Energy and Climate Change
Environment Policy and Reporting
When it comes to the environment, Uniqlo has received a score of ‘It’s a Start’, as it has taken some steps in the right direction. For example, it has a repair and reuse program in place and uses a few eco-friendly materials. It also has a policy approved by CanopyStyle to manage forestry in its supply chain, and reduces water use in some spots along the way.
While the brand has set a climate change target to reduce emissions in its supply chain, it sadly does not report the progress. On top of this, the target has not yet been accepted as science-based, which means we are unable to determine whether it is line with what the latest climate science says is necessary. That is, to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement by pursuing efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C. It is also not as transparent about its environmental impact as it could be: while Uniqlo has set some reasonably strong policies, it doesn’t disclose how it is implementing and meeting these policies—we hope there aren’t any other skeletons hiding in Uniqlo’s extensive closet! Source
Community Development and Philanthropy
Human Rights and Supply Chain Management
Compensation and Benefits
Diversity and Labor Rights
Training, Health and Safety
According to War On Want and SACOM, investigations of two Chinese Uniqlo factories in 2016 led to catastrophic discoveries of human rights abuses, from excessive and unpaid overtime to chemically hazardous workplace environments. The undercover investigators found that during the peak season, workers had to soak their swollen feet in hot water to relieve pain and fatigue, and were forced to work overtime because their wages fell well below the minimum wage for the region.
Despite Fast Retailing’s claim that it takes the “utmost care to protect the health and safety” of workers, SACOM found that they were subject to “working conditions which included extremely high temperatures, unsafe facilities, no protective gear, poor ventilation with high cotton dust levels in the air, the use of toxic chemicals and high risk of electricity leakages,” making it clear that Uniqlo was far from the ethical brand it tries to portray to the public.
The rising concerns over Uniqlo’s human rights abuse has even led customs officials in the United States to refuse entry to some of the imported shipments of the brand’s latest clothing line. In January 2021, the Port of Los Angeles blocked a shipment of cotton garments from Uniqlo, citing an order that prohibits the import of cotton and cotton items produced by the Xinjiang area of China, due to the widespread use of forced labor in the region. According to the customs agency, “Uniqlo has not provided substantial evidence to establish that the entities within the XPCC that processed that cotton into the subject goods did so without the use of forced labor”, adding that documentation provided by Uniqlo afterwards contained “numerous deficiencies, like illegible purchase contracts, an outdated code of conduct letter and unsigned, undated, and generally illegible China customs declarations.” Source
In 2019, Tadashi Yanai was ranked number no. 54 on the list of the best-performing CEOs in the world by Harvard Business Review. Since 2000, he has provided a 700 percent shareholder return, and the market capitalization of Uniqlo has increased USD 39 billion. He is credited widely for the huge success and explosive growth of Uniqlo in the past 36 years due to his creation of a strong company culture which focused on teamwork and customer experience.
Uniqlo’s focus on teamwork is demonstrated through its flat organizational structure with employees greatly encouraged to provide suggestions. The values and goals of the company are translated directly into processes and measures exhibited strongly by employees all over the world. Company financials are completely transparent to employees and sales and charted and posted daily. The brand also places a huge emphasis on its retail store experience and micromanages every customer touch point. Source
Sustainability News Feed
Jul 29, 2020 — Its goal is to offer women everywhere a clean product that is just as beautiful as it is sustainable. It is proudly female-founded and is …
Sep 11, 2020 — Sustainable Raw Materials: 2/14. Materials are an essential part of a company’s sustainability. Uniqlo already has a great policy when it comes to …
Apr 1, 2021 — According to the Impakter Index team report, Uniqlo also presents itself as fully committed to sustainability through the publishing of annual …