Gildan Publishes 2019 Environmental, Social And Governance Report
Gildan Activewear Inc. (PPAI 250187, S13) has released its 16th Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative standards. The 2019 ESG report showcases the Montreal, Quebec-headquartered supplier’s approach and commitment to ESG, including highlights of the supplier’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 on its 2020 goals centered 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 neighboring communities. Even more so during these uncertain times, our vertical integration enables us to minimize disruption in our supply chain and allows us to leverage our manufacturing excellence to adapt our business to this changing environment,” she continues.
The report highlighted that in July 2019, Gildan’s Social Compliance Program was re-accredited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) for the second time after becoming the first basic activewear apparel manufacturer to receive this accreditation in 2007. The re-accreditation came after an extensive two-year review of the company’s practices and policies that are in place to ensure fair labor practices across its global supply chain.
Gildan also noted that it remains committed to maintaining industry-leading working conditions and labor practices at each of its worldwide locations through creating safe and ergonomic workplaces, respecting human and labor rights, employees’ freedom of association, empowering women and offering competitive benefits. In 2019, 96 percent 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 programs, parental leave, financial assistance, subsidized meals and free transportation at Gildan facilities in Latin America and Asia.
As part of its overall commitment to diversity and inclusion, Gildan also 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 organization 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 made 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-percent and 13-percent reduction from its 2015 baseline, respectively. Some of the company’s 2019 progress also included continuing to integrate more energy-efficient technologies at Gildan-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 & Energy Policy, which will help strengthen environmental performance as one of its key priorities. In 2019, 44 percent of Gildan’s total energy use was powered by renewable resources, an area that will remain a priority in the coming years.
Gildan says that it has a responsibility to actively participate in the communities where it operates, starting with buying locally wherever possible—a directive that’s mutually beneficial, as doing so reduces lead times and costs for the company while fostering economic growth. In 2019, more than 3,700 local suppliers in Latin America and Bangladesh benefitted from the company’s presence in the region, and Gildan purchased over $260 million worth of materials from these suppliers. The company also implemented various community projects and enhanced meaningful partnerships with organizations to respond to regional needs while giving back to local communities. 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.