The Power of Clothing, Vol. 22
Sep 03, 2020 LifeWear
By designing, making and selling good clothing, we can make the world a better place.
Explore some of the initiatives we have taken in the name of our sustainability mission statement; "Unlocking the Power of Clothing".
DRY-EX: Polo shirts made from recycled polyester
One of UNIQLO’s key sustainability initiatives focuses on reducing CO2 emissions generated by the use of energy in our production processes. Having considered what we could do to improve this performance in our clothing, we worked together with Toray Industries to develop polyester fibre made from recycled plastic bottles.
The production of polyester chips from recovered PET bottles generates approximately one-third of the CO2 emissions of that from production from crude oil. It used to be difficult to remove foreign substances from the recovered PET bottles, but the new filtering technology now enables us to produce high quality special fibre.
Our DRY-EX polo shirts made with recycled polyester boast the same moisture-wicking, quick-drying properties of the fabric. They offer a level of comfort that enables even the top tennis players on the world stage to achieve their optimum performance.
"It’s amazing that you can turn plastic bottles into recycled polyester and create completely new clothing. I was also impressed by how functional and comfortable it is. I’m looking forward to participating in more UNIQLO sustainable activities.”
- Roger Federer, Professional tennis player
"I think this is a revolutionary means of recycling. Collecting ordinary plastic bottles and turning them into sportswear using new technology is a very positive first step towards helping alleviate today’s increasingly severe environmental issues.”
- Kei Nishikori, Professional tennis player
UNIQLO intends to develop even more environmentally friendly products.
Jeans made with up to 99% less water
We used to use huge volumes of water in our jeans finishing process. Now we have water-conserving, sustainable jeans.
Water is used in various processes for making jeans. Amid growing concerns over global water resource use and depletion, we have sought to improve water efficiency in our factories and reduce water used in the jeans washing and finishing processes by up to 99%, or approximately one teacup*. We intend to introduce this new processing for all UNIQLO jeans by the end of 2020 and further develop sustainable materials.
*Data from the production of 2018 men’s regular jeans, colour number 68.
Learn more about steps we're taking to make our jeans production process more sustainable here.
Rayon: now more sustainable
The spread of silkworm disease in 19th century France decreased silk production, prompting the development of artificial silk and the discovery of methods for producing fibers for this material from wood and plant cellulose. The fabric created from efforts to imitate silk artificially was shiny and smooth. The name “rayon” is a combination of the words “ray” (as in ray of light) and “cotton.”
Forests and plants are vital parts of our natural environment that we seek to protect when sourcing rayon.
Concerns relating to cellulose fibres include the potential impact from material procurement on threatened forests and other habitats of endangered species, participation in illegal logging or infringement of the rights of indigenous peoples.
To address these risks, Fast Retailing has compiled a list of recommended cellulose fibre producers based on independent evaluations by non-profit forest conservation organizations such as Canopy, and it asks its suppliers to procure fibre from recommended producers.
For more information about our approach to rayon procurement, please read more here.
Initiatives to Help Combat COVID-19
In all our COVID-19 initiatives, we prioritize the need to protect the health and daily lives of customers, employees, business partners, and local communities. We also take a close look at many different social needs with the aim of ensuring that we fulfill our responsibility as a global citizen.
We have already distributed ten million medical masks to people in difficulty and crisis worldwide, regardless of whether or not we have store operations in their area, and we intend to continue providing as much support as we can.
Additionally, we make donations through our global brand ambassadors, who have entered a partnership with UNIQLO, and with sports organizations and other relevant groups such as the Swedish Olympic and Paralympic Committees.
While listening carefully to appeals from countries and regions as well as UN and non-profit organizations, we will keep doing everything we can, including making donations of AIRism and HEATTECH innerwear and other clothing to those in quarantine.
Learn more about our continued response to COVID-19 here