Fast Retailing turns back on single use plastic with new sustainable strategy
Fast Retailing has become the latest retail giant to announce a major sustainability initiative with news that it “plans to eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic throughout its supply chain and to reduce the amount of single-use plastic handed to customers at its group stores worldwide” by the end of 2020.
The plan will affect both shopping bags and product packaging and will see the company cutting unnecessary plastic by 85%, or around 7,800 tons annually.
“Respect the Environment is one of Fast Retailing's six priorities for sustainability, and the group is proceeding to eliminate all forms of waste and establish a business with minimal impact on the environment,” it said. “Environmental pollution from plastic waste is a growing concern worldwide, and Fast Retailing is taking action. This will help minimise the environmental impact of its business, while offering products and services customers can use with confidence.”
The company added that it will switch to eco-friendly substitutes if the use of plastic is necessary.
The new carrier bag strategy will start on September 1 with stores in 12 markets worldwide, including Japan, where plastic shopping bags are currently in use, beginning the switch to eco-friendly paper bags made of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper or recycled paper.
At the same time, stores in markets where paper shopping bags are currently in use, including Uniqlo in Europe, as well as Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, and PLST, will begin switching to eco-friendly paper shopping bags.
It will also sell original eco-friendly reusable bags and charge for shopping bags in certain markets, “to promote use of reusable bags.”
And as far as the issue of product packaging is concerned, it will launch specific verification tests to eliminate plastic in product packaging and switch to substitute materials. It will eliminate the use of plastic in the packaging of certain items such as Uniqlo room shoes, from the AW19 season. And it will begin verification testing aimed at switching from plastic packaging for Uniqlo and Gu products, such as Heattech, Airism, and other innerwear to alternative materials as soon as this summer.
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