Japanese sporting goods giant Asics Corporation is targeting a 10% reduction in the CO2 and water waste impact per pair of shoes produced by its tier-one footwear suppliers as part of its next five-year sustainability goals.

The reduction, which compares to 2015 baseline levels, is part of a wider target in its sustainability strategy to 2020 that should also see a 5% absolute CO2 reduction from direct operations.

The company is still working to fully map out its 2020 end goal, but says it is committed to a 'Science-Based Targets Initiative' for CO2 emissions and intends to work with suppliers and other stakeholders to achieve its targets.

This approach, a partnership between CDP, UN Global Compact, WRI and WWF, helps companies determine how much they must cut emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and ensures targets are in line with limits necessary to restrict global warming to 2°C compared to pre-industrial era temperatures.

The outline comes as Asics says that last year it managed to reduce CO2 emissions by 43%, water consumption by 50%, and solid waste emissions by 17% per pair of shoes manufactured, compared to 2009 baseline levels.

The declines came after the company carried out a project at two supplier sites in Cambodia and Vietnam to identify the best ways of reducing CO2 emissions and improving energy efficiency. The project, a partnership with My Climate Japan, was commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

The designer and manufacturer of running shoes, athletic footwear and apparel also audited the social and labour standards of 100% of its tier-one suppliers, all of which meet or exceed Asics' basic CSR supplier standards.

And it became one of the first companies in the industry to adopt the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management (AFIRM) Restricted Substances List (RSL). This global standard is used by brands and suppliers to help establish chemical management knowledge, set basic compliance levels, and provide a common base for analytical testing.

Other milestones outlined in the company's 2015 Sustainability Report include continuous improvement of safe and ethical workplace standards in partnership with the ILO Better Work and Better Factories Cambodia (BFC) programmes. Activities included building inspections at all Asics tier-one suppliers in Cambodia.

The company's sustainability strategy through 2020 will be set in line with the group's five year Asics Growth Plan 2020, which targets net sales of JPY750bn (US$6.57bn) by 2020 through direct-to-consumer growth, expansion of its consumer base, and investment in new sporting technology.

Asics unveils growth plan