Gildan Activewear has pledged that ethical practices and sustainability would play “a pivotal role in driving our growth” as it published its 20th environmental, social and governance (ESG) report.

The 2023 report, published this week, highlights Gildan’s continued progress against key targets for tackling climate change, such as using more sustainable raw materials and recycled polyester in its garments.

Over the past year, it increased energy efficiency and continued to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Examples include biomass boilers to help power textile operations in Honduras and the Dominican Republic and investing in solar energy in Bangladesh.

As part of its efforts to source more sustainable raw materials, 35.7% of its cotton supply came from suppliers certified by the US Cotton Trust Protocol (USCTP) and Better Cotton in 2023 – up from 21.7% in 2022.

Gildan increased its consumption of recycled polyester, including in its 18000 Heavy Blend Fleece Collection where the amount of recycled polyester used was doubled from 9.5% to 19% out of a total garment blend of 50%.

Altogether, the number of Gildan styles incorporating recycled polyester fibre or yarns across its brands grew from 65 to 150 styles, representing a 130% increase over 2022.

To support recycling efforts, Gildan launched a partnership between its Gold Toe brand and TerraCycle – a company that focuses on finding innovative and creative ways to recycle hard-to-recycle materials. During the partnership’s first full year, 4.79 metric tonnes of socks were collected for recycling.

Gildan celebrated progress towards gender parity within the organisation, achieving 34.3% female representation at the collective group of director level and above during 2023, up from 30.3% in 2022.

In addition, 85% of hourly employees who participated in Gildan’s first Global Engagement and Inclusion Survey for Hourly Employees reported that they believed Gildan was an inclusive place to work.

In its ESG Report, Gildan restated its commitment to achieving its goal of reducing its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2030. In 2023, it added a goal to reduce its Scope 3 GHG emissions by 13.5% by 2030.

Gildan CEO and president Glenn Chamandy said: “Remaining faithful to our fundamental commitment to operating responsibly, I firmly believe that ESG plays a pivotal role in driving our growth and our ability to deliver long-term value.

“Reflecting on our progress and recognising that sustainability is not a goal but a journey, we are committed to continue to innovate and evolve, ensuring that ESG remains central to our strategy as we work to build a more sustainable and equitable future for generations to come.”