SDGs are a hot topic, in the media and in my personal life. SDGs stands for Sustainable Development Goals, consisting of 17 goals to move towards sustainable economic activities by 2023. ※More accurately, sustainable development.
This call to action recognizes economic sustainability as a way to achieve results on a larger scale.
More precisely, the manufacturers develop products that fit as many SDGs out of the 17 and the consumers participate by selecting those products. Japan will see an increase in such efforts.
– SDGs at Knitwin
Now let’s take a deep dive into how SDGs will be met at Knitwin.
Firstly I want to be clear that our business does not revolve around SDGs and we do not intend to use SDGs as a selling point.
This is because we exist on the sole foundation of our company mission which was established before SDGs were developed.
However we want to go about our daily operations with an SDG viewpoint, to be mindful of people and the environment as we strive to fulfill our mission.
This is of great importance to us. To not only have a mission, but to have a firm understanding and acceptance of these guidelines and to foster an environment where we can be our best.
These guidelines will enable staff to act with clarity, foster motivation, and even share best practices outside of work, which will contribute to a better environment. Going forward, we feel the importance of incorporating SDGs, to continue business while caring for the environment.
The following two goals are what we are looking to incorporate at this time.
– 12. Responsible production and consumption
In the apparel industry, it is common for companies to mass produce for profit, resulting in mass disposal. The 70% off sales we often see are an indication of such practices. If consumable goods such as socks are not only purchased for their design and price, but to support the brand’s values which will lead to elevated lifestyles, this profit-centered business model would decrease in practice. We believe that having meaning in what we manufacture will prevent mass production and clearance sales will be a thing of the past.
In other words, we ought to work on the uniqueness and quality of the brand to become a necessity for consumers.
It feels strange to think that five years ago, we were an OEM company focusing on balance sheets and order-driven manufacturing.
Since we started our brand in 2017, we have turned our attention away from numbers and focused on what we ought to deliver to customers. This could very well have been the start of our practice of SDGs.
– 8. Decent work and economic growth.
What is decent work?
To ask this question is crucial. I think decent work is when; work is worthwhile, products satisfy consumers and are a necessity, and staff receive decent wages.
Simply put, it is productive work in conditions of security.
I think this is the best work condition. At our company, we felt a sense of accomplishment when our time and efforts resulted in global expansion. This increased the worth of our work and gave us motivation to build on our brand so that our products can reach more people’s hearts, and we are ready to do more.
In terms of wages.
The sock industry in Japan started in 1910 and profits have always been based on numbers sold. Wages are calculated based on each job type. This method is outdated and the current situation of cheaper foreign products taking up 90% of Japan’s consumption doesn’t help the situation.
Our focus is not on immediate profit but on building a solid business system that will last for decades so that each staff member, whether they are a technician or part-timer, will receive wages based on their added value instead of their job type.
If staff provide value in what they do, they become an asset to the company and wages reflect that.
In the eight years since joining my family’s business, the shift from small profits and quick returns to meaningful manufacturing has started and we have come far.
Our mission to deliver extraordinary socks is pursued through 3 house brands and our OEM suppliers.
If we can reach consumer’s hearts and our products become essential, work increases in worth; naturally improving work quality, sales, and wages.
– Implementation of SDGs
Through the delivery of; our mission, desirable outcome, and brand as well as our investments on business infrastructure.
We still have a lot to work on, however as a business we believe that meaningful and responsible actions will lead to stable production and implementation of SDGs.
This year, we are working hard towards a sustainable future for our company and I envision that future to be thriving, resilient and stronger than ever before.