Gildan Activewear Inc.’s continued investment in its vertically integrated business model has allowed for “unparalleled oversight and control over its supply chain,” from raw cotton to final product, enabling it to identify and manage the environmental, social and community impacts of producing its apparel, the Montreal-based company said Monday in its 2015 Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility report.
Gildan’s vertically integrated manufacturing operations include yarn spinning, textile, sock and sheer hosiery manufacturing facilities, as well as sewing plants. It now operates five yarn-spinning facilities in the U.S., four in North Carolina and one in Georgia. Its newest facility in Mocksville, N.C., is expected to be fully operational this year.
Gildan, which had sales of $2.57 billion in 2015, said its five-year environmental goals created an organizational mind-set focused on uncovering potential opportunities to improve efficiencies and reduce its environmental footprint.
From 2010 to 2015 period, Gildan said it achieved several notable.
The company had a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of production since 2010, largely achieved through the use of biomass. Fifty-one percent of the company’s energy needs are now met through renewable resources, such as the use of biomass in the its steam generation plants.
A 14 percent reduction of energy per kilogram of production was seen in the period through the installation of high-efficiency steam absorption chillers that run on steam produced by the company’s biomass steam generation expansion.
Gildan achieved a 17 percent decrease in water per kilogram of production, which translates into savings of about 3.85 million cubic meters of water or the equivalent of more than 1,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools when compared to 2010. These savings were primarily achieved through investments in modern jet dyeing machines.
In addition, the company accomplished 89 percent recycling or repurposing of total waste, and a 19 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills in 2015.
“We have continued to invest in new technologies and infrastructure, which have led to major advancements in reducing the company’s energy, GHG emissions intensity, water and footprint, and increasing our use of renewables to power our energy needs,” said Benito Masi, Gildan’s executive vice president of manufacturing.
In a social realm, Gildan provided 142,700 medical consultations to employees in 2015 through its free on-site clinics, and provided subsidized meals and free transportation to employees.
Gildan noted that all apparel in its Gildan and Anvil brands are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, and that it predominantly uses cotton that is sustainably grown and ethically harvested.
Gildan owns and operates vertically integrated large-scale manufacturing facilities, which are primarily located in Central America, the West Indies, North America and Bangladesh. The company has more than 47,000 employees worldwide.