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Stakeholder Engagement

Last Updated: 2020.06.12
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We deepen our understanding of global social issues and work to improve our business practices through dialogue with international NPOs, NGOs, and other stakeholders. We are committed to helping solve apparel industry issues that cannot be addressed by any one single company. To this end, we form partnerships and engage in activities with a variety of industry groups.

Collaboration with External Organizations

Fast Retailing works with a number of organizations and programs, the most important of which we have listed below.

NameDate JoinedMissionMain Activities

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh ("Accord")

August 2013

The Accord is a legally binding agreement established through the collaboration of multiple brands and labor unions to ensure the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh. This agreement is designed to create safe workplaces, defining fire protection and safety measures to prevent factory workers from being trapped in fires or building collapses.

Provide support for stronger garment factory management, including fire prevention, electrical safety, building safety inspections, and the establishment of factory health and safety committees. The Accord provides hotlines for factory workers to report safety problems and training related to fire and building safety.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)

September 2014

A group of major companies in the apparel, footwear, and textile industries working together to address global environment and social issues.

Develop and disseminate standard industry tools (HIGG index) to measure the environmental and social impact of supply chain activities.

Fair Labor Association (FLA)

July 2015

Protect the rights of workers through corporate, citizen group, and university collaboration, bringing labor environments into conformity with international standards.

Provide support to member brands and factories in adopting FLA labor environment standards throughout the entire supply chain. Evaluate the monitoring activities of member brands and factories related to labor conditions; provide guidance for improvement. Encourage cooperation among stakeholders, including member brands, factories, and citizen groups to tackle issues related to labor conditions.

Better Work

December 2015

A joint program between International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group serves as a center for collaboration among governments, global brands, factory managers, labor unions, factory workers, and other corporations, groups and individuals. The program strengthens the stability and competitiveness across the supply chain for the apparel and footwear industries, while ensuring the rights of factory workers and improving labor conditions.

Conduct special-purpose audits, provide training and guidance for improvement among member factories. Encourage stronger policies and systems for labor condition management. Leverage the expertise gained from local activities in each country to provide support for policies and planning in each country.

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women(UN Women)

May 2019

UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on women's rights worldwide.

Based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

August 2019

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency for the world of work.

Devoted to advancing social justice, it promotes a Decent Work Agenda based on four strategic pillars: rights at work, decent employment opportunities, social protection and social dialogue.

The Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (ASSC)

October 2019

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Japan, which promotes business-related human rights and working environment issues including "modern slavery," forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking in supply chains, and facilitates partnerships with businesses, labor unions, civil societies/NGOs and overseas initiatives.

While ASSC supports corporate sustainability practices such as human rights due diligence or CSR/sustainable procurement, it also creates the multi-stakeholder platform to act collectively on tackling specific social/environmental issues including the responsible recruitment of foreign workers (in Japan), or responsible sourcing on raw materials.

Stakeholder Engagement Process

Fast Retailing stakeholders include company employees, workers and their representatives at our partner factories, community members around our stores and supply chains, and organizations everywhere that work to protect human and worker rights and the environment.

We regularly consult key stakeholders proactively to understand emerging issues and to devise informed solutions that address risk or mitigate impact on vulnerable peoples.
For example, with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), we are mapping and screening local NGOs that can support foreign migrant workers while employed at our partner factories or to facilitate a return to their home countries in cases where a concern is raised via our anonymous hotline that requires specialist expertise.

We place great value on the independent insight and input of stakeholders to improve our strategies and programs. The frequency of our dialogue with each stakeholder depends on the nature of the issue we are addressing together.

Also, Fast Retailing ensures that stakeholders can access information on how the company addresses its human rights impacts, through its website and via those of independent organizations, such as the FLA. Stakeholders can also obtain information through our customer centers by phone, email or other communication tools.

Case Studies of Stakeholder Engagement

  • In October 2017, Fast Retailing participated in "ILO-Sweden Regional Meeting on Promoting Decent Work in Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia", a consultation meeting with ILO Constituents (governments, employers and workers) from leading garment producing countries and key stakeholders from the sector, convened by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok.

    Related Links

    • Open new window.ILO-Sweden Regional Meeting on Promoting Decent Work in Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia
    • From November 2017 to June 2018, Fast Retailing conducted country sustainability risk assessments on China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Myanmar - countries in which our partner factories are located. We received feedback from important stakeholders including local NGOs, FLA, Better Work, Better Factories Cambodia and other brands and reflected their comments in the assessment. We also included the key challenges discussed at "ILO-Sweden Regional Meeting on Promoting Decent Work in Garment Sector Supply Chains in Asia" in the assessment.
    • In 2019 we reviewed our country risk assessment in cooperation with stakeholder groups. The process endorsed some existing key priorities at Fast Retailing: strengthening our partner factories' grievance mechanisms, our anonymous hotline, responsible recruitment to mitigate the risk of forced labor for migrant workers, living wage, working hours and women's empowerment.

    Initiatives for Building Safety in Bangladesh ("Accord")

    In August 2013, Fast Retailing joined the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. The goal of the Accord is to protect garment factory workers from building collapses and fire. We are helping establish health and safety committees at production partner factories as recommended by the Accord as part of ensuring proper working conditions.

    Under the Accord, Fast Retailing production partners in Bangladesh undergo inspections and receive ongoing training related to fire prevention, electrical safety, and building safety. Our activities under the Accord have improved workplace safety at factories in Bangladesh. Issues we identified through initial Accord assessments* at our production partners have been largely resolved. We at Fast Retailing believe further improvements are required in the Bangladesh apparel industry workplaces. Accordingly, we have extended our support of the Accord through May 2021.

    * See the official website of the Accord for more about unresolved issues and the status of health and safety committees.

    Global Partnership to Empower Female Workers(UN Women)

    Global Partnership to Champion Women's Rights and Empowerment

    In May 2019, Fast Retailing and UN Women signed a global partnership to champion women's rights and empowerment in the apparel industry. This is the first formal alliance between UN Women and a clothing company based in Asia.

    Under this partnership, Fast Retailing and UN Women will together promote safe and secure work environments, and advance empowerment for all women and girls. The scope of the partnership is to jointly implement a program for female workers in garment factories in Asia, the company's main production hub. The partnership also comprises a management training program to further diversity at the company.

    In June 2019, Fast Retailing and UN Women visited Bangladesh to better understand the challenges faced by female workers and factories. In follow up, we agreed to launch a pilot project with two of our partner factories in Bangladesh.

    Our pilot project provides basic training for workers at each participating factory. The project aims to develop worker skills and knowledge in a number of areas: communication and problem-solving, gender equality, leadership, occupational and female health, worker rights and responsibilities. Some female participants were recognized for their management potential and received advanced training on leadership and technical skills to set these workers on a path of career promotion.

    Through our pilot project with UN Women, we are gaining important insight into the challenges of female workers, supervisors and management, and lessons learning what actions and improvements can be made to address these in the future.

    In China and Vietnam, Fast Retailing and UN Women plan to develop a tailor-made project for the benefit of female workers. We will identify the priority needs of female workers through quantitative and qualitative research in selected factories, and follow this up with stakeholder engagement activities.

    Related Links

    Global Partnership For Social Protection and Improved Environments for Asian Workers (ILO)

    In September 2019, Fast Retailing and the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced a partnership to improve social security systems and worker environments in Asia. Under the partnership, the ILO will conduct a comparative analysis of the labor markets and employment security environments of the worker economies of Asia where Fast Retailing has production bases - Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam, with a view to furthering policy dialogue throughout the region.

    Asia's workers, especially garment-manufacturing workers, are at high risk of job displacement due to the rapidly-shifting employment needs of the region's evolving economies. However, existing social protection schemes and labor market policies in the area often do not fully protect workers from risks of unemployment or from risk of hardship associated with protracted unemployment.

    Commencing in September 2019, Fast Retailing will provide US$1.8 million in funding over a two-year period. The funds will be invested in ILO research on labor markets and social security systems in Asian countries, as well as promoting employment insurance in Indonesia and strengthening worker support mechanisms during periods of unemployment.

    In the first hybrid project of its kind - combining social protection and practical re-employment measures - the ILO will engage government agencies, workers' associations and employer organizations in Indonesia to secure a number of key objectives:

    • ensure a minimum income and prevent unemployed workers and their families from falling into poverty;
    • facilitate a return to employment as soon as possible through employment services; and
    • upgrade skills and capabilities for better employability in a changing labor market.

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