About the partnership
Fast Retailing/UNIQLO began its partnership with UNHCR in 2006 with their first donation of clothing for refugee families. This contribution was made up of clothes donated by UNIQLO customers through their instore recycling programme.
Ever since, the partnership has grown both in scope and scale, to have an incredible impact for refugees across the world.
Since then, over 35 million pieces of clothing have been delivered to people forced to flee in more than 48 countries where UNHCR works.
Additionally, Fast Retailing/UNIQLO has donated approximately US$13 million towards UNHCR’s programmes.
UNHCR’s global and multifaceted partnership with Fast Retailing/UNIQLO shows the kind of comprehensive support and impact the private sector can have for the refugee cause.
Types of intervention:
- contributing clothing to people of concern and host communities, mainly from UNIQLO and GU customers;
- providing financial grants to support livelihoods in Asia and emergency response in Somalia, South Sudan, Mali, Bangladesh and Syria;
- giving refugees employment opportunities at UNIQLO stores globally, and helping them become self-reliant;
- deploying Fast Retailing employees to work with UNHCR at its field offices;
- supporting campaigns, communication, education and outreach programmes at global and country levels;
- increasing awareness of refugee issues.
Impact at a glance
- In 2021, UNIQLO (Fast Retailing) donated 3 million masks to UNHCR country operations. These masks were distributed to refugee families in particularly vulnerable situations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Over 35 million pieces of clothing have been delivered to refugees in more than 48 countries.
- Nearly 19,000 refugees have been provided with vocational and life skills, given access to finance and/or started up their own business across five countries in Asia.
- 121 refugees are employed as staff in UNIQLO stores in eight countries (63 in Japan, 28 in France, 11 in Germany, 7 in Italy, 6 in the US, 3 in The Netherlands, 2 in Sweden and 1 in the UK).
- More than 10 Fast Retailing employees have participated in an employee deployment programme to UNHCR field offices.
- Nearly 220,000 students in 2,202 schools have been taught about refugee issues by Fast Retailing employees in Japan as part of its school education programme called “The Power of Clothing Project”.
- UNIQLO and GU provides spaces for UNHCR’s Face to Face campaigns to recruit the UNHCR’s monthly supporters to support refugees globally. In Japan, since 2010, more than 2,200 customers in 195 stores become the supporters.
- Donated 10 million yen, as part of UNIQLO’s World Refugee Day Campaign in 2020 which targeted 17 countries across Asia, Europe and Americas and helped raised awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on refugee families and how customers could help.
Sustainable Development Goals in focus
- SDG1 No Poverty
- SDG4 Quality Education
- SDG5 Gender Equality
- SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production
- SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals