A Warm House for the World

Muji (Chadstone)

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

The most important innovation of MUJI is MUJI Hut (also called MUJI House) in recent years. This plan was proposed four years ago, but the first House was built in 2017. All materials in MUJI House come from its own products, in other words, all furniture is cheap and environment-friendly. There are three aims of MUJI House. Firstly, they want to reduce land waste, thus they use limited land size to achieve a home with full features. The small size of land represents a lower price of the house, and people can buy much cheaper furniture from MUJI. Therefore, this innovation reduces people’s living costs to give them a high quality of life (Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production). Secondly, they use as much as possible solar energy and light energy instead of traditional energy in order to reduce carbon dioxide pollution (Goal 7 Clean Energy). Finally, they build a house based on people’s image of the perfect house, and the house has satisfied people’s fantasy of “Home”. (Alden Rose, 2016)

Author

Chang Liu

Chang Liu

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

There are three representative MUJI Houses in Japan. In the first part, the biggest feature of “Wooden House” is using acrylic and cardboard to build the wall, which are environmental materials. These materials can be easily degraded by soil, so they would not pose a constant threat to the environment. Furthermore, “Wooden House” has no obvious layout division, and it looks more spacious, which makes people feel more relaxed and helps mental health. However, designers didn’t understand the sustainability goals very well when they built the “Wooden House”, it was just built to protect the environment but not to meet any specific goals.

The second one is “Window House”, which uses windows at various angles to minimize the usage of electric energy. “Window House” uses a large amount of light energy in place of traditional energy in order to reduce pollution. During the day, sunlight will shine from every window to all parts of the room, which solves the lighting problem without using electricity. And solar panels on the roof can store energy which can be used at night. Therefore, “Window House” is consistent with Goal 7 Clean Energy.

And the last one is “Vertical House”, which just takes 20 square meters but with three floors and contains six areas, including the living room, bedroom, children's room, study room, kitchen and toilet. “Vertical House” decreases house prices by using less land, and it is an important way to mitigate the problem of high living costs caused by the shortage of land resources.

In Australia, this technology can be used to build more houses for our life, which can provide citizens more recycled energy and clean energy, more useful spaces with limited land and much cheaper cost. It is the tread for the world to be sustainable and this idea can also be used to build apartments in Japan, where the land is limited and high cost. In general, it is a better way to avoid land waste and to give people a good life by reducing their cost of living (Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production). (MUJI House, 2019)

A Warm House for the World

"Window House"

Inspiration

The inspiration for MUJI House is a little interesting. During the interview, Kelly said, “We already have more than 7000 products which basically include all household items”. So the management team of MUJI has thought of a question, “Why can't we build a house that contains all our products?”. Then they put this idea on the schedule. Finally, the main reason for them to exercise this idea is MUJI House consists of sustainability development, which can benefit their company as well as the world.

Overall impact

MUJI House not only brings people a new way of life but also brings a new business model to the company. Firstly, this innovation has solved people’s housing problems and reduced people’s cost of living. Furthermore, MUJI House also has a huge impact on environmental issues. For example, they use environment-friendly materials to build a house, which can effectively reduce the damage of traditional materials to the environment. And they use a lot of clean energy to reduce the pollution of harmful gases. Meanwhile, this innovation has affected other companies, because more and more companies have understood the importance of sustainability. So other companies have started learning from MUJI and implemented some good innovations.

Business benefit

Through the implementation of this innovation, more and more people are paying attention to MUJI’s products, and they have a deep understanding of MUJI’s operation principle. Furthermore, MUJI 's global visibility has been further improved and MUJI’s total annual revenue increased as well. For these reasons, MUJI has opportunities to build more new stores around the world, which not only improved the local employment rate but also derived global economic development. Meanwhile, MUJI constantly develops new products to meet people’s demands to let people enjoy a low-cost life all the time. At the end of the interview, Kelly said, “The management team of MUJI has realized that sustainable development will be a trend in the future. If MUJI wants to continue its operation for a long time, it must have more innovations related to sustainable development goals”.

Social and environmental benefit

In conclusion, MUJI’s innovation is consistent with many sustainable development goals.

Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Sustainable consumption and production are about promoting resource and energy efficiency and providing a better quality of life for all. MUJI House has solved many people’s living problems and helped them to save much money. In Japan, the lack of land resources will always be a significant problem. MUJI’s “Vertical home” is a good idea, building a house using a small land. If people buy all furniture from MUJI, people can save a lot of money to decorate their houses with sustainable resources. Meanwhile, “Window House”, through using more light energy and solar energy to improve energy efficiency, has reduced people’s cost of living to give them a high-quality life and promote energy efficiency.

Goal 7 Clean energy

MUJI House has used many environment-friendly materials and the most significant advantage is that they use light energy instead of electric energy (MUJI Hut, 2019). As we all know, people’s demand for electric energy has seriously affected the climate and natural environment. Because of a sharp decline in global energy reserves, it is important to find ways to reduce or replace electric energy usage demand. MUJI’s “Window house” has achieved that.

Goal 8 Economic growth

MUJI as a retail company has made much effort on economic growth, and with its increasingly global visibility, it may have a significant influence on the world economy in the future. On the other hand, MUJI can make more profits with the developing technology. It is also good for shareholders and stakeholders. For economic growth, MUJI can invest more money in research and development and MUJI can expand its stores continually around the world, which will increase the wealth for MUJI, improve the local economy and decrease the unemployment rate.

Interviews

Kelly, Store manager

Hera, Store staff

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Muji (Chadstone)

Muji (Chadstone)

Melbourne, VIC, AU

Business Website: https://www.muji.com/au/

Year Founded: 1979

Number of Employees: 1001 to 5000

MUJI is a retail company from Japan, it mainly sells household and consumer products. As of August 2017, MUJI has 328 directly-operated stores in Japan, and 505 international outlets all over the world (MUJI Online,2019). The main reason for me to select MUJI was due to its operation principle. MUJI pursues minimalism and an emphasis on recycling, thus they have paid more attention on reducing waste in production and packaging.

Furthermore, MUJI advocates no-brand strategy, which means they have spent little money on advertisement and classical marketing, so they could through this way reduce product cost and price (Corporate information, 2019). The price of MUJI’s products is not expensive, because the inspiration for MUJI’s products come from basic and necessary items in daily life, and their goal is to make everyone live a quality life (Isomura & Huang, 2016).