Japan's fast fashion whale Uniqlo cooperates with Grameen – sustainable commitment or PR stint?

This article was originally published on Pamela Ravasio's personal blog (https://shirahime.ch)

Japan’s equivalent of H&M, Unqilo, creates a joint venture with Grameen bank in Bangladesh. Are there lessons to be learned?

Uniqlo, and its mother company Fast Retailing Inc. have stroken up a joint venture with the Bangladeshi Grameen Bank. This raises immediately a number of questions as to why the company would choose this route to invest in the Bangladeshi market, and notably also, if their commitment to the Grameen concepts is real or just a PR stint.

Who is Uniqlo? Uniqlo is Japan’s leading clothing retail chain in terms of both sales and profits, and THE raising star among global low-cost retail chains. They operate over 800 stores in Japan, 47 in China (since 2007), and a total of another 60 in Hong Kong, South Korea, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Singapore, and Russia.

Uniqlo is firmly set on a expansion strategy into rising Asian markets such as China, and Malaysia, in addition to developed markets such as Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

In this series of posts, I’ll be having a closer look at what Uniqlo’s performance in all issues CSR is, and pursue to find a question to why they would join up forces with Grameen.

I will dwell on mainly five questions:
1) What is Uniqlo’s track record in relation to sustainability, ethical and CSR issues?
Here I will explain in detail Uniqlo’s three main CSR strands: the hiring system, integration of handicapped workers, and their clothing recycling campaign.
2) Uniqlo’s market and its products: Insights and doubts
3) How is Uniqlo’s joint venture with Grameen outlines?
4) What is the underlying aim to join up forces with Grameen ?

In my opinion, the Uniqlo-Grameen is in effect a clever strategic move by the Japanese retailer, and firmly points towards which markets they plan to get into over the next decade.

However, before I go into more details – what do you think? What could Uniqlo’s motives be? What other questions, beyond the 5 aspects I’m planing to cover, would you like to see asked and investigated?

This article was originally published on Pamela Ravasio's personal blog (https://shirahime.ch).
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you join me on Twitter
@PamelaRavasio and subscribe to my RSS feed!

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