Uniqlo is serious about reducing its environmental footprint.
Fast Retailing Group, the retailer’s parent, has committed to eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic in its supply chain and set a target to reduce by 85 percent, or around 7,800 tons annually, the single-use plastic passed to customers in shopping bags and product packaging across its global group of stores by the end of this year.
Today, Uniqlo is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its partnership with Charity: Water, which works to supply clean and drinkable water to developing countries.
One year ago, Uniqlo introduced a 10 cent or 10 euro cent charge to customers in the U.S. and in Europe for bags made from recycled paper, with proceeds being donated to charity. In Europe alone, Uniqlo has saved more than 250 tons of paper over the course of the last year as a result of this program, the company said. It did not specify how much money it raised and donated.
The partnership is funding four different clean water solutions: rainwater harvesting tankas in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India; bio-sand filters in homes and schools in Cambodia; large-scale, solar-powered piped systems in Madagascar and drilled wells with hand pumps in the Dowa District in the central region of Malawi.
According to Scott Harrison, founder and chief executive officer of Charity: Water, “The impact of this partnership is tangible, and we’re proud to share that, as always with donations to Charity: Water, 100 percent of the funds from Uniqlo went directly to the field to fund clean water for more than 10,000 people in Cambodia, India, Malawi and Madagascar. Importantly, these water projects will be fully sustainable over time through our partnerships with local organizations that provide and maintain long-lasting water and sanitation services.”
He said that providing clean water has become “all the more urgent amid COVID-19, with handwashing as the first line of defense. We look forward to continuing our work with Uniqlo to bring clean water to even more vulnerable communities around the world.”
Yukihiro Nitta, group senior vice president, sustainability for Fast Retailing, added: “As part of our global efforts to contribute to a better world, we are proud to confirm that our partnership with Charity: Water is making a positive difference to so many people by giving them access to clean and drinkable water. This is thanks to our customers who have accepted our new approach of charging for the paper shopping bag which is made of recyclable paper.”
According to Charity: Water, one in 10 people still lack access to clean water around the world.