improving Waste Management and Resource Efficiencies

Waste is a valuable resource that can be reused when managed properly. Our goal is to reduce the amount of waste generated from our business activities, including the disposal of products that our customers no longer need. We promote reuse and appropriate management of waste in other ways, engaging proactively in resource recycling. In order to achieve a circular economy and maximize resource efficiency, we also work towards reducing resource usage and promote reuse and recycling. The most important way to improve the efficient use of resources is to make sure that our customers use the apparel they purchase from us for as long as possible. We are committed to using resources efficiently by providing our customers with high-quality long-lasting apparel.

Targets

Pursuing a business model to eliminate waste

Fast Retailing strives to create simple clothing that is high in quality and functionality, and that customers can and will want to use for a long time.

We analyze customer opinions and reflect that feedback in product development. We are also steadily increasing the accuracy of our estimated production quantities and optimizing our logistics. We believe these efforts will lead to selling only the best possible products to customers at the best timing, helping us to eliminating waste in the production and selling stages of our business.

The clothes we create are based on the ongoing needs of our customers, and we are committed to not destroying or discarding unsold products. Accordingly, we take measures such as clearing stock through markdowns or carrying products over to the next season.

Our efforts don't stop at the time of sale. We also collect, reuse and recycle products used by our customers. In addition, we are advancing new ways to use materials with greater efficiency, incorporating recycled materials into product planning and in our sourcing of raw materials.

Policy to reduce the amount of single-use plastic

In July 2019, Fast Retailing adopted a group policy to eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic throughout its supply chain and, where plastic is necessary, switch to eco-friendly substitutes.

・Environmental considerations of shopping bags and product packaging
Fast Retailing aims to minimize its environmental impact by reducing quantities of materials used in shopping bags and product packaging, or by switching to eco-friendly substitute materials. By the end of 2020 we reached our target, set in 2019, to use 85% less plastic annually for shopping bags and product packaging. This amounts to 7,800 tons less customer-facing single-use plastic in our stores.

Fast Retailing

・More efficient use of resources in materials procurement
Fast Retailing is advancing ways to use materials with greater efficiency. We are doing this by incorporating recycled materials in the product planning process and in our sourcing of raw materials.

・More efficient use of resources in product planning
UNIQLO pursues timeless design and durability in LifeWear apparel. We plan, produce, and sell these products with the goal of having our customers wear them over a long period of time. In this way, UNIQLO helps uses resources more efficiently.

・Resource recycling in stores and offices
We encourage resource recycling through the appropriate management of the waste generated by our stores and offices worldwide. We set a goal for 100 percent recycling of discarded corrugated cardboard (roadside shops only) at UNIQLO in Japan, a goal we achieved in 2017. We have been working with building owners to promote resource recycling at our shopping mall locations.

Supply Chain

Fast Retailing researches new technologies to control the amount of waste generated in production processes and to reuse textile waste. We also minimize the amount of waste generated by optimizing shipping methods and reusing packaging materials.

Customers

We collect clothing no longer needed by our customers, providing those items to refugees and displaced persons. We are developing means to use clothing collected but not suitable for reuse, ensuring materials are processed appropriately and converted to other resources such as solid waste fuel.

Fast Retailing Initiatives

More efficient use of resources in materials procurement

・Recycled down
UNIQLO stores have begun collecting UNIQLO's used down items from customers. Down will be extracted from down products and cleaned for use in new down merchandise. Collection started initially only in Japan, and some down products from the 2020 Fall/Winter season have started using this recycled material.

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・Recycled polyester fibers
From 2020 Spring/Summer UNIQLO will begin to introduce DRY-EX items of clothing that incorporate high-value-added polyester fibers derived from reclaimed PET bottles.

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Shopping bags

In September 2019, Fast Retailing began switching from plastic shopping bags to paper bags made of recycled paper and other eco-friendly materials, and completed the changeover in 2020.
Aiming to reduce shopping bags to promote resource efficiency, regardless of material type, UNIQLO and other Fast Retailing brands now sell original reusable bags. To encourage the use of reusable bags, all UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan began charging for single-use shopping bags from September 1, 2020. UNIQLO and GU stores across North America, Europe and Asia began charging for shopping bags in September 2019.

Product packaging

Fast Retailing is working to eliminate plastic packaging and is switching to alternatives such as recycled paper. The use of plastic packaging was eliminated for UNIQLO room shoes from the 2019 Fall/Winter season, and paper header-type and other alternative packaging is now used for some products.

Recycling wastes from stores

We set a goal for 100 percent recycling of discarded corrugated cardboard (independent roadside shops only) at UNIQLO in Japan. Working with outside recycling companies, we achieved 100 percent recycling in fiscal 2017.

When UNIQLO stores in Japan are closed or renovated, we reuse some of the store fixtures and equipment in new stores. We are expanding this approach to UNIQLO stores in China and South Korea.

Supply Chain Initiatives

Logistics

A great deal of cardboard boxes and other waste is generated in the process of delivering materials and products. We are engaged in a variety of initiatives to reduce the amount of waste material generated by logistics.

Initiatives AreaDescription

Reduction in Cardboard Boxes

UNIQLO and GU
in Japan

Some UNIQLO and GU products shipped from factories to the countries where they are sold are repacked at the warehouse to fulfill store orders. In the past, we purchased new cardboard boxes for repacking. Now, however, our warehouses in Japan are reusing boxes used in the initial shipment, or have switched to collapsible boxes, greatly reducing the number of new boxes purchased. UNIQLO in Japan reduced annual purchases of new cardboard boxes for shipping by nearly 70 percent.

Reducing Paper Used in Warehouse Operations

UNIQLO Japan

In the past, UNIQLO Japan used paper shipping labels to facilitate the process of product picking (removing products from warehouse shelves) when shipping products from UNIQLO warehouses in Japan. Now, UNIQLO uses a computerized system that reduces the amount of paper used. Our e-commerce business has also reduced paper usage significantly by confirming orders electronically.

All-Product Recycling Initiative - Involving Customers

In 2006, Fast Retailing started accepting apparel no longer needed by our customers at UNIQLO and GU stores, encouraging the reuse and recycling of our products.We sort the clothing collected, donating products still wearable (about 80% ) to refugees, displaced persons, and others in need. The remaining clothes are put through shredding machines to remove any remaining metals. The material is then mixed with paper and plastic waste, compressed, and recycled as solid waste fuel (RPF*). RPF replaces coal and petroleum-based fuels for use in special boilers at paper mills.
*RPF: Recycled Paper and Plastic Fuel

Solid waste fuel (RPF)

Solid waste fuel (RPF*) made from reclaimed clothing

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Waste

Fast Retailing

Units: tons

Item Type of Waste 2018
(September 2017 to August 2018)
2019
(September 2018 to August 2019)
2020
(September 2019 to August 2020)
Stores Combustibles Waste (Some stores, actual value) 2,681 2,463 2,745
Recycling rate (%) - - -
Waste (All stores, estimated) 6,279 5,738 7,258
Waste Plastics Waste (Some stores, actual value) 2,630 3,580 2,947
Recycling rate (%) 33 17 15
Waste (All stores, estimated) 6,217 11,865 11,591
Waste Cardboard Boxes Waste (Some stores, actual value) 12,525 11,721 11,208
Recycling rate (%) 100 100 100
Waste (All stores, estimated) 27,077 25,833 29,080
Total Waste
(All stores, estimated)
39,573 43,436 47,929
Head Office 154 185 138
Scope of Data Collection
  • Head Offices: Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Headquarters and Ariake Headquarters
  • Stores: UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan
  • Head Offices: Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Headquarters and Ariake Headquarters
  • Stores: UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan
  • Head Offices: Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Headquarters and Ariake Headquarters
  • Stores: UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan
  • * We reviewed the calculation method for FY2019, and from FY2020 the actual values of waste and recycling rate for the past three years have been added.


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