Over the course of 2016, ASICS has continued a number of projects to make the company more energy efficient, it shows in its 2016 Sustainability Report.

One of them is its Global Retail Concept, launched at the opening of their flagship store in Brussels, that places sustainability at the core of the store design and operations. These efforts are apparent in the use of LED lighting, energy efficient systems and materials for the floor, and hangers, mannequins and other POS materials that are made from sustainable, certified and/or renewable resources.

The company also now includes Tier 2 suppliers in its auditing process, which helps ASICS ensure that human rights are respected throughout its supply chain. It also enables the company to manage its environmental impact: Tier 2 is the part of the supply chain responsible for fabric dyeing and other industrial processes that involve potentially harmful chemicals.

It has also implemented new systems and sustainability databases that will ensure product traceability and supply chain transparency. “In 2016, ASICS started working towards the operation of new environmental guidelines for suppliers in 2017. On a product materials level, we have formalised a new materials guideline with clear do’s and don’ts for supplying partners and product development teams. Animal-based materials and the continued phase-out of PVC are two of the main focus subjects of the guideline implemented in 2016.”

Since 2015, ASICS Corporation has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Region Asia/Pacific, and in 2016 it was also included in the FTSE4Good Global Index and attained the B rating from CDP (former Carbon Disclosure Project) – recognitions of its approach towards sustainability in its operations.

During last year, ASICS contributed over $690 000 in funding as well as over $1.3-m in donations to help communities. It has also created a consumer and community engagement platform in Europe.

Over the holiday period, the company asked consumers with every purchase if they would like to donate towards its charity partners, which resulted in 24 379 donations across 85 retail locations and online stores with Right To Play receiving the majority of donations. These donations benefit 3 432 children who can take part in Right To play’s educational sport and play programs twice a week for a year.

The company has also been open about where it is falling short of its own CO2 emissions targets.

The number of own-branded retail stores almost doubled during 2016 from 444 to 867, mainly due to the brand taking over partner outlets in Korea, which weren’t included in the initial total. As a result, the company’s CO2 emissions rose 6.5%.

Overall, however, the company also noted that CO2 emissions per unit revenue also increased by 14% compared to 2015. “It is clear that the company needs to accelerate energy efficiency projects in order to both increase efficiency and reduce absolute emissions in 2017.”

Looking at the 2017 period, ASICS expects that it will double the renewable electricity it uses in Europe, with renewable sources accounting for 10% of the company’s total global electricity usage.

The company also plans to conduct energy efficiency audits in its most energy-intensive locations and implement efficiency improvements where necessary.

It will also publicly disclose which suppliers it partners with in the manufacturing of ASICS, ASICS Tiger and Onitsuka Tiger footwear, apparel and accessories.

ASICS does business in 33 countries, sources from 21, and has 7 864 employees. The EMEA region reported ¥107 601-m for the 2016 period. Across the globe, the company reported ¥399 107-m net sales, where footwear accounted for 82.6%, apparel 12.8% and accessories 4.6%.

Running event aims to be better for the environment

ASICS is also the technical sponsor of the IAAF Gold Label Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, which is promoting its Run4Change programme and encouraging event participants to take a pledge to RunGreen in order to reduce the impact of the event.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon organisers want to avoid scenes like this along their route.

“By taking up the RunGreen pledge, participants have the opportunity to play an active role in environmental initiatives. The RunGreen campaign encourages runners not to litter, to respect the environment by running for nature, to measure and offset their carbon footprint, and to support broader carbon-neutral projects.”

Runners can take the pledge through any of the participating charities, activations, and at the expo at the respective charity and partner stands. By contributing a minimum fee of R50, pledge givers will receive Run4Change socks that they can show off during the race, as well as a pledge sticker that can be added to the ‘pledge wall’ at the expo with a message to RunGreen.

This campaign forms part of the Run4Change programme, “which aims to make a significant and positive impact on society through a dedicated focus on five key pillars: health and wellness, fundraising and charities, peace and sport, sustainable events, and the development and empowerment of South African athletes”.

There will be chuck zones along the race route, where runners can dispose of their litter – and prevent them from throwing empty water sachets in the street. In addition, runners are also asked to carry their own water, where possible.

The marathon is also working with the Climate Neutral Group (a carbon management and offsetting service) and supporting the Greenpop Urban Greening and Reforestation programme, the Wonderbag Project, the Joburg Waste to Energy programme, and the Basa Magogo Project. GreenPop plants trees across South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania, and since 2010 it has planted more than 79 000 indigenous and fruit trees that benefit 350 000 people.

The 42.2km Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is the grand finale on the Sunday of a weekend-long racing event, where runners can also take part in shorter distance races on the road and trail: 12km and 22km peace trail runs, and 10km and marathon-distance peace road runs. The weekend starts with the expo from 14 September and ends with the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on the 17th.