The United Nations has done its role in ensuring that policies and procedures have been put in place for companies and organizations towards a sustainable future. These policies play a big role in the planet’s sustainability that impact companies such as Uniqlo. Sustainable development goals for the century must be utilized to enjoy the benefits that result from it. This report seeks to present the corporate social responsibility activities and activities within Uniqlo that have been structured aimed at UN sustainable development goals. Furthermore, integration of the theory of corporate social responsibility and the ESG theory is used to discuss the impact of these activities on the financial performance of Uniqlo.
Uniqlo is an international clothing brand that prides itself in providing both men’s and women’s casual clothing. It is based in many locations around the globe, with over 2000 locations opened globally. Being a manufacturer of clothing means that it is in the center stage in ensuring that it plays its role by the UN sustainable development goals. One of the major goals that Uniqlo has taken significant steps in ensuring that it is in line with policies that have been created is the climate action development goal. The company aims to ensure that it can create high-quality and long-lasting clothes with an ageless appeal through its fast-retailing model. Climate change is a big problem that needs to be addressed. One way that Uniqlo is playing its role in addressing this issue is through reuse, recycling, and repair programmers in the company. One of the ways that Uniqlo has been able to work towards these sustainable development goals is through its Reprogram (Jeong,2018). This aims to ensure that there is little to no wastage of any products that the company has manufactured. Clothes that still have value after being worn by their initial customers are repurposed and sold to new customers, preventing wastage. Furthermore, part of old clothes is used to manufacture new ones, reducing wastage. The company also takes pride in the reduction part of its programs. Uniqlo ensures that it uses led lighting and solar panels in all of its stalls to ensure a reduction in the use of electricity. In Japan, 93.8% of all Uniqlo stores are using its led lighting powered by solar energy, which is a step towards combating nonrenewable energy as a light and heat source. This sustainability led to a 38.7% reduction of greenhouse gasses in the financial year 2020 compared to 2013 (Anna, 2020). This shows the impact of the activities of Uniqlo on climate change.
Another sustainable development goal that Uniqlo has been keen on is ensuring its development is responsible for production and consumption. This goal is aimed at manufacturers to trace the sustainability of the raw materials they use in their products. For instance, whether these raw materials have been picked by children or pay its employees enough money for a sustainable model. The use of responsible suppliers means that Uniqlo will only source its raw materials for its clothes from suppliers that are using sustainable means that are favorable to the climate. The company has joined the better cotton initiative to teach cotton farmers how to grow cotton more sustainably. Education of cotton growing against agrichemicals that hurt the soil and cause soil pollution is an important step towards climate change (ONAN, 2020). Furthermore, a better cotton initiative ensures that the company can better trace the cotton. This is critical in addressing issues where children have been used as underage workers to pick cotton rather than school and learning. Tracing the raw materials, which is cotton, is a critical aspect of ensuring that there is a sustainable model that is in line with that of the United Nations.
According to the environmental social and governance theory, investors use various metrics to find a valuable stock not only for the current period but also for the future. These are the social factors, especially in how a company treats its employees, environmental factors such as climate change-based activities, and governance factors such as ethics board structure and independence. From this, there is evidence indicating that the increase in share price for Uniqlo that trades as fast retailing could be linked with some of the company’s activities (Alsayegh, 2020). Some of the social activities that could have been a part of the program are ensuring that employees get a day off and ensuring that they only work 36 hours of overtime. This is important in ensuring that employees are not tired of a more sustainable work rate and workforce for the future. Furthermore, with its reprogramming in the environmental factors, it has been an attractive stock price aimed at combating climate change for the future. All of these activities had been set up before 2018 and have played a big role in the share price rise. Trading in Tokyo opened at 44,510 yen per share at the start of 2018, and a high of 68,000 yen at the start of 2020 is the indication needed (Alsayegh, Abdul Rahman & Homayoun, 2020). The price fell shortly after that and regained its strength to an all-time high due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In conclusion, Uniqlo is playing its role in ensuring that it aligns with the sustainable development goals for the millennium set by the United Nations. Two major key areas are through the goals of climate change and sustainable production and consumption. Climate change is being combated through reuse, reduce and recycling programs such as the Re Uniqlo program and more sustainable renewable energy sources. On the other hand, sustainable production and raw materials have played a critical role in ensuring the product can be traced. Lastly, it is evident through the environmental, social, and governance theory that these activities would have contributed to the company’s increase in the share price from 2018 to 2020 before the pandemic began. This, therefore, shows the importance of these activities undertaken by the company.
Alsayegh, M. F., Abdul Rahman, R., & Homayoun, S. (2020). Corporate economic, environmental, and social sustainability performance transformation through ESG disclosure. Sustainability, 12(9), 3910.
Anna, S. (2020). Integration of UN sustainable development goals into value chain of Uniqlo Company.
Jeong, So-Jeong, and YoungJu Rhee. “A study on corporate social responsibility activities of fashion companies.” Journal of the Korea Fashion and Costume Design Association 20, no. 1 (2018): 17-28.
ONAN, K. R. (2020). The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness towards Customers Intention of Purchasing Uniqlo (Doctoral dissertation, Universitas Gadjah Mada).
Schumann, A., Wied, L., & Krahl, M. (2021). Sustainability and digitalization in the global textile value chain. In Sustainable Textile and Fashion Value Chains (pp. 437-453). Springer, Cham.