DATA

THE PROS:

Muji has committed to the development of an eco-friendly natural dyeing plant in Cambodia, as part as its commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA). BCtA reports that Muji plans to source its products locally and increase the number of local producers, especially women from post-conflict or transitional societies.

With the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Muji plans to continue sourcing soapstone products from Kenya and wool felt products from Kyrgyzstan. BCtA reports that the brand will provide skill development seminars to local producers in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, including how to manage supply chains, keep high quality standards, and monitor sales trends in international market. The BCtA states that Muji planned to increase production by 8% in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan by 2015. We don’t have any further information on this.

Ryohin Keikaku, Muji’s parent company, is involved in the FUKU-FUKU Project, a joint corporate textile recycling initiative that began in 2010. It aims to achieve 100% recycling of clothing into bioethanol using new technology. In 2015, Ryohin Keikaku collected 7.6 tons of textiles for the initiative.

THE CONS:

We don’t have any information on how the brand monitors its supply chain.

The brand does not publicly disclose the countries in which its suppliers are located or the supplier names and addresses.

The brand does not have a publicly available supplier code of conduct.

/ There are 758 Muji stores around the world. Muji also retails online.

/ Muji stores carry more than 7,000 items.

/ Muji has 6,566 employees.

/ Net sales for the period from March 2015 to February 2016 were $2.5 billion.

/ Ryohin Keikaku is the parent company of Muji. It’s primary business is the planning, production and sale of MUJI products. The company also operates MUJI Net Store, Café MUJI, RK Trucks Co., Ltd., MUJI House Co., Ltd., IDÉE, Co., LtdMeal MUJI and campsites.

/ It is unclear if the brand can trace its entire supply chain.

/ The brand does not publicly disclose the countries in which its suppliers are located or the supplier names and addresses.

/ The brand does not report annually on sustainability practices and progress.

 

/ Muji states that it sources most of its cotton from India but it also purchases cotton from a Tanzanian company who have contracted local farmers, developing an independent fair trade partnership, and establishing a stable business relationship which is not affected by the market prices.

/ Muji has committed to the development of an eco-friendly natural dyeing plant in Cambodia, as part as its commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA). BCtA reports that Muji plans to source its products locally and increase the number of local producers, especially women from post-conflict or transitional societies. Muji reports that it has been promoting eco-friendly dyeing, utilizing various natural materials since 2012 and formed its commitment around two projects including the development of a 2,150-square foot eco-friendly dyeing and sewing towel plant in Cambodia, to employ over 300 local people by 2015. We don’t have any further information on this.

/ With the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Muji plans to continue sourcing soapstone products from Kenya and wool felt products from Kyrgyzstan. BCtA reports that the brand will provide skill development seminars to local producers in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, including how to manage supply chains, keep high quality standards, and monitor sales trends in international market. The BCtA states that Muji plans to increase production by 8% in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan by 2015. We don’t have any further information on this.

/ We don’t have any information on how the brand addresses child labour, how the brand addresses forced and compulsory labour, how the brand addresses freedom of association, how the brand addresses collective bargaining rights, how the brand addresses discrimination, how the brand addresses regular excessive overtime, how the brand addresses freedom of movement for workers at supplier facilities, whether or not supplier recruitment fees are prohibited, how the brand addresses unsafe work conditions, what levels of the supply chain the code of conduct applies to, and if the code of conduct is included in supplier contracts.

/ We don’t have any information on how the brand monitors its supply chain, how the brand addresses audit fatigue, what levels and how much of its supply chain it monitors, how often it monitors its supply chain, audit reports and corrective action plans, and whether or not the brand has policies in place that assist those suppliers that perform poorly on audits to improve their operations.

/ Muji reports that its products use materials that conserve resources, like surplus thread, fabric, and other reusable materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

/ In its OCHIWATA product series, Muji incorporates drop cotton fiber (ochiwata) – a byproduct of the cotton combing process – into the fabric of these cotton products.

/ Ryohin Keikaku, Muji’s parent company, stockpiles manufacturing byproducts like wood and fabric off cuts, as well as reject goods that have been damaged or stained in the distribution process, and partners up with a variety of organizations and designers to create recycled products as part of the brand’s POOL recycling initiative. Muji produced a line of stool covers for the inaugural run of POOL products in October 2014, with a patchwork design composed of material off cuts from fabric manufacturing.

/ Muji states that it strives to increase the amount of organic cotton used in its products. Cotton products labeled as Organic Cotton use 100% organic cotton. Muji reports that it is continuing efforts towards securing sustainable, long-term sources of organic cotton, and is also searching for new ways of incorporating it into the brand’s products.

/ We don’t have any information on if the brand uses renewable energy at any stage of its supply chain, if the brand has measured its greenhouse gas emissions of its supply chain, what the brand is doing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in its supply chain, if the brand has measured its water use at any stage of the supply chain, what the brand is doing to reduce its water use in its supply chain, and policies in place to reduce pollution and resources used for transport.

/ Muji states that it strives to increase the amount of organic cotton used in its products. Cotton products labeled as “Organic Cotton” use 100% organic cotton. Muji reports that it is continuing efforts towards securing sustainable, long-term sources of organic cotton, and also search for new ways of incorporating it into the brand’s products.

/ In September 2013, Ryohin Keikaku, the parent company of Muji, joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Ryohin Keikaku states that it will act as a responsible global corporate citizen in accordance with the ten universally accepted principles that the UN requires from participants to realize its global framework for sustainable growth.

Muji has committed to the development of an eco-friendly natural dyeing plant in Cambodia, as part as its commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA). BCtA reports that Muji plans to source its products locally and increase the number of local producers, especially women from post-conflict or transitional societies. Muji has formed its commitment around two projects including the development of a 2,000 m2 eco-friendly dyeing and sewing towel plant in Cambodia to employ over 300 local people by 2015. We don’t have any further information on this.

/ With the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Muji plans to continue sourcing soapstone products from Kenya and wool felt products from Kyrgyzstan. BCtA reports that the brand will provide skill development seminars to local producers in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, including how to manage supply chains, keep high quality standards, and monitor sales trends in international market. The BCtA states that Muji plans to increase production by 8% in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan by 2015. We don’t have any further information on this.

 

/ Every year, Ryohin Keikaku, the parent company of Muji, donates a percentage from the sales of its Muji ladies innerwear products to the Pink Ribbon campaign.

/ Following the 2012 earthquake in Japan, Muji has supported a disaster recovery project in the Tohoku region of Japan. The project aims to create employment opportunities, contribute to local communities, and pass the embroidery technique of sashiko on to future generations as it revitalizes the area. Muji made the original sashiko designs, which the embroiderers created individually by hand, available for sale as limited edition products.

/ Ryohin Keikaku manages a total of 230 ha of forest, located in the Tsunan in Niigata Prefecture, Minami-Norikura in Gifu Prefecture and the Campagna Tsumagoi in Gunma Prefecture. More information on the initiative is available in Japanese on the brand’s website.

/ MUJI partnered with Uzu, a non-profit organisation to co-sponsor hands-on farming events where participants help plant rice, weed rice paddies and harvest rice in Kamogawa. Many people in Kamogawa farm rice and the aging population is finding it difficult to sustain the farms.

/ Ryohin Keikaku is a publicly owned company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

/ In 2013, a petition on Change.org received 68,859 supporters asking MUJI to stop selling shark fin soup and The Guardian released a video of a protest against shark fin soup outside a Tokyo Muji store. Later in the year, Ryohin Keikaku released a statement outlining its position on shark fin soup. The statement disputed claims made by the campaign and reported that MUJI would continue to sell products made from shark fins.

/ We don’t have any information on how much the CEO, Satoru Matsuzaki, made in the last financial year.

 

/ Ryohin Keikaku, Muji’s parent company, is involved in the FUKU-FUKU Project, a joint corporate textile recycling initiative that began in 2010. It aims to achieve 100% recycling of clothing into bioethanol using new technology, and Muji collected approximately 13 tons of clothing for the initiative in 2013. In 2015, Ryohin Keikaku collected 7.6 tons of textiles for the initiative.

Muji has committed to the development of an eco-friendly natural dyeing plant in Cambodia, as part as its commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA). BCtA reports that Muji plans to source its products locally and increase the number of local producers, especially women from post-conflict or transitional societies. Muji has formed its commitment around two projects including the development of a 2,000 m2 eco-friendly dyeing and sewing towel plant in Cambodia to employ over 300 local people by 2015. We don’t have any further information on this.

VOICES

DIANA BUDDS | FAST CO.DESIGN

“Many of Muji’s products look simple, it’s not for style; it’s so they endure the test of time.”

“Muji is banking on the fact that people want to buy thoughtfully designed products that just function well and it’s working so far.” – 08/17/2015


NewYorker

SILVIA KILLINGSWORTH | THE NEW YORKER

Muji, with its lack of logos, represents post-cool, normcore Japan, which is, of course, a fetishized version of Japanese culture—serene and neat and proper.” – 12/19/2015

MASAAKI KANAI | PRESIDENT, RYOHIN KEIKAKU

As quoted in: MUJI Design: Revealing the Quality and Beauty Everyday

Retail companies will normally sell anything that the consumer will buy. But, MUJI refuses to sell anything that won’t lead to better living on the part of the consumer. We’re looking for the best consumers to offer them a more fulfilled lifestyle. We call it the conscientious lifestyle. Our goal is to make products that inspire customers to live better lifestyles. Products today are subject to too much competition. These products lose their essential quality, and in turn, the consumer loses their freedom.”

Simple is good. Resources should be used as little as possible. It’s not a matter of being resigned to something, but rather of wanting to make things that ‘will suffice’ while being full of self-confidence. Since ancient times, Japanese people have specialized in holding back personally for the sake of their surroundings. This is the ‘this will suffice’ concept.”

KEI SUZUKI | DIRECTOR & GENERAL MANAGER, HOUSEHOLD DIVISION OF MUJI

As quoted in: UNDP, June 2 2013

MUJI is very honored to join the unique group of BCtA members in its commitment to  use simple, high quality and eco-friendly technologies to develop products that will support local producers in developing countries, more sustainable life for our customers, and doing good to the society.”