Gildan Activewear continued to make investments in systems, technologies and initiatives toward reducing its carbon footprint and improving water efficiency, in 2021, according to its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report published Friday.
In 2021, the company also continued to focus on ensuring fairness, inclusion and opportunity in its labor practices, including across its supplier base, and on its community engagement work.
Key environmental highlights in 2021 included a deriving 39 percent of Gildan’s energy from renewable sources, an 18 percent reduction in water intensity compared to 2018, a 15 percent decrease in total waste intensity compared to 2018 and a 68 percent reduction in waste clippings compared to 2020.
Gildan prioritizes being an ethical manufacturer by respecting human rights; health and safety; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and communities. In 2021, the company continued to focus on ensuring fairness, inclusion, and opportunity in its labor practices – including across its supplier base – and on its community engagement work.
In the social realm, the company contributed $15.1 million toward in-kind benefits for employees, 98 percent of Gildan workers were represented by formal health and safety committees, and 78 percent of respondents from Gildan’s 2021 employee engagement survey said they believed the company was an inclusive workplace.
In addition, the company steadily increased female representation by 2 percent per quarter at the senior management level, while donating $2.1 million to community partners and $850 million in expenditures in materials and services came with local suppliers.
Gildan, which manufactures basic apparel, markets its products in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America under a portfolio of company-owned brands, including Gildan, American Apparel, Comfort Colors, Goldtoe and Peds, as well as under the Under Armour brand through a sock licensing agreement providing exclusive distribution rights in the United States and Canada. The company’s product offerings include activewear, underwear and socks, sold to a broad range of customers, including wholesale distributors, screenprinters or embellishers, as well as to retailers.
Gildan owns and operates vertically integrated, large-scale manufacturing facilities primarily located in Central America, the Caribbean, North America and Bangladesh. The company said in the report that last year was characterized by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and geo-political and climate uncertainty.
“We are pleased with the work we’ve done to continue playing a role in improving the livelihood of people who make our clothes, protecting the environment, empowering our communities, and increasing the sustainability of our products,” said Glenn J. Chamandy, president and CEO of Gildan. “Our vertically integrated business model continues to be the driving force behind our leading ESG practices and allows us to ensure that our products are made with respect throughout our entire supply chain.”
The company noted that this year it incorporated sustainability linked terms into its credit facility and has tied a portion of CEO and senior executive compensation to the accomplishment of ESG targets. It also cited key governance highlights of 2021 that included nine out of 10 of its board of directors were independent and two-thirds of three board level committees were chaired by women.
The Board Diversity Policy was updated to reflect an expanded definition of diversity and the company committed to a target of achieving at least 30 percent female representation on the board at or prior to the 2023 shareholder meeting.