YKK Commits to Achieving Climate Neutrality by 2050

At last week’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, YKK announced its Sustainability Vision 2050, which will serve as a roadmap to the company achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, among other targets. The Sustainability Vision 2050 consists of five themes with corresponding sustainability goals, as well as ten SDGs.

With the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, YKK commits to a 50% reduction of Scope 1 (direct emissions) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions) emissions from a 2018 baseline year by 2030. It also commits to a 30% reduction in Scope 3 emissions (all indirect emissions not included in Scope 2 that occur in its value chain). In order to achieve these targets, YKK said it will:

  • Reduce energy consumption through improved manufacturing and auxiliary equipment efficiency, streamlined operations and processes.
  • Stop the construction of new facilities using coal by 2019 and abolish all coal use in YKK facilities by 2030.
  • Install renewable power sources at YKK owned facilities for power generation where feasible.
  • Reduce Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy wherever possible.
  • Reduce Scope 3 emissions by switching to 100% sustainable textile materials by 2030.

YKK also committed to reducing waste and the use of petroleum derived materials throughout the lifecycle of its fastening products. It further commits to contributing to the transition to a circular society by eliminating production and plastic waste and by developing products designed for circularity. In order to achieve these targets, YKK said it will:

  • Switch to 100% sustainable textile materials (recycled materials, naturally-derived materials, etc.) by 2030.
  • Replace all vinyl/plastic packaging materials with sustainable packaging, including recyclable / reusable forms by 2030.
  • Reduce the amount of waste to be landfilled or incinerated at all productions sites and increase waste recycling rate to 90% by 2030.

To combat serious water resource depletion and degradation, YKK committed to the following actions:

  • Reduce water intake through efficient usage, the development of new water saving production methods, and the increased recycling of wastewater.
  • Strictly manage wastewater at all manufacturing sites in accordance with government regulations and YKK in-house standards established based on industry standards such as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC).

To ensure “a healthy environment for future generations,” YKK said it will reduce the environmental impact caused by chemicals used in the manufacture of its products using the following measures:

  • Manage and further reduce the use of chemical substances in product manufacturing from input to output in accordance with YKK’s own standards (YKK Restricted Substance List), which was established based on industry standards such as the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL).
  • Confirm that finished products meet industry standards such as Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, ensuring they are free of harmful substances.
  • Develop new production methods that reduce and eliminate the use of toxic chemicals.
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YKK also pledged to “uphold the universal philosophy of respecting the dignity and rights of all human beings.” The company commits to being inclusive and improving work environments throughout its supply chains by:

  • Implementing the YKK Global Criteria of Compliance (YGCC) audit, a comprehensive standard based upon YKK’s “Cycle of Goodness” philosophy and the ISO26000 guidelines, at YKK Group facilities.
  • Conducting periodic evaluations by third party auditors to assure transparency and improvement of sustainable practices.

To ensure that its sustainability roadmap is aligned with needs of society, YKK mapped each of its five themes with the UN SDGs. While the company intends to tackle all 17 SDGs, the following ten were identified as the ones on which YKK could make the most impact:

Goal 5 – Gender Equality

Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy

Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities

Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 13 – Climate Action

Goal 14 – Life Below Water

Goal 15 – Life on Land

Goal 16 – Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

“YKK is constantly pursuing the creation of a sustainable society through our business,” said Hiroaki Otani, president, YKK Corporation. “At the core of all our corporate activities is the philosophy of YKK founder Tadao Yoshida, the ‘Cycle of Goodness.’ The idea that ‘no one prospers without rendering benefit to others’ clearly expresses the YKK Group’s corporate spirit of continuing to prosper together with society and related industries, and we consider it to be a concept that leads to sustainability. Under the ‘Cycle of Goodness,’ YKK will address the essence of sustainability through our businesses and products and will continue to take on challenges in order to remain a socially good company.”