Gildan was founded on the basic principle that the best strategy was to own our manufacturing facilities, focus on our customers, embrace our entrepreneurial spirit and treat everyone with respect and dignity. I am pleased to say, that more than 30 years later, these same principles remain in place and continue to guide our decisions, business strategies and our vision of Making Apparel Better.
I am very pleased to share with you Gildan’s 2017 Genuine Responsibility™ Report, which highlights our efforts in all matters related to corporate social and environmental responsibility and our progress towards our 2020 social and environmental goals.
This year we completed a comprehensive materiality assessment which gave us valuable insights and helped us establish our social, environmental and community priorities for the coming years. The assessment also helped us to map our strategic plan to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established to combat climate change, reduce global poverty and address inequality.
As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of activewear, underwear and socks we understand clearly that our success and future growth demands that we pursue continuous improvements by constantly integrating sustainable solutions and investing in innovative technologies while never compromising on our commitments to care for our people, conserve the environment and create stronger communities.
Making Apparel Better™
Our vision is to harness the strength of our vertically-integrated business model, which encompasses our large scale, manufacturing expertise and the unwavering commitment to operate responsibly and create value in everything we do for our stakeholders:
It is clear that consumers are increasingly demanding visibility on how the products they buy are manufactured. As a vertically-integrated outlier in the global apparel industry with over 90% of our revenues generated by products manufactured within our companyowned facilities, Gildan is well positioned to deliver that transparency. We are publishing our 14th CSR report, sharing with stakeholders our achievements, challenges and path forward.
Caring for our People
We strongly believe that our people are the most important resource in our company and a critical driver of our success. Any company can acquire the machines that we buy, but very few companies can match Gildan for the strength of our people, the quality of their skills and our collective dedication to making great products and operating responsibly.
Our commitment to our people goes beyond ensuring fair wages to include strong benefits that deliver postive impacts to their daily lives and communities. Last year alone we provided more than 2 million hours of training and development to our 50,000 employees.
In line with the Company’s Diversity and Inclusion policies and underlying principles, introduced in 2016, we are pleased to see that women currently make up more than 42% of management positions and close to 47% of our overall employee base globally.
We have implemented programs such as the Women’s Empowerment Program in collaboration with World Vision® Honduras, the Women’s Leadership Lecture Series and a variety of mentoring initiatives to inspire, engage and support women in developing their leadership skills.
Conserving the Environment
We know that water and climate change are fundamental priorities for both our Company and our stakeholders. We set 2020 goals to reduce our water intensity, energy usage, GHG emissions and waste per kg of product by 10%, from our owned operations when compared to our 2015 baseline year.
We have already met our 2020 goal for water reduction and have achieved good results in other metrics as we continue to work towards those targets. We continue to recycle or repurpose over 86% of our total company waste.
Being transparent also means sharing our misses. This past year, with the integration of acquired facilities, the building of a new facility in Honduras and exceptional rainfall which impacted our access to quality feedstock for our Biomass steam generation systems, we saw an atypical increase in both our GHG emissions and landfill waste intensity. However, we remain confident that our continuing investments will allow us to meet our 2020 goals.
Creating Stronger Communities
As a major employer in many of the regions where we operate, we have the opportunity to help build stronger communities with investments in healthcare, education and community engagement programs.
We partnered with Pencils of Promise through our American Apparel brand to help raise awareness and support for child literacy. We launched a Pencils of Promise collection that contributed U.S. $220,000 in 2017 to build, during the summer of 2018, new schools, improve classroom environments and provide support for teachers in Guatemala and Ghana.
In Bangladesh, we donated more than U.S $75,000 to Room to Read® in support of more than 160 girls in the Girls’ Education Program and established a library and literacy program at a school in Dhaka.
Once again last year our employees showed their shared commitment to their communities during our 5th annual Glow Run, a 5k run and fundraising event. In 2017, the event united more than 12,000 Gildan employees and their families in Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and raised more than U.S. $100,000 to support local projects.
Recognized for our Commitment to CSR
We are always pleased to be recognized for our collective efforts and ongoing commitments to operate sustainably and responsibly. In 2017, Gildan was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World Index) for the fifth consecutive year, once again as the only North American company in the Textiles, Apparel and Luxury Goods industry group listed in the DJSI World Index.
For the 10th consecutive year, Gildan also received the Fundahrse CSR seal that recognizes organizations in Honduras that demonstrate leading practices related to employee and community relations, human rights, labour, governance, environmental and operational practices.
Delivering Sustainable Apparel
I invite you to read our report and learn more about how we are Making Apparel Better. Our achievements are a result of the commitment of our management and employees to help Gildan play a leading role in the industry and distinguish ourselves through our actions.
I would like to thank all the people that contributed to these achievements, and to our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders for trusting us to continue delivering value in everything we do.
Glenn J. Chamandy,
President and Chief Executive Officer
I am pleased to deliver our 2017 Genuine Responsibility Report, based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Comprehensive option that showcases our results, highlights our challenges and provides detailed information related to the wide variety of initiatives we have undertaken in 2017.
Last year was again marked by significant growth at Gildan, with the successful integration of three acquisitions and the construction of a state-of-the-art textile facility in Honduras. Aside from delivering on our CSR programs this year, we conducted our second materiality assessment to help identify the social, environmental and economic issues that are most critical to the long-term success of our business.
The social issues of highest importance that emerged were human and labour rights, health and safety as well as traceability. For the environment, the most pressing issues were water utilization, wastewater management and chemical safety. The identification of these issues has helped guide our efforts in setting our strategic priorities and key focus areas for the coming years.
As part of our efforts this past year we have also mapped our priorities to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are detailed in the Strategy section. We have set aspirational goals to contribute to these areas in a way that leverages our scale, our strengths and our collaboration with suppliers, partners, NGOs and industry groups.
Investing in Our People
We believe that by providing employees with good quality employment opportunities in safe and supportive work environments, we increase the prosperity of not only our employees, but their families and communities. We are very proud to provide opportunities for employees to upgrade their skill sets and education levels through company offered training programs, high school education equivalency programs as well as scholarships for their continued professional development.
Management of water was identified in our materiality assessment as a key focus area in our operations. We are continuously working to increase water efficiency and piloting research projects to reduce our water extraction loads by reintegrating recovered water back into our processes.
In 2017, we successfully reduced our water intensity per kg of production by 10% through continued investments such as the replacement of our jet dyeing machines at our textile facilities in Honduras. These machines harness new technology and mechanical design to significantly decrease the water usage per kg of fabric produced. Another large contributor to this decrease was the installation of controls and flow meters at well pumps in order to better manage water use in our facilities at our Rio Nance complex.
Currently, our wastewater is predominantly managed through our Biotop system which uses gravity, bacteria and sunlight to return clean water back to the environment. We also use biological reactors for some effluent, which relies on biological oxidation to treat the wastewater.
In 2017, we saw a decrease in bunker fuel consumption by 19% when compared to consumption from 2016, mainly attributed to our increased use of renewable energy as a result of improved efficiencies in our biomass boilers.
We continue our efforts to reducing energy intensity in our operations. The main project identified to achieve this target is the installation of high efficiency chillers which run on steam that is produced by our biomass steam generation process. A second project is the installation of hot water heat recovery systems at all of our textile facilities. This process allowed us to generate approximately 3,700,000 m3 of hot water by harnessing thermal energy recovered from within our outgoing wastewater. This project also reduced the heat of the effluent entering the Biotop system, enhancing the efficiency of the overall system as a by-product of the cooler effluent. Other projects undertaken in 2017 included steam and condensate line insulation to minimize thermal loss, lighting retrofits to lower consumption fixtures and improved compressed air management processes.
Contributing to Improved Social Infrastructure in our Communities
Gildan is proud of the positive economic impact we create beyond the scope of our operations and direct employment. Over the last 15 years, we have led the industry in developing local infrastructure in our communities and assisting in the development of local business, with the goal of creating a more sustainable economic environment in these regions. Last year, Gildan’s operations in the region purchased material and services in excess of USD$150 million from Central American and Carribean Basin suppliers.
One of the Company’s initial philosophies in expanding production into the regions where we operate was to “Think globally, Manage locally” by favoring local candidates for management positions. Last year, 83% of all management positions (Director and up) were filled with local talent.
Recognizing that home ownership is an important stepping stone in the evolution of developing countries, we donated U.S. $150,000 in down payments to employees in Honduras seeking to purchase a new home, as part of our Employee Housing program in collaboration with local government initiatives and banking institutions. The program enabled over 240 employees to purchase their first homes.
Gildan also contributed U.S. $518,000 towards the refurbishment of a newborn unit at the Mario C. Rivas Hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras which provides care and services to more than 3,000 infants annually.
Achieving Positive Impacts for All
I am very proud of the progress Gildan has made and the ongoing work we are doing. I believe that the vision of Making Apparel Better will only be achieved through continued collaboration across our value chain and investments in sustainable innovation.
By caring for our people, conserving the environment and creating strong communities we can continue to deliver sustainable growth and generate positive impacts on each of the lives we touch.
Vice President, Corporate Citizenship