As one of the world’s largest vertically-integrated manufacturers of everyday family apparel, we understand that employing strong ESG practices is not only our responsibility but a critical driver of our overall success and a key element for future growth. Our commitment to operating responsibly and sustainably is embedded in our business strategies and powered by the culture we have fostered since the Company’s inception 35 years ago.
At Gildan, we believe that the world of apparel is changing rapidly, where consumers are increasingly asking brands to demonstrate strong commitments to sustainability and transparency. Since we have direct control over almost every step of the manufacturing process, from yarn-spinning to finished garments, we are well positioned to meet those evolving demands. Our history shows us that investments we make in sustainable solutions and technologies, to drive continuous improvements and operational efficiencies, deliver value to our people, the planet and our shareholders.
Our people remain the heart and soul of our Company and the health and safety of our employees and the work environments we provide is a main focus of our programs. We believe that by providing employees with safe jobs, fair wages and opportunities for development, both personal and professional, we contribute to the prosperity of not only our employees, but their families and ultimately their communities.
Gildan is also proud of the positive economic impact we create beyond the scope of our operations and direct employment. Over the last 15 years, we have been a leader in developing local infrastructure in our communities and assisting in the development of local industries, with the goal of creating a more sustainable economic environment in these regions. For example, last year Gildan’s operations in Central America and the Caribbean Basin purchased close to $200 million of materials and services from suppliers in these regions.
I am happy with the progress Gildan has made, and the ongoing work we are doing, but know that we have more to do. We are committed to working diligently towards our 2020 goals, by remaining adaptable to changing conditions and market realities. I believe that the vision of Making Apparel Better™ will only be achieved by harnessing the power of our people, fostering continued collaboration across our value chain, and continuing to invest in sustainable innovation.
Glenn J. Chamandy
President and Chief Executive Officer
I would like to welcome you to our 2018 Genuine Responsibility™ website. I am very proud of the efforts we have undertaken this year and pleased to share our results with you in our 15th consecutive report, which has been prepared under the framework of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Comprehensive Option.
Over the last year, we have continued to concentrate our efforts on those issues most material to our stakeholders, including a critical focus on human and labour rights, health and safety as well as traceability. With respect to the environment, energy and water optimization, wastewater management and chemical safety were key areas of focus.
Caring for Our People
Our people are simply the most important resource we have. They play a crucial role in our current success and help drive our future growth. Our commitment to them is to create programs that will empower them to reach their potential, share in our success and build strong, healthy and vibrant communities where we operate. This we do while always ensuring their rights are protected, that we treat them with respect and dignity and that we enable them to grow personally and professionally as a result of working for our Company.
Conserving the Environment
Our business model, of owning and operating the facilities where the majority of our products are made, positions us well to invest in and positively influence the environmental impacts of our operations and business. Our strategy is to leverage developing technology, our large scale and innovative sustainable solutions to reduce our impacts, use resources more efficiently, recycle and repurpose wherever possible and create positive impacts where we can.
Creating Stronger Communities
Gildan believes that we have a responsibility to be an active participant in the communities where we operate, beyond the direct employment impacts we deliver. This starts with buying locally wherever possible, a directive which not only benefits Gildan by reducing lead times and costs, but also allows suppliers to build capacity in the regions where we operate. We also continue to partner with community organizations to target and respond to the different needs in the regions where we operate. Through various projects, we donated close to $2 million to these communities in 2018, and have been able to count on our employees’ involvement to generate a sustainable impact. I am pleased by our results and, along with our team, feel encouraged for the future as we continue to pursue our goals. In the coming months, we understand that we have much more work to do, as we all drive towards our vision of Making Apparel Better™.
Vice President, Corporate Citizenship