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Sustainability2018.09.01

YKK produces 3 million kilometers worth of zippers every year – enough to circle the globe over 80 times.

Episode 1

YKK produces 3 million kilometers worth of zippers every year – enough to circle the globe over 80 times.

Zippers have become essential to daily life

Today, zippers are used in a vast array of products, including not only clothing, but furniture and accessories, etc. YKK’s high-quality zippers are used in a multitude of products which are a central part of daily life, ranging from jackets, trousers and shirts to shoes and bags. No matter who you are or where you live, you probably have at least a few products that employ YKK zippers.

YKK's high-quality zippers

Zippers creating new options in the evolution of fashion

Before the zippper was invented, most clothing was held together by sewing hooks or buttons on the opposing flaps of a garment. Without zippers, it would be much less efficient and time-consuming to change clothes, and life would be less easy. These zippers not only add convenience; they have also contributed greatly to developments and trends in fashion. For example, in 1935 the clothing designer Elsa Schiaparelli introduced a dress with a zipper in one of her haute couture collections — a practical yet chic type of women’s clothing that boldly featured zippers. Although not the first, she was a highly influential designer for high-fashion boutiques and played a large role in creating this trend. This example is often cited as a key moment in the history of fashion, when zippers began to allow designers to give dresses a more flexible silhouette.

YKK's replica of “the original” model of the modern-day zipper*YKK's replica of “the original” model of the modern-day zipper

Ecology via technology

YKK, a leading manufacturer of fastening products, produces more than 3 million kilometers of zippers per year at its factories worldwide. This is enough to circle the globe over 80 times. This amount of production generates a large volume of industrial wastewater in the process of fabricating metals, producing synthetic fibers like nylon, metal plating the zipper slider, adding dyes to the tape, and other manufacturing processes. As a leading company in the industry, YKK has a great responsibility to address the impact that this can have on the environment and the communities in which we operate. We are constantly developing technology that can produce superior products in an environmentally friendly manner.

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The YKK philosophy: “Cycle of Goodness”

YKK’s production network is dedicated to the corporate philosophy advocated by company founder Tadao Yoshida, which seeks to create a “Cycle of Goodness”. Yoshida is believed to have adopted this phrase as his motto after reading the biography of the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie when he was young. In other words, the profits generated through corporate activities should be divided among three parties: customers, business partners, and the company itself (that includes managers and employees). Yoshida coined his own phrase as a company motto: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”.

“Cycle of Goodness”No one propers withoutrendering benefit to others.

YKK pursues sustainable coexistence with society and the global environment, while paying the utmost attention to cooperation with local communities.

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