Gildan Activewear has been maintaining industry-leading working conditions and labour practices at all its worldwide locations, and focusing on women empowerment by continuing to roll-out various training opportunities to uplift women in the workplace at all levels of the organisation, according to its 16th Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report.

The 2019 ESG report, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards: comprehensive option, showcases Gildan’s approach and commitment to ESG, including highlights of the company’s 2019 results, key priorities, and future commitments towards achieving its vision of Making Apparel Better.

In 2019, the company continued to focus on making progress towards fulfilling its 2020 goals centred around three Genuine Responsibility pillars: Caring for People, Conserving the Environment, and Creating Stronger Communities.

“I am pleased to present our newest ESG report,” says Claudia Sandoval, vice president, Corporate Citizenship at Gildan. “Our strategy of owning and operating our facilities has given us the ability to provide rewarding jobs, safe and healthy work environments, and the capability to implement innovative environmental solutions in our operations while continuously improving the lives of our neighbouring communities. Even more so during these uncertain times, our vertical integration enables us to minimise disruption in our supply chain and allows us to leverage our manufacturing excellence to adapt our business to this changing environment,” she continues.

In July 2019, Gildan’s Social Compliance Programme was re-accredited by the Fair Labour Association (FLA) for the second time after becoming the first basic activewear apparel manufacturer to receive this accreditation in 2007. The re-accreditation comes after an extensive two-year review of the company’s practices and policies that are in place to ensure fair labour practices across its global supply chain.

Gildan has been maintaining industry-leading working conditions and labour practices at each of its worldwide locations through creating safe and ergonomic workplaces, respecting human and labour rights and employees’ freedom of association, empowering women, and offering competitive benefits, the report says.

In 2019, 96 per cent of Gildan workers were represented by formal Health and Safety committees. The company provided almost 2.5 million hours of training to its employees and invested $13.9 million in supplemental benefits, which included free onsite medical health care, vaccination and medicine programmes, parental leave, financial assistance, subsidised meals, and free transportation at Gildan facilities in Latin America and Asia.

The report says that as part of the company’s overall commitment to diversity and inclusion, Gildan continued to strengthen its focus on women empowerment by continuing to roll-out various training opportunities to uplift women in the workplace at all levels of the organisation and by strengthening its relationship with partners such as Catalyst. Through these initiatives, Gildan aims to help elevate and empower women in the workplace while breaking down any barriers they may face.

On the environmental front, Gildan undertook and made further progress across a range of initiatives this past year, and it achieved two of its 2020 targets early related to water intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which represented an 11.2 per cent and 13.0 per cent reduction from their 2015 baseline, respectively. Some of the company’s 2019 progress also included continuing to integrate more energy efficient technologies at company-owned facilities, completing the installation of its Biotop filtering system at all textile and hosiery facilities in Honduras, and continuing to replace bunker fuel with biomass for steam production.

Gildan also launched its updated Global Environment and Energy Policy, which will help strengthen environmental performance as one of the company’s key priorities. In 2019, 44 per cent of total energy use at Gildan was powered by renewable resources, an area which will continue to remain a large focus for Gildan in the coming years.

The report says that Gildan believes it has a responsibility of being an active participant in the communities where it operates, starting with buying locally wherever possible – a directive which is mutually beneficial, reducing lead times and costs for the company while fostering economic growth. In 2019, over 3,700 local suppliers in Latin America and Bangladesh benefitted from the company’s presence in the region, and over $260 million worth of materials were purchased by Gildan from these suppliers. The company continued to implement various community projects and enhanced meaningful partnerships with organisations to respond to regional needs while giving back to the communities where it operates. One of these projects was Gildan’s renewed partnership with Room to Read to help improve girls’ education and literacy and promote gender equality in Bangladesh. In 2019, Gildan’s donations to community causes amounted to approximately $1.5 million towards creating sustainable local impacts.

About Gildan

Gildan is a leading manufacturer of everyday basic apparel which markets its products in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America, under a diversified portfolio of Company-owned brands, including Gildan®, American Apparel®, Comfort Colors®, Gildan® Hammer™, Prim + Preux®, GoldToe®, Anvil® by Gildan®, Alstyle®, Secret®, Silks®, Kushyfoot®, Secret Silky®, Therapy Plus®, Peds® and MediPeds®, and under the Under Armour® brand through a sock licensing agreement providing exclusive distribution rights in the United States and Canada. Our product offering includes activewear, underwear, socks, hosiery, and legwear products sold to a broad range of customers, including wholesale distributors, screenprinters or embellishers, as well as to retailers that sell to consumers through their physical stores and/or e-commerce platforms, and to global lifestyle brand companies.

Gildan owns and operates vertically-integrated, large-scale manufacturing facilities which are primarily located in Central America, the Caribbean Basin, North America, and Bangladesh. Gildan operates with a strong commitment to industry-leading labour and environmental practices throughout its supply chain in accordance with its comprehensive Genuine Responsibility® program embedded in the Company’s long-term business strategy. More information about the Company and its corporate citizenship practices and initiatives can be found at www.gildancorp.com and www.genuineresponsibility.com, respectively.