The layout of Uniqlo…

From initial design and manufacturing considering long-term wear, to extending the service life of clothes, to organizing targeted donations, and working with partners to explore r…

From initial design and manufacturing considering long-term wear, to extending the service life of clothes, to organizing targeted donations, and working with partners to explore recycling, Fast Retailing strives to make a piece of clothing “live forever”: after the clothes are sold, they can last for a longer period of time. Realize value in a wider range of time, reduce unnecessary waste, and contribute to a waste-free world. Source | Southern Weekend Article | Wang Mu What will human clothes look like in the future? UNIQLO has a set of answers—one that’s comfortable, stylish, and good for the planet. On December 9, because of its recycled fabric technology and innovative water-saving technology, which reduces the consumption of water resources and fossil energy in clothing production and affects tens of millions of consumers, Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing Group won the “Annual Award” at the 2022 Southern Weekend Annual Ceremony. Sustainability branding”. At the China International Import Expo held from November 5th to 10th this year, UNIQLO displayed these “future clothes” – sustainable jackets made of recycled plastic in the 1,000㎡ “LifePark Tomorrow Paradise” immersive exhibition area , eco-friendly jeans that save 95% of water. In the exhibition area, an interactive “factory” is eye-catching. By turning the turntable, visitors can witness “Plastic Transformation into Clothing” – how discarded plastic bottles are transformed into recycled polyester slices, which are then melted and stretched into yarn, and then made into fabrics, ultimately producing pieces of colorful polar fleece. coat.

Above the booth, the huge UNIQLO classic red and white logo switches to green from time to time – symbolizing the background color of sustainable development. This is a profile of the sustainable changes initiated by UNIQLO and its parent company, Fast Retailing Group. For Uniqlo, the change comes as no surprise. Over the past decades, it has grown from a retailer in the suburbs of Japan to a global apparel industry giant by virtue of its continuous innovation in product positioning and marketing models, and has achieved growth against the trend in the current global economic downturn. Fast Retailing Group’s 2022 fiscal year performance announcement shows that the company’s annual revenue is 2.3 trillion yen and net profit is 273.3 billion yen. But founder Tadashi Yanai’s ambitions don’t stop there. What he cares about is how the ancient textile and apparel industry can regain its vitality in today’s complex and ever-changing world situation. On the one hand, the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread around the world, bringing multiple impacts to economic and social development; on the other hand, the threats of global issues such as climate change, ecological damage, energy crisis, unemployment and poverty continue to intensify, which have brought great challenges to the garment industry. come many challenges. A “sustainable change” emerged. In December 2021, Fast Retailing Group formulated and released the “2030 Sustainable Development Goals and Action Plan”, which painted a grand blueprint – to create a clothing industry in the next ten years by implementing climate action, reducing waste and realizing a circular economy. New industries can not only boost corporate business growth, but also take into account the needs of global sustainable development.

As tens of millions of sustainable products made from recycled fabrics gradually enter UNIQLO stores, and as the people-centered clothing value cycle is gradually improved, this blueprint is gradually becoming a reality. It also heralds that a revolution in the clothing industry is coming.

01 Reengineering the production chain For the clothing industry, the primary challenge to achieve sustainability is how to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources and how to use more advanced green and environmentally friendly processes. The industry has proposed various initiatives, but they have often been difficult to implement. Due to high price competition, companies upstream in the supply chain have insufficient motivation to invest in improvements. Downstream companies in the supply chain generally do not encourage upstream companies to prioritize sustainability. In the view of Ma Renhe, executive director and deputy general manager of Shenzhou International Group, Fast Retailing Group is an “outlier” and always spares no effort to promote supply chain companies to pursue sustainability. Shenzhou International, headquartered in Ningbo, Zhejiang, is a leading enterprise in the field of knitted garments in China. It has cooperated with UNIQLO since 1997, providing clothing support from weaving, dyeing and finishing, printing and embroidery to cutting and sewing. The recycled fabric polar fleece jacket launched by Uniqlo for the first time in autumn and winter this year is produced by Shenzhou International.

In Shenzhou’s fully automatic workshop, recycled polyester fiber fabric is undergoing a key process of transforming into polar fleece – polar fleece. The fabric passes through holes as small as an arm and shakes over and over again as the machine vibrates, forming spherical particles on the surface, making it fluffy and soft. When it comes to recycled fabrics, such a touch is hard-won. Before formal production, several experiments have been conducted in Shenzhou International’s fabric laboratory. Because the recycled yarn raw material is not directly refined from petroleum, but is made from recycled plastic bottles that are crushed, cleaned, melted, and remade, the fibers are not as soft as new materials. Uniqlo and Shenzhou can only develop technology from scratch and conduct repeated experiments until they achieve the same softness and skin-friendly feel as virgin materials by increasing the weight. In fact, driven by Uniqlo, recycled fabrics are increasingly being used in more products. According to Fast RetailingBy organizing targeted donations and working with partners to explore recycling, Fast Retailing strives to make a piece of clothing “live forever”: after the clothes are sold, they can realize value over a longer period of time and in a wider range, reducing unnecessary waste and helping the homeless. Abandoned world.

03 Clothing Changes the World In August 2019, the CEOs of 181 American companies jointly signed the “Company Purpose Statement”, proposing that the company’s primary task is to create a better society, not just to make profits for shareholders. With the recurrence of COVID-19 epidemics, the outbreak of local wars, and the frequent occurrence of extreme weather, more and more people have realized that sustainable development has reached a critical turning point. The “2022 CEO Survey Report” of the Sustainable IBM Institute for Business Value shows that 51% of entrepreneurs surveyed around the world regard sustainability as the biggest challenge in the next two to three years. In view of the traditional “production-distribution-use-discard” linear production and consumption model of the apparel industry, with the increasing awareness of its negative environmental and social impacts, many brands and retailers have begun to proactively respond to the specific environment in their own supply chains. or social challenges, many consumers are also beginning to seek more environmentally friendly lifestyles. However, unlike the “treating the symptoms” of certain links, Fast Retailing Group is trying to “treat the root cause.” Establish a set of systematic solutions to reconstruct the circular industrial model, with consumers as the core and the production and circulation of clothing as the medium, connecting green sustainable production and the value cycle of clothing utilization. Large-scale production provides affordable and sustainable products for everyone, protects workers’ rights with cleaner and more environmentally friendly clothing standards, and donates clothing to support communities and contribute to society. At the same time, we also strive to disseminate information and drive more members of the public to understand and participate in sustainable causes. At the CIIE for many consecutive years, Fast Retailing Group has set up sustainable exhibition areas or exhibits to convey green concepts in interesting forms such as interactive factories. In September this year, we also donated money to the China Environmental Protection Foundation to launch the “Marine Environmental Protection Public Welfare Project” to organize the public to carry out beach clean-up operations and experience how improperly recycled plastics pollute the ocean. In this process, ordinary consumers, factory partners, and young people have all participated in green practices and become a community with a shared future for sustainable causes. They have changed their understanding of the high consumption, pollution and waste of the clothing industry, and have personally experienced UNIQLO’s “clothing industry”. the power of”. Mr. Koji Yanai, director and senior executive director of Fast Retailing Group, said: “Providing customers with comfortable and durable quality clothing is our long-term business goal. In addition to environmental issues, the world today is also facing other increasingly serious global issues. We will continue to evolve our concepts, show the world new ways of making clothes, and contribute to the sustainable development of society. With the support and help of our customers and partners, Fast Retailing Group will create LifeWear’s new industry, and is committed to More consumers will provide LifeWear quality products to enrich society and people’s lives around the world.” According to Lu Jianzhong, director of the board of directors of the Global Reporting Initiative and an expert at the Southern Weekend CSR Research Center think tank, this is exactly what entrepreneurs are leading in sustainability. The correct way to open business – look at the problem from the perspective of the socio-economic environment and the creation of shared value, look at the problem from the perspective of multiple stakeholders, and combine important indicators of corporate operation and development with the standards of low-carbon, high-quality and sustainable development . As a giant in the global apparel industry, Fast Retailing Group handed over its own answer sheet when faced with the problem of sustainability in the apparel industry: rebuilding the production chain, establishing a value cycle system for sold apparel, and sharing sustainable production technologies with peers to transform The enterprise’s own industrial development and sustainable undertakings are organically integrated. Through clothing production, consumption, recycling and circulation, we create value for more people. For Yanai Masaru, this is exactly what he wants to achieve throughout his life – to change clothes, change common sense, and change the world.

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Author: clsrich