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YKK to drive environmental change with science-based targets

By Sponsor

6 Sept 2021


YKK Corporation’s emissions reduction targets have been approved by the independent Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as being consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

The certification is just one more way that YKK is demonstrating its long-term commitment to protecting the environment and part of its goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. YKK is also the only zipper manufacturer to have its emissions reduction targets approved by SBTi, a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“YKK aims to be a company that grows sustainably with society,” said Hiroaki Otani, President, YKK Corporation. “That is why we have set ‘Better products at a lower cost and greater speed, more sustainably’ as our motto for the next four years. At the core of all our business activities is the ‘Cycle of Goodness’ corporate philosophy, which expresses YKK’s spirit of prospering together with all stakeholders. I believe this concept includes sustainability. YKK’s most precious stakeholders are nature and the environment.”

YKK released its Environmental Charter in 1994 that proclaimed “harmony with the environment” as being the highest priority of its business activities. That same year, YKK launched the NATULON® zipper, its first to be made with recycled material.

Since then, YKK has continued to lead both through its commitments to sustainable action and developing more environmentally friendly products. In March 2020, YKK signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which sets the goal for the fashion industry of 30 percent aggregate reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

YKK confirmed that commitment in October 2020, with the release of its Sustainability Vision 2050, the company’s roadmap for addressing climate change, material resources, water resources, chemical management and human rights and align its efforts with the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

While the company intends to tackle all 17 UN SDGs to ensure that its sustainability roadmap aligns with the needs of society, YKK has identified ten that it believes it can 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

Tackling Goal 13, YKK is making climate change a priority with its science-based targets to build a sustainable economy by committing to a 50 percent 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 percent reduction in Scope 3 emissions (all indirect emissions not included in Scope 2 that occur in its value chain).

The UN reported that 2019 was the second warmest year on record and that global temperatures are projected to rise by up to 3.2°C by 2100, making this a global problem now. YKK is looking to reduce Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy wherever possible and reduce Scope 3 emissions by switching to 100 percent sustainable textile materials including recycled and naturally derived materials by 2030.

This commitment is highlighted through its product development, with YKK continuing to innovate with its GreenRise® zipper, which uses plant-based polyester, achieving a 30 percent reduction in petroleum usage, and its NATULON® Ocean Sourced® zipper, which is made from ocean-bound plastic waste.

Environmentally friendly products also tie in with Goal 12 to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, with YKK committing to eliminating production and plastic waste by developing products designed for circularity. This includes replacing all vinyl/plastic packaging materials with sustainable packaging, including recyclable/reusable forms by 2030 and by reducing the amount of waste to be landfilled or incinerated at all productions sites and increase waste recycling rate to 90 percent by 2030.

GreenRise is registered trademark(s) of YKK CORPORATION in Japan and other countries/regions.