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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Is Ascis an ethical and sustainable brand?

The Good Shopping Guide gives Asics (sometimes styles ASICS), a global fashion and sportswear brand based in Japan, a low ethical rating. Unfortunately, this brand receives a low Good Shopping Guide Ethical Score in our Ethical Shoes & Trainers Ratings Table and has not yet met our minimum benchmark. This brand has several areas to improve upon before it would likely qualify for our Ethical Accreditation.

What is Asics?

In 1949, Kihachiro Onitsuka began producing basketball trainers (or sneakers) in Kobe, Japan. The brand was popularised and publicised by Hollywood actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee. In more recent years, athletes such as Novak Djokovic have endorsed this brand.

How can Asics improve its Ethical Rating? 

To give Asics its Ethical Score, The Good Shopping Guide has researched at least 15 criteria. To reach our Ethical Benchmark and qualify for our Ethical Accreditation, Asics has several ethical issues to remedy, including gaining Organic-accreditation and involvement in the poor treatment of the workers in its supply chain.

Is Asics a sustainable brand of sports shoes and trainers?

There are numerous targets listed in Asics’ Sustainability Report Introduction to Planet section. Asics started using recycled polyester for more than 95% of its running shoe products starting in the spring and summer of 2021. 19.5% of the polyester used in its production overall in 2020 was recycled polyester.

Is Asics certified-Organic?

Though the Asics Sustainability Report does recognise the importance of gaining accreditation with a recognised Organic-certification board, Asics has not yet been awarded any sort of independent Organic label. It is encouraging that this brand is aware of the need for Organic-certification, but such a large brand surely has the wealth, time and resources to invest in this accreditation.

Asics and poor working conditions: Supply chain infringements 

The Commercial & Industrial Workers’ Union (CIWU) and Stand Up Movement, two labour unions in Sri Lanka, have filed a complaint with the Labour Commissioner to launch an investigation into the Hirdaramani Mercury Apparel factory’s mass layoffs and inadequate compensation for workers who were not paid their wages and bonuses.

Global fashion companies, like Asics, who supply from this factory, have been jointly found accountable in the complaint for violating labour rules under Sri Lankan law. Workers who were abruptly fired overnight without notice have personally suffered for several months as a result of the brands’ irresponsible purchasing practices.

Additionally, the unions have called for restitution for workers’ lost wages due to labour exploitation at supplier factories.

Asics and its use of Uyghur labour

Hugo Boss and Asics are two major apparel companies that have committed to keeping purchasing cotton from Xinjiang despite concerns about alleged human rights violations against China’s Uyghur minority. Asics, a Japanese sportswear company, said in a Weibo statement that cotton from Xinjiang was a part of its local supply chain for the Chinese market. Western nations imposed penalties on China as a result of the abuses, and several brands stopped using cotton from Xinjiang. Asics have not.

The crimes committed against the Uyghur people by the Chinese government have been called nothing less than ‘genocide’ by human rights campaigners and activists. Using Uyghur labour is something Asics must address as a matter of ethical priority.

So, is Asics a good brand for ethical consumers?

Asics unfortunately has a long way to go before it would ever likely qualify for The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Accreditation. Our team of independent researchers investigated at least 15 criteria to produce an Ethical Score, and Asics does not score well across many of these categories. To find out more about how we rate brands and companies, read our How We Rate page, which goes through our research methodology.

If your shoe or trainer brand values ethics and sustainability, why not check out The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Accreditation? Increase customer and investor confidence and stand out from the greenwash.

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