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Hanesbrands Reports Sustainability Progress With Cotton, Energy and More

Hanesbrands Inc., which makes everyday apparel under brands such as Hanes, Champion and Bonds, released its “2021 Sustainability Summary Report” outlining progress and plans toward reaching its sustainability goals by 2030.

In late 2020, Hanesbrands set sustainability goals around the three “People, Planet and Product” pillars. Last year, the company announced its Full Potential growth plan, including a commitment to building a more sustainable business, as well as investment in the company’s employees.

“At HanesBrands, sustainability is integrated into everything we do–from our iconic brands to sourcing our materials to manufacturing our great products,” said Steve Bratspies, CEO of Hanesbrands. “We’re proud of our leadership in this area and we know there is more to do. Most importantly, I want to thank our 59,000 passionate associates for the progress we’ve made so far and for their continued commitment to creating a more comfortable world for everybody.”

Highlights of the 2021 Sustainability Summary Report include areas defined by the company as “People, Planet and Product.”

In people, the company noted that 1.4 million lives have been impacted by Hanesbrands’ philanthropic initiatives and associate and community programs. The company has also donated 9.4 million items of essential clothing to 80 organizations and 49 percent of U.S. leaders at senior manager level and above are women.

For the planet, Hanesbrands has achieved an 11 percent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions, with 2019 serving as a baseline, and set science-based emissions reduction targets for 2030. In addition, 48 percent of electricity came from renewable sources in 2021 and 92 percent of waste was diverted from landfills.

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In product, 61 percent sustainable cotton was used in Hanesbrands merchandise. This includes U.S. and Australian cotton–chosen because they follow leading practices on land and water use, employ fewer pesticides and operate under strong and legally required labor regulations–all certified organic cotton and cotton certified by leading international organizations. The company saw a 15 percent reduction in single-use plastics and a 5 percent reduction in packaging weight compared to 2019.

On its HBIsustains website, the company said it aims to use more sustainable versions of cotton and polyester, its most commonly used materials, and will also work to incorporate recyclable materials into single-use plastic packaging, with the aim of eliminating single-use plastic altogether by 2025.

“Going further, we’re committed to helping move our industry to a more circular model where our apparel’s valuable materials and components are recycled or remanufactured into new products instead of contributing to landfills,” the company said. “We’ve made a strong start in 2021, with over 61 percent of our cotton being sustainable, much of it from locations with more sustainable land, water, pesticide and labor practices, such as the U.S. and Australia. These locations also allow us to fully trace much of our material flows.”

Hanesbrands said it has been using recycled polyester for more than a decade, and currently uses nearly 17 million pounds of recycled polyester a year in its products. By avoiding processing virgin polyester, we will lower our carbon footprint further and help reduce plastic waste by growing the market for recycled polyester, the company noted.

“By setting challenging goals and reporting against our progress, we are showing our commitment to sustainable practices and continuing our long history of acting responsibly, ethically and with transparency,” said Chris Fox, Hanesbrands’ chief sustainability officer. “This includes impacting the lives of millions of people, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, moving toward 100 percent sustainably sourced cotton and ensuring we have a diverse and inclusive team around the world.”