Chiba University Students Explore Fashion and Human Rights

March 22, 2024

Chiba University Students Explore Fashion and Human Rights

Our company signed a comprehensive partnership agreement with the city of Chiba and the national university corporation Chiba University in February 2019, aiming to create new value in urban development in the Nishi-Chiba area. Since the fiscal year 2022, we have collaborated with the Chiba University Environmental ISO Student Committee, which engages in various awareness activities related to SDGs and operates the EMS (Environmental Management System), to focus on "Fashion and Sustainability" through various projects.

Our joint project with the Chiba University Environmental ISO Student Committee involves students divided into four groups focusing on environment, diversity, culture, and human rights, respectively. Each group considers and implements plans to address their respective issues. The "Human Rights Group" consists of five sophomores and four freshmen from the Environmental ISO Student Committee, who have conducted their learning and awareness activities on human rights issues related to fashion. This includes study sessions among members and cooperation from companies addressing human rights issues, as well as interviews with "THE BODY SHOP" and "Nudie Jeans," brands featured on ZOZOTOWN. Moreover, the content gathered from these interviews was reported to our company's employees, and a film screening related to human rights issues was held at ZOZOSTUDIO on December 11, 2023 (Monday).

~Human Rights Group Interview Report~

Activities Conducted:
June 2023: Human Rights Group study session
September 2023: Interview with THE BODY SHOP
October 2023: Interview with Nudie Jeans
December 2023: Film screening on human rights issues

THE BODY SHOP Interview Report

Founded in 1976 in the UK by Anita Roddick, THE BODY SHOP utilizes natural plant-based ingredients traditionally used worldwide to create its products while simultaneously engaging in activities that challenge various societal issues. One such activity is the "Community Fair Trade" program started in 1987, aimed at promoting economic independence in the world's impoverished regions through sustained trading relationships, rather than temporary transactions or aid. This approach, based on the idea that fair trade is the most effective solution for poverty, involves trading with 14 suppliers in 18 countries, including India, Nepal, and Ghana(*). THE BODY SHOP also sets its own auditing standards based on a unique policy to ensure no human rights violations occur during production processes.

(*) Source: THE BODY SHOP

THE BODY SHOP strives to improve product quality and engage more people with their corporate initiatives, raising awareness on human rights and other social issues. This perspective encourages us to first learn about such corporate efforts.

Nudie Jeans Interview Report

Nudie Jeans, an innovative denim brand, focuses on sustainability with principles including repair, reuse, recycle, materials, living wages, and climate. In 2017, the brand achieved 100% organic cotton in all cotton products, supporting farmers through the use of fair trade cotton and fair trade premiums(*).

Our casual purchases of jeans provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the impacts of clothing on people and the environment. The interviews taught us the importance of choosing fair trade products to support farmer businesses and promote fair trade, broadening our perspectives beyond human rights issues.

(*) Funds paid by the importing organization, separate from the price of goods, used for the economic, social, and environmental development of unions or regions. Source: Fair Trade Japan

What We Learned from the Interviews

The two companies emphasized the importance of interest in their products, knowing their origins, and understanding processes like fair trade. We aim to think more about the products we buy and actively share our insights.

Film Screening Event

Following study sessions and brand interviews, we organized a film screening at ZOZOSTUDIO to spread awareness on fashion-related human rights issues. The screening targeted Chiba University students and ZOZO employees, featuring "The True Cost – The Real Price of Fast Fashion." The event attracted about 30 attendees, including students, university staff, and Chiba city officials. The film, centered on the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Indonesia, highlighted the dark side of fast fashion, including health issues and human rights violations faced by workers. Feedback from participants revealed a newfound awareness of the harsh realities behind fast fashion, prompting thoughts on personal contributions to these issues.

(This article was created by the students of the Human Rights Group.)

We will continue to engage in various initiatives with the young people who will shape the future, working towards contributing to a sustainable community and society.


ZOZO, Inc., Chiba City, and Chiba University's comprehensive partnership agreement for urban development in Nishi-Chiba

THE BODY SHOP Community Fair Trade

Nudie Jeans