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About MUJI's Cotton and Supply Chain

2021.04.14

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Concerning the enquiries about cotton products sold at MUJI stores and MUJI online store, we have summarized MUJI's approach as follows.

First of all, in its business activities, Ryohin Keikaku ("we" or "MUJI") complies with the laws and regulations of each country and region and the philosophy of MUJI, and is taking all necessary steps to respect human rights and manage labor standards. In addition, it is our policy to cease business relationships if any material violations of laws & regulation or the material violations of our Code of Conduct are confirmed in the production process.

MUJI has been promoting manufacturing that makes the best use of the original functions of natural materials. We are working to select raw materials that have been collected and cultivated in a way that imposes as little excessive burden on the earth, plants, animals, and producers as possible. Moreover, we or external independent specialized third-party organizations use materials whose production sites can be traced as much as possible, and for the main materials in particular, we actually visit the production sites to confirm the conditions of the collection and cultivation sites, and the lives of the producers with our own eyes.

From this perspective, we choose organic cotton as the material for our cotton products. The cultivation of ordinary cotton requires a relatively large amount of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown by natural processes on a land that has not been treated with any agrochemicals and chemical fertilizers for more than three years. However, since the production process takes more time and effort than the conventional cotton cultivation methods, and it also requires a suitable climate and land, organic cotton only takes up about 1% of the world's total cotton production. Considering the impact on the environment as well as on the health of the producers, MUJI started using organic cotton since 1999. MUJI sources organic cotton from many places around the world including India, China, Turkey, and the United States. We have searched all over the world to look for good material. Our product development team members have actually visited the production areas, communicated with the farmers by experiencing seeds sowing and harvesting activities, and have been making efforts to increase the use of organic cotton on a continuous and long-term basis. All the cotton used in MUJI's clothing products has been 100% organic cotton since 2018. We are proud to say that through the expansion of organic cotton cultivation and production, we are increasing employment opportunities in the region, and are helping to improve the lives of people who work there.

What is more, MUJI has obtained a global standard certification for the cotton and cotton yarn used in its products in order to specify that they are organic. This certification is conditional on the compliance with international labor conventions established by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct (OECD Due Diligence Guidance) through annual audits by third party organizations. In addition to this, we share our policies related to working environment and the respect for human rights throughout the supply chain with all our partner factories, and conduct factory audits by external independent specialized third-party organizations in line with above mentioned international norms. As reported in some news reports, the Xinjiang region, which we have received many inquiries about, is a vast production area that accounts for 80 to 90% of all cotton produced in China. With regard to the approximately 5,000 hectares of farms and other facilities in the Xinjiang region, we grasp the information about the cotton fields and the profiles of the workers and the personnel plans of the farms, and we dispatch an external independent third-party organization to conduct on-site audits in line with the cotton cultivation schedule. This on-site audit was also conducted last year, and we have not identified any material violations of laws & regulations or our Code of Conduct. From the cotton that is the raw material of our products to the final product, MUJI is firmly managing the process as described above.

While many countries and companies are working to achieve the SDGs adopted by the United Nations in 2015, MUJI's philosophy and practices have been considered to be inclusive of the SDGs from the beginning. In addition, we would like to share with people around the world the solid feelings that can be felt through the thoughts and emotions of human beings, such as "let's help each other when in trouble," "thanks to your support," "thank you for your hard work" and "MOTTAINAI (don't be wasteful)," and we will continue our business activities that aim at achieving "a simple pleasant life and society."

Record of field visits to date

2006/July Farming observation (2 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2012/April Seeds sowing(4 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2012/August Farming observation(4 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2017/October Cotton harvest(6 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2018/April Seeds sowing(12 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2018/October Cotton harvest(15 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2019/July Field mowing(13 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
2019/September Cotton harvest(12 employees from Ryohin Keikaku)
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PR Department, PR & ESG Division
RYOHIN KEIKAKU CO., LTD.
Tokyo, JAPAN