Water is consumed extensively in our dyeing process. For this reason, we are continually devising ways to minimize our water use and enhance the quality of our wastewater effluent. While our effluent waters are in compliance with local regulations, our goal is to exceed regulatory requirements and to recycle more water throughout the various stages of our manufacturing processes. In addition, we are continuing to research programs designed to enable water recycling. Gildan has established the following target related to water consumption: reduce water intensity resulting from Gildan owned operations by 10% by 2015 from our 2010 baseline. Since 2010, Gildan has decreased its water intensity by 2%.
Gildan’s 2010 baseline year numbers have been normalized according to an adjusted baseline including Gildan’s mergers, acquisitions and divestitures since 2010. For more details on the methodology used for baseline adjustment, please refer to our reporting section.
In 2012, the global water consumption from all facilities and offices was approximately 13,214,401 m3.
Based on the U.S. Environment Protection Agency’s Best Management Practices for Pollution Prevention in the Textile Industry, our water consumption represents a good average for the textile industry. Gildan sources the vast majority of its water needs from wells (99%) and only a small percentage from the city (1%).
The textile facilities consume 88.2% of Gildan’s total water demands, mostly resulting from the dyeing process.
It is important to note that no water source is significantly affected by the withdrawal of water: our withdrawal amounts are below 5% of the annual average volume of any given water body. We do not withdraw water from any Ramsar-listed wetlands or water bodies that are recognized as being particularly sensitive.
As demonstrated in our first life cycle assessment (LCA), which was conducted in 2010, water consumption and disposal have significant environmental impacts. We are continuing to focus our efforts on reducing water use.
In 2010 and 2011, we completed the testing phase of our brine recovery system in Honduras, which will recycle the salt and water used in the dyeing process, which consumes a significant amount of water. The purpose of this system is to mechanically recover the salt from the dyehouse effluents that contain the highest concentration of salt, in order to reuse it in various stages of our dyeing process. Once this system is fully functional, both our water and salt consumption will decrease. In 2012, we started the construction of the system for one of our textile facilities in Honduras and we expect the system to be fully functional by the end of 2013. The system will then be implemented at the other textile facilities in Honduras and in the Dominican Republic by the end of 2014. We expect that this system will allow us to reach our 10% water consumption reduction target.