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Gildan Reveals Next-Gen ESG Strategy and Sustainability Targets

Gildan Activewear Inc. updated its environmental and social governance (ESG) strategy and sustainability goals.

Embedded in the new approach is a commitment to making meaningful advancements by 2030 in areas such as decarbonizing its supply chain in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi); innovating and investing in water reduction initiatives; a heightened focus on circularity and sourcing sustainable raw materials; strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion by setting a first-time goal on gender parity, and a disclosure plan to align with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

“From our beginning, we have been re-imagining and building the future of responsible apparel manufacturing. This has made Gildan the company it is today, recognized for the apparel we make and how we make it,” Glenn Chamandy, president and CEO of Gildan, said. “ESG has always been integrated into our business strategy and reflected in our market offering. This next generation strategy will push us to deliver even stronger ESG performance and continue to reinforce Gildan as a leading ethical, sustainable, and efficient apparel company.”

Gildan’s new strategy seeks to tackle global environmental and social priorities aimed at improving the lives of people who make Gildan garments, further protecting the environment, empowering neighboring communities and increasing the sustainability of products delivered to customers worldwide.

“We are incredibly proud to unveil our new strategy and goals that were strategically developed to target key material issues that are currently faced by Gildan and, more broadly, the world,” said Peter Iliopoulos, senior vice president of taxation, sustainability and governmental affairs at Gildan. “As a global, leading vertically integrated apparel manufacturer, Gildan has an opportunity to further its positive contributions in areas in which we can have the most meaningful impact, and from there have developed actionable key targets.”

In the areas of climate, energy and water, Gildan aims to reduce its scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030, aligned with the SBTi and the level of decarbonization required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. To that effect, Gildan has signed the SBTi commitment letter, joining companies worldwide in following a science-based approach in reducing carbon emissions.

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Gildan also commits to addressing water-related risks linked to climate change. As such, it plans to further invest in water efficiency and implement additional water reducing, reusing and recycling options in its operations with the goal to attain a 20 percent reduction in water withdrawal from nature by 2030.

Gildan commits to fostering a circular economy to reduce its environmental impact. In doing so, Gildan intends to source more sustainable and transparent raw materials and enhance sustainable waste management initiatives. This includes sourcing 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2025 and 30 percent recycled polyester or alternative fibers and/or yarns by 2027. The company also plans to achieve zero manufacturing waste by 2027 and to use 75 percent recycled or sustainable packaging and trim materials by 2027.

Gildan commits to continue ensuring human rights are respected in its supply chain and will push health and safety performance to new standards by working to improve employee safety and reducing workplace risks across its operations. To achieve this, Gildan plans to attain the ISO 45001 certification at all its company-owned and operated facilities by 2028.

Gildan owns and operates vertically integrated, large-scale manufacturing facilities which are primarily located in Central America, the Caribbean, North America and Bangladesh.

On diversity, equity and inclusion, the company is setting a first-time goal to improve gender parity. Gildan has already attained gender parity globally in manager level and less senior positions, and by 2027 plans to achieve gender parity for roles at the director level and above.

Gildan also commits to positively impacting economic development in regions where the company operates with meaningful community engagement. Gildan intends to incrementally increase allocation of capital toward purposeful and value-driven projects in regions where it operates and to gradually reach a contribution of 1 percent of its pre-tax earnings by 2026. In parallel, the company will also engage its workers, and continue to facilitate and encourage employee volunteerism at all levels to further deepen local impact.

A key part of Gildan’s accountability in reaching these targets will be to transparently share the journey with stakeholders. To that effect, Gildan also commits to further enhancing and strengthening its ESG disclosure across its areas of focus, effectively allowing stakeholders to make more informed ESG-focused decisions and maintaining a high degree of trust and understanding of Gildan.

This year, Gildan is planning to further enhance alignment with the TCFD framework through a subsequent disclosure in a stand-alone report that will detail its climate-related governance, strategy, risk management and metrics, and targets.

“We are confident that this new strategy will propel our efforts to greater heights and allow us to become a stronger and more resilient company,” said Claudia Sandoval, vice president of corporate citizenship at Gildan. “We are developing clear and credible roadmaps to address the challenges and opportunities we face to continue to make meaningful positive impacts, and we won’t be doing it alone. Our success depends on the collaboration of all key stakeholders, and we are excited to foster and leverage a global, collaborative approach to bring our goals to life.”

Gildan manufactures everyday basic apparel and markets its products in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America under a diversified portfolio of company-owned brands, including Gildan, American Apparel, Comfort Colors, Prim + Preux, Goldtoe, Anvil by Gildan, Alstyle, Secret, Silks, Secret Silky, Therapy Plus, Peds and MediPeds, and under the Under Armour brand through a sock licensing agreement providing exclusive distribution rights in the United States and Canada.

Its product offering includes activewear, underwear, socks, hosiery and legwear products sold to a broad range of customers, including wholesale distributors, screen printers or embellishers, as well as to retailers that sell to consumers through their physical stores and/or e-commerce platforms, and to global lifestyle brand companies.