“Since 2002, our sustainability program has helped guide Gildan’s business operations in all areas related to the integration of environment, social, and governance (ESG) practices into our long-term business strategy. While this has long been a core part of our journey, we recognize that when we talk about sustainability, there isn’t a finish line but rather a continuous path forward with more work to be done.”
A 20-year journey in the making
Gildan’s commitment to ESG started long ago. See the 20-year milestones and achievements that have led to one of the world’s leading ESG programs in the apparel industry today:
Gildan launches its proprietary Biotop system in Honduras, which treats its wastewater completely naturally using sunlight, gravity, and bacteria to return clean water to the environment.
Gildan launches its Code of Ethics to maintain high ethical standards in all of its operations and business practices worldwide. In addition, Gildan receives its first Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certification.
Gildan launches its Environmental Policy and Environmental Code of Practice to reinforce the importance of operating responsibly and reducing its impacts on the environment. Gildan also becomes both the first Canadian company and the first manufacturer in the wholesale imprinted activewear industry to become a participating company of the Fair Labor Association (FLA).
Gildan obtains the Standard 100 certification by OEKO-TEX®, one of the world's most well-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. Gildan also launches its proprietary Biotop system in the Dominican Republic and begins the practice of open dialogue with international NGOs. The Company also publishes its first ever Corporate Citizenship report.
Gildan launches its Code of Conduct, a labour practice code that encompasses the principles set forth by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and other organizations focused on proper labour and business practices.
Gildan starts measuring and gathering data on its GHG emissions.
Gildan becomes the first vertically integrated apparel manufacturer to have its social compliance program accredited by the FLA after a three-year review of its entire supply chain. Gildan also launches its Environmental Management System.
Gildan begins reporting its ESG impacts following GRI guidelines and starts participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) with efforts to align disclosing its environmental impacts to CDP standards. For the first time, Gildan is also recognized as one of the companies demonstrating leading practices related to environment, social, and governance (ESG) in Honduras by the FUNDAHRSE CSR Seal. Finally, Gildan conducts its first Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to better understand the impacts of its supply chain.
Gildan launches its biomass steam generation facility to incorporate renewable energy into its operations. Gildan also initiates its partnership with the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina State University to develop an ergonomic program for manufacturing employees.
Gildan develops its first ESG database to track and measure results in order to optimize performance.
Gildan begins tracking its water consumption.
Gildan sets its first five-year environmental targets. The Company is also included on the RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook for the first time.
Gildan is one of only two North American companies to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in the Textiles, Apparel, and Luxury Goods sector.
Gildan conducts its first materiality assessment to obtain a better understanding of what is most relevant to the Company’s key stakeholders.
Gildan sets its second round of five-year environmental targets.
Gildan launches its Human and Labour Rights Policy to reinforce its commitment to upholding and respecting human rights – as established in the United Nations (UN) International Bill of Human Rights – and to demonstrate the measures it takes for identifying, preventing, and mitigating the risks of human rights violations in its operations and those of its third-party contractors.
Gildan further reinforces its ESG commitments by aligning them with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also launches its first women empowerment program.
Gildan launches new energy efficiency systems in its textile facilities to conserve water and reduce energy consumption. Gildan also signs onto the new American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and FLA’s Apparel and Footwear Industry Commitment for Responsible Recruitment, a proactive industry effort to address potential forced labour risks for migrant workers in the global supply chain.
Gildan is included in the leadership band in CDP’s scores for Corporate Transparency and Action on Climate Change. Gildan also joins Ethisphere’s Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), a global community of companies who recognize the value of ethical leadership and who work together to move their businesses forward with ethics and integrity.
Gildan is named one of the 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World by The Wall Street Journal, claiming the sixth spot among the top 10 companies in the business model/innovation sub-ranking. Gildan also initiates a humanitarian aid plan to support employees and help local communities affected by the damages of hurricanes Eta and Iota.
In 2021, Gildan claimed 8th position on the Investor Business Daily's Top 100 ESG Companies of the Year ranking. That year, Gildan also become a member of The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, effectively reinforcing Gildan’s commitment to source and use sustainably grown and ethically harvested cotton.