Gildan Activewear has reported that it has made progress on achieving goals for making improvements in its environmental and ethical practices.

In its new 17th Environmental, Social and Government (ESG) report, the Montreal-based clothing manufacturer revealed that it had missed some targets because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and two back-to-back hurricanes in Central America.

However, it increased the amount of energy from renewable sources to 33% and managed to recycle or repurpose 88% of its total waste. From 2015 to 2020, it reduced water intensity by 11.4% and decreased its total waste by 14%.

Gildan continued to pursue its longstanding priority to enforce and protect the fair treatment of the people who manufacture its products throughout its supply chain.

It reported that in 2020 it achieved the vast majority of its social goals and maintained “industry-leading working conditions and labour practices by creating safe and healthy workplaces, respecting human and labour rights and employees’ freedom of association, empowering women and offering competitive benefits”.

Gildan evaluated employee wages in 100% of its own manufacturing facilities using data collection tools developed by the Fair Labor Association (FLA).

By the end of 2020, 53% of employees were covered by a collective bargaining agreement and 97% of employees were represented by formal health and safety committees. Gildan also reported that 207,000 hours of employee training were dedicated to occupational health and safety.

The company donated $1.3million (£945,000) to community projects in regions where Gildan operates. It also activated a humanitarian aid and disaster relief programme to support employees and local communities affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota.

Last year, Gildan mobilised a team of experts to develop and implement stringent biosecurity protocols in its facilities to protect employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gildan remained committed to adopting and adhering to “the highest standards in governance to foster a culture of integrity, accountability and transparency throughout the organisation” because of its belief that “strong and transparent governance practices are an essential factor” in its overall success.

Since 2008, Gildan has disclosed its ESG performance according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards (Comprehensive), but for the first time in 2020, it disclosed its data aligned with the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards.

Another ESG achievement in 2020 was the completion of Gildan’s first climate change disclosure in support of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework.

Key 2020 governance highlights include two-thirds of Gildan’s three board level committees being chaired by women, while nine out of 10 of Gildan’s board of directors were independent.

On the board, 40% of directors identified as being a member of a “designated group” as defined by the Canadian Employment Equity Act, with three directors identified as being women and one identified as a member of a visible minority group.

Gildan is a leading manufacturer of undecorated blank activewear such as T-shirts, sports shirts and fleeces, distributed in the UK to decorators for customisation.

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