Message from Management
Message from the President and CEO
As awareness of global environmental and social issues grows, consumers are increasingly seeking out companies that are genuinely committed to positive social and environmental impacts. In parallel, investors are looking for companies with leading sustainability programs because they usually co-exist with strong operational performance and long term financial success. Since the inception of our Company, our goal has been to operate the most cost and resource efficient manufacturing facilities, producing responsibly-made apparel, embedding social and environmental responsibility into the long-term strategy of the business.
One of the ways we strive to reach this goal is through our vertically-integrated manufacturing model, which allows us to directly influence virtually all of our manufacturing processes – from raw cotton to final products. This model enables us to uncover and direct positive environmental and social impacts throughout our entire supply chain and continuously set high standards in our manufacturing processes. Through this direct ownership of our facilities, we can also ensure that our employees are provided with ethical, safe and healthy work environments and that we become a valued member of the communities where we operate.
In 2015, we continued expanding our vertical integration and broader control of the complete process with our investments in US-based yarn-spinning operations, with the full ramp up of a new yarn-spinning facility in Salisbury, NC and the introduction of our largest new yarn-spinning facility in Mocksville, NC. Our commitment to these US facilities is testimony to our confidence in and support of US cotton growers, who provide sustainably grown and ethically-harvested cotton. Extending our vertical integration into this first stage of textile and apparel production provides us with direct influence over a key step in our value chain and increases our ability to manage the environmental and social impacts of our overall operations.
2010-2015 Environmental Goals
Our five-year environmental goals have created a mindset for our organization which is relentlessly focused on uncovering all opportunities to improve our efficiencies and reduce our environmental footprint. As such, we have continued to invest in new environmental technologies and infrastructure which have led to major improvements in the way we manage natural resources and impacts to the environment.
I am very proud to announce that at the end of 2015, we have made strong progress on our 2010-2015 environmental goals. First, we successfully reduced our greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 34%, surpassing our goal of 20%, largely through the use of biomass as a replacement for bunker fuel. The use of biomass has also contributed to our clean energy goals, with 51% of our energy needs now met through the use of renewables.
One of the biggest environmental challenges in manufacturing textiles globally remains water usage and although we do not operate in regions of water scarcity, we have pioneered numerous technologies in this area. I am pleased to report that since 2010, we were successfully able to reduce our water usage by 17%, thus exceeding our goal of 10% reduction. Major projects to reduce our water consumption included the brine recovery system, which recycles water for reuse in our processes, and the replacement of our jet dyeing machines at our latest refurbished textile facility (Rio Nance 1) in Honduras.
During this five year period, we recycled or repurposed close to 89% of our total waste and reduced waste to landfill by 19%, essentially achieving our 2015 target, thanks to initiatives such as integrated waste management systems and increased employee awareness. Furthermore, we are pleased to have achieved an overall reduction of energy per kg of product of 14%. The main project to reach this target is the installation of high efficiency steam absorption chillers which run on steam produced by our biomass steam generation expansion. We expect the project to be fully ramped up during the course of 2016, and thus, expect to see a significant reduction in energy use, allowing Gildan to use 100% of steam from biomass to chill water, which was previously done by using purchased electricity.
Continuing to lead the way in the apparel industry
Our sights are now set on achieving our 2020 environmental goals: a 10% reduction in water, energy use and GHG emissions intensity per kg of product, as well as a 10% reduction in waste sent to landfill, from our 2015 baseline. Given the significant progress that we have already made in our environmental metrics over the last five years, these incremental gains will take innovative, forward thinking to achieve, but we are excited to embark on this challenge.
Our sustainability performance was recognized externally once again through our inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for the third consecutive year. We remain the only North American company in the Textiles, Apparel and Luxury Goods industry group to be included in the DJSI World Index.
This remarkable progress on our sustainability goals was made possible through the enthusiasm and commitment of each of our 42,000 employees, exemplifying, each and every day, the values underlying our mission of manufacturing apparel responsibly and sustainably. I want to thank all our employees, in addition to our customers, shareholders, partners and suppliers for their contribution to these important efforts.
Glenn J. Chamandy
President and Chief Executive Officer