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Water Resource Management

Last Updated: 2022.06.30
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To protect the environment at every stage of the product life cycle--from raw materials sourcing to manufacturing, sale, and consumer use--Fast Retailing strives to solve water-related issues at local level by preventing and reducing water pollution and water usage.

Policies for Water Resource Management

Water is an essential component when making Fast Retailing apparel. Growing cotton used as raw material for apparel requires significant amounts of water. Fabric dyeing and other parts of the production process also require large volumes of water. We aim to protect the environment at every stage of the product life cycle; from raw materials sourcing to manufacturing, sale, and consumer use, Fast Retailing strives to identify and solve local water-related issues. Our Water Action Plan with specific targets and measures supports the health of the local water environment by preventing and reducing water pollution and water usage. Many environmental problems cannot be solved by a single company working alone. This is why Fast Retailing partners with companies, organizations, and NPOs to protect precious water resources.

Risk Assessment

Water Risk Assessment

We regularly conduct risk assessments throughout the value chain using the Aqueduct water risk assessment tool developed by the World Resources Institute. In fiscal 2021, we assessed our core stores and offices, as well as garment factories and fabric mills, and identified facilities located in high-risk areas. For stores and offices in high risk areas, we conducted a follow-up survey on past damages caused by floods etc. and existing countermeasures and confirmed that such risks have been reduced as a part of a company-wide risk management. Since the impact on the supply chain is significant, we conducted a survey on the actual water conditions and fluctuations in water prices for the factories that were risk-assessed by Aqueduct, and identified factories that have water risks. Currently, we are formulating our support schemes to address such risks in collaboration with local stakeholders such as NGOs and governments. We will further deepen our understanding of the production areas of raw materials and water risks in the region.

Targets

Fast Retailing carries out its Water Action Plan to bring the local water environment into a healthy state, preventing and reducing water pollution and excess water usage.

Fast Retailing

・Water risk assessment and environmental management at stores and offices
We carry out water risk assessments for stores and offices on a regular basis, implementing measures to reduce water-related risks such as flood risk. We also undertake initiatives to identify and resolve local water-related risks and issues.

Supply Chain

・Reduce water use
Focusing on areas with high water supply risk and factories that use a lot of water, we evaluate water use at our partner factories, working with them to reduce water consumption. We have set a reduction target of 10% per unit of water used at each factory from the 2020 levels by the end of 2025 at our partner factories that account for 80% of total water consumption.

・Introduce water-saving technologies
We intend to introduce water-saving technologies, named BlueCycle, in collaboration with our production partners. As one example, we have developed a new washing process for jeans that reduces water usage in the jeans manufacturing process, with a goal to introduce such technology to all brands of the Group by 2020. This technology reduces water consumption by a significant amount, incorporating advanced washing equipment that uses nanobubbles and ozone. Fast Retailing is continuously promoting these initiatives across all brands to reduce our impact on the environment.

・Implement water treatment
Fast Retailing requires its core garment factories and fabric mills to conduct wastewater testing based on the ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) wastewater guidelines and to disclose results via the IPE (Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs) website, an environmental NGO in China. If hazardous chemicals are detected in wastewater, we investigate factories and chemical manufacturers, identifying root causes and implementing improvements. We have set a target to achieve zero wastewater pollution in our partner factories by the end of 2030.

・Reduce water usage related to raw materials
When planning products, we encourage the use of materials that can be produced with less water, reducing water consumption. Specifically, our goal is to achieve 100 % procurement of sustainable cotton among all Fast Retailing Group brands by the end of 2025. The definition of sustainable cotton includes cotton procured from areas where improvements have been made regarding water usage*. We also aim to increase proportion of recycled materials to approximately 50% by fiscal 2030.

* For us, sustainable cotton means Better Cotton*1; cotton sourced from the United States or Australia, recycled cotton*2; organic cotton*3; Fair Trade cotton; and Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) by definition.
*1 See Better Cotton Initiative, below.
*2 Cotton certified by GRS (Global Recycled Standard)
*3 Cotton certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or OCS (Organic Content Standard)

Customers

・Reduce water consumption by consumers using products
We are researching ways to reduce the amount of water used for washing clothes. We intend to inform our customers about low-water cleaning methods that use less water and energy, which reduces the impact on the environment.

Fast Retailing Initiatives

Water risk assessment and environmental management at stores and offices

We carry out water risk assessments for stores and offices on a regular basis, implementing measures to reduce water-related risks such as flood risk. We also undertake initiatives to identify and resolve local water-related risks and issues. For example, for facilities that are identified to have a high risk of flooding, we have formulated and are implementing measures to prevent and reduce that risk by using hazard maps and water-stopping plates and sandbags. In addition, we are promoting efforts to reduce environmental impact, including water saving, by acquiring LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, an international environmental performance evaluation system for building and site use.

Supply Chain Initiatives

Production Partners

・Reduce water consumption
In order to reduce environmental impact in the supply chain, we strive to identify and reduce environmental impact of our core garment factories and fabric mills using the unified indicators of the apparel industry, such as The Higg Index. For example, in the UNIQLO Responsible Mill Program, which we conducted between 2016 and 2020, we aimed for a reduction in water usage by 15% of the 2016 levels by the end of 2020 and achieved this goal by the end of 2020. We are working with our partner factories that account for 80% of total water consumption to achieve our goal to reduce each factory's water usage per unit by 10% from the 2020 levels by the end of 2025.

Related Links

・Reduce water consumption in the jeans washing process by up to 99%
We have developed the technology, named BlueCycle, that reduces water consumption in the jeans washing process by up to 99%*, incorporating advanced washing equipment that uses nanobubbles and ozone. Fast Retailing is promoting these initiatives across all brands to reduce our impact on the environment.
*For the 2018 model UNIQLO Men's Regular Fit Jeans, compared to the same products from 2017.

Related Links

・Implement water treatment
Please see the details in the related links below.

Related Links

Reduce water usage related to raw materials

・Reduce water consumption by using sustainable cotton
We have set a goal to procure all cotton from sustainable sources by the end of 2025. With respect to cotton, we define sustainability as the reduction of use of water, agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilizer; the protection of soil fertility and biodiversity; and the consideration for farm workers' working environment. For us, sustainable cotton means Better Cotton*1; cotton sourced from the United States or Australia, recycled cotton*2; organic cotton*3; Fair Trade cotton; and Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) by definition.

*1 See Better Cotton Initiative, below.
*2 Cotton certified by GRS (Global Recycled Standard)
*3 Cotton certified by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or OCS (Organic Content Standard)

・Better Cotton Initiative
Fast Retailing became an affiliate member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in January 2018. BCI is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the sustainable production of cotton. BCI promotes better cotton cultivation, educating farmers on the proper use of water, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, and more. Farmers meeting standards set by BCI are certified as Better Cotton producers.

Related links

Water Consumption

Fast Retailing

ItemsUnits 2018
(September 2017 to August 2018)
2019
(September 2018 to August 2019)
2020
(September 2019 to August 2020)
2021
(September 2020 to August 2021)
Headquarters Water Consumption m3 54,752 53,633 55,637 51,806
Scope of data collection Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Office, and Ariake Office Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Office, and Ariake Office Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Office, and Ariake Office Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Office, and Ariake Office

Supply Chain

Items Units 2020
(January to December 2020)
Garment Factories Water Consumption m3 10,859,566
Fabric Mills Water Consumption 30,063,449
Scope Garment factories: UNIQLO and GU Fabric mills: UNIQLO

*The figures include estimation data.


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