Developing the capacity of handicraft producers in low-income countries
Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI has committed to development of an eco-friendly natural dyeing plant in Cambodia, as part as its commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA).
The retailer, with international brand presence in nearly 600 stores across Japan, Asia, Europe and the USA, plans to source its products locally and increase the number of local producers, especially women from post-conflict or transitional societies.
MUJI has been promoting eco-friendly dyeing utilizing various natural materials since 2012, and formed its commitment around two projects including the development of a 2,000 m2 eco-friendly dyeing and sewing towel plant in Cambodia to employ over 300 local people by 2015.
MUJI is also planning to plant indigo a tropical plant cultivated as a source of dark blue dye around the plant, which will generate 50 new jobs and a new product line of natural Indigo dye products in near future.Supported by several international organizations and hosted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the BCtA is a global initiative that aims to support the private sector's efforts to fight poverty through its core business.
With the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), MUJI plans to continue sourcing soapstone products from Kenya and wool felt products from Kyrgyzstan. By training local producers and engaging artisan communities in these regions, MUJI continues to develop quality products that meet international standards.
MUJI's focus on design and efficiency will result in more local jobs and wages for local people. In addition, the company will provide skill development seminars for local producers in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, including how to manage supply chains, keep high quality standards, and monitor sales trends in international market.
MUJI plans to increase production by 8% in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan by 2015 and 1.3 million dollars revenue is expected that year from the sales of products from Cambodia, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan.
MUJI is known for providing simple, innovative and elegant products which comes from the Japanese notion of Kanso that brings a sense of calm into everyday life. Operated by Ryohin Keikaku Co Ltd, MUJI also has committed to buying organic cotton from suppliers who engage in sustainable sourcing practice including small-scale farmers from Tanzania, Egypt, and India.
Japan's NHK World Spotlights Inclusive Business and MUJI
NEWSLINE Feature: "Private Firms, Public Mission"
Aired on September 26, 2013