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Water

As an apparel company that is committed to sustainable operations, Gildan understands that the way in which its produces its clothing has a direct impact on the environment in which we live and work. 

As water conservation is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face, Gildan is always working to improve the efficiency of its water use and increase its ability to reduce its water use by reintegrating recovered water back into its processes.

By 2020 Gildan will reduce its water intensity by 10% per kg of product, from our owned operations, when compared to our 2015 baseline year.

Since 2015, Gildan has decreased its water intensity by 5%. The replacement of our jet dyeing machines at our textile (Rio Nance 1) facility in Honduras as a result of a refurbishment effort has contributed to helping us reduce our water consumption. 

Other projects identified in order to achieve this goal include the installation of controls at well pumps in order to prevent overflow and the installation of timer controls and flow meters in order to better manage water use in our facilities at our Rio Nance complex.

For more details on this project, please refer to our Water Efficiency section below.

  • Water Consumption

    Global water consumption from all facilities and offices was 19,230,770 m3 in 2016.

    Based on the Sustainable Action & Vision for a better Environment; Footwear, Apparel & Accessories Industry Sustainability Guideline Vol. 2,  our average global water consumption for the dyeing of our textiles is 56-57 liters of water per kilogram of product.  In the apparel industry, by comparison, the average water usage to create a white cotton t-shirt is approximately 65-70 liters per kg of product. As such, our average global water consumption represents a good average for the textile industry. Please note that the average global water consumption reported in the Metrics section is higher as it is representative of all our business operations and not only our textile facilities. 

    Gildan sources the vast majority of its water needs from wells (96%) and only a small percentage is supplied by the city (4%). The textile facilities consume 74% of Gildan’s total water demands, mostly as a result of our dyeing process.

    It is important to note that we ensure our water usage does not significantly affect any water source. Additionally, we do not use water from any Ramsar-listed wetlands, or from water bodies that are recognized as being particularly sensitive.

    Gildan’s numbers have been normalized according to an adjusted baseline to include mergers, acquisitions and divestitures since 2015. For more details on the methodology used for the baseline adjustment, please refer to our Reporting section.

  • Water efficiency

    In 2010, Gildan first established five-year environmental goals based on its environmental footprint. These goals included a 20% water reduction in water intensity per kg of product. Over the 2010-2015 periods, Gildan achieved a decrease in its water intensity by 17% per kg of production, which translated into savings of approximately 3.85 million cubic meters of water or the equivalent of over 1,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

    At Gildan, our vertically integrated business model allows us to have visibility over the complete production process, allowing us to directly control the environmental impacts associated with each step, including the use of water and the treatment of wastewater. With our continuous improvement mindset, we are always experimenting with more efficient processes in our operations. In 2015, we introduced our second set of 5-year targets that included an additional 10% reduction of our water intensity by 2020.

    As demonstrated in the various life cycle assessments (LCAs) that we have conducted in the past years, water consumption and disposal have significant environmental impacts. We continue to focus our efforts on reducing water use.

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