Fast Retailing Co., the company behind the Uniqlo clothing chain, has established a new, wholly-owned subsidiary that’s going to expand its enterprise with a “social business” in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is the seventh most populous nation in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated ones. Thanks to this, and a number of historical and resource-related problems, it’s had a very high poverty rate for decades. This is changing though, and its poverty factor has been falling, fast, for the last decade or so.
Enter Fast Retailing, with an unusually charitable plan in a trade accustomed to cut-throat business practices and sweatshop conditions. According to the press release the new subsidiary company will be aimed at getting cheap clothing production facilities up and running in Bangladesh, thus helping the economy. But the “social” angle is also very high on Fast Retailing’s list of priorities, and the first stated objective of the subsidiary is actually to “help solve social problems, including those related to poverty, sanitation and education issues.”
The company will be formed in September 2010 in Dhaka, and to demonstrate its good intentions it’ll be named “UNIQLO Social Business Bangladesh, Ltd.” Such a caring sharing stance is actually typical of Uniqlo, which among its innovative business practices, actively encourages recycling of unwanted Uniqlo clothing in Japan. Recycled clothes are whisked out to needy folks in Asia and Africa, and also to disaster victims around the world–it’s been so successful a system that Uniqlo just expanded it from a biannual event to a continuous one.