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ASICS says it exists to “uplift the world through sport”, but how ethical is ASICS? Here we dive into the brand’s “Not Good Enough” rating, which was published in April 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.
‘Sound body and mind’, but how are its ethics?
Sportswear brand ASICS was founded in post-war Japan in 1949, originally manufacturing basketball shoes but expanding to activewear and accessories in the decades since.
The popular company has a mission to “shine a light on the value of movement on the mind”, hoping to inspire more people to move for positive mental health. This is a crucial message today for people from all walks of life, and the brand also claims it has “committed to a sustainability strategy that includes reducing our reliance on non-sustainable materials and processes”. This all sounds great, but we’re here to shine a light on a brand’s practices behind the scenes—and ASICS has some work to do, promises and positive affirmations aside.
So how exactly is ASICS impacting people, the planet, and animals? We ask, how ethical is ASICS?
Our planet rating evaluates brands based on the environmental policies in their supply chains, from carbon emissions and wastewater to business models and product circularity. Here we rate ASICS “Not Good Enough”.
The brand uses few lower-impact materials. And while it has set a science based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both its direct operations and supply chain, there’s no evidence it is on track to meet it.
ASICS also doesn’t appear to minimise microplastic impacts nor protect biodiversity in its supply chain. The brand has a lot of work to do if it hopes to improve its score for environmental impact.
Workers’ rights are central to our people rating, which assess brands’ policies and practices on everything from child labour to living wages and gender equality. ASICS is also rated “Not Good Enough” here.
It received a middling score of 41-50% in the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index, and traces some of its supply chain, but the rest doesn’t look so hot. There’s no evidence it has programs or policies to empower women in its supply chain, which can lead to promotions and higher wages. It also doesn’t appear to support diversity and inclusion in its supply chain.
Worst of all, ASICS doesn’t ensure workers are paid living wages across its supply chain, which is crucial for a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry.
Brands’ animal welfare policies and, where applicable, how well they trace their animal-derived products are the focus of our animals rating. Unfortunately, ASICS is also “Not Good Enough” for animal welfare.
While the brand has published a general statement about minimising animal suffering, it doesn’t have a formal animal welfare policy, nor does it trace any animal-derived materials to the first production stage.
ASICS uses down, and some of its leather products are made from recycled leather, which is a good start. And while it has a policy to source wool from non-mulesed sheep, it doesn’t provide any evidence to verify its claims.
It doesn’t appear to use fur, angora, exotic animal skin, or exotic animal hair. However, it needs to step up its game with the animal-derived materials it does use, or better yet, remove them altogether.
Overall rating: Not Good Enough
Overall, ASICS rates “Not Good Enough” based on our research. For a brand that claims that “to help people achieve a sound mind in a sound body, we need a sound earth”, it needs to be doing much more on all fronts. ASICS needs to strengthen its environmental practices, use more eco-friendly and less animal-derived materials, and ensure its workers are paid a living wage.
Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.
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