Regulated as a food and fibre crop under strict U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards, cotton grown in the USA represents the best combination of quality and value for Gildan’s cotton and cotton blended products. Under the guidance of the National Cotton Council, USDA and various other organisations, US farmers have continuously reduced their environmental footprint by constantly improving their agricultural practices.
Since 2009, Gildan has proudly displayed the Cotton USA mark on consumer’s product packaging and shipping materials. This internationally recognized mark, licensed by the Cotton Council International, symbolizes the inherent benefits that the US Cotton industry delivers by being a highly regulated crop.
Gildan has carefully selected to primarily use US Cotton for the vast majority of its products. We recognize the synergies between the US industry’s social, environmental and agricultural programs and the core values of Gildan’s Genuine Stewardship Program.
Under the guidance of the USDA, the National Cotton Council (NCC) and various other organisations, US Cotton farmers have partnered with industry and academia in order to develop and implement numerous agricultural conservation practices and technologies. These technologies have resulted in a dramatically reduced environmental footprint.
Seed varieties have increased production yields while lowering water, land and energy, and furthermore reducing the frequency and intensity of chemical applications. Conservation agricultural practices and advanced soil monitoring systems have reduced soil erosion and residual impacts on the environment. GPS positioning and advanced delivery systems allows farmers to be more efficient while planting, fertilizing and harvesting, effectively allowing for a reduction in GHG emissions and environmental impacts on the land and neighbouring ecosystems.
US cotton farmers are required to adhere to strict US labour laws and regulations. These regulations are most likely some of the most stringent in the cotton growing industry globally. They provide workers with ethical workplaces and because cotton is regulated as a food crop, workplace health and safety conditions mirror those of the vast majority of the foods we find on our tables.
Some U.S. Cotton facts:
- The US Cotton industry as a whole employs over 126,000 employees, whose farms output is valued in excess of 3.5 billion. The economic impact of all parts of the US Cotton industry are estimated to be in excess of $21 billion*
- U.S. cotton is regulated as a food crop as well as a fibre crop by U.S. regulatory agencies (USDA, USEPA and FDA), It is therefore subject to the same rigorous environmental standards as food producers.
- U.S. Cotton growers offer ethical and safe work environments respecting employee rights according to the laws and regulations as set forth under U.S. law and OSHA.
- U.S. Cotton is a drought and heat-tolerant crop, with two-thirds of a planted acreage requiring no supplemental irrigation in addition to rainfall.
- Two-thirds of U.S. growers use conservation tillage, which saves about 907 million metric tons of soil per year and over one billion litres of tractor fuel. Conservation tillage is a method different than conventional tillage. It reduces soil erosion and therefore nutrient loss. It also increases the soil’s moisture and organic matter content.
- U.S. cotton is a net greenhouse gas (GHG) absorber. More GHGs are absorbed in the fiber, plants and soil than those GHGs emitted during the entire agricultural cycle: field preparation through harvest.
Gildan’s Position on Uzbekistan Cotton
The vast majority of the cotton used by Gildan is produced in the United States. Notwithstanding this fact, we require all our business partners to confirm, by means of a signed statement, that they do not use or procure any cotton fibre originating from Uzbekistan. We continue to work on improving the cotton traceability process for the cotton used for our products. In 2013, Gildan established a cotton traceability assessment for a group of its cotton yarn suppliers in order to ensure that the cotton, yarn or products they supplied did not contain cotton originating from Uzbekistan.
The suppliers included in the assessment were selected according to several risk factors that include their proximity to Uzbekistan, and the quantities of yarn purchased by Gildan or third party contractors manufacturing our products. These assessments have been conducted by a third party since 2014. The assessment consists of a review of the origin documentation provided to Gildan by the yarn suppliers identified. Toward this objective, a country of origin supplier questionnaire and a bale and merge schedule template have been used. The purpose of the questionnaire was to solicit information pertaining to the yarn suppliers’ operation and production processes, including information relative to their suppliers and to confirm the origin of the staple fibers and other raw materials. We completed our assessments and can conclude that there is a low risk of having cotton originating from Uzbekistan in our products. Going forward, we will review the list of our yarn suppliers based on the aforementioned risk approach annually and conduct similar assessments if determined necessary.
Organic t-shirts are part of our Anvil® branded catalogue of products (AnvilOrganicTM). Our organic T-shirts are all made with organic cotton certified under the USDA National Organic Program. Some of the environmental benefits of organic cotton include:
- Reduction in the amount of chemicals entering the air, ground and water;
- The use of farming methods such as crop rotation as a natural way to preserve the soil, avoid pests and cover crops to fertilize the soil;
- The use of insects and other organisms to control pest populations. In addition, the weeding is managed mechanically or by hand rather than using chemical means;
- Avoidance of the use of genetically modified seeds.
The AnvilSustainableTM T-shirt is an innovative product made using 50% organic combed ring-spun cotton and 50% post-consumer P.E.T. recycled polyester fabrics. P.E.T recycled polyester is mostly made of PET plastic bottles. Benefits of recycled polyester include:
- Energy savings (fuel consumption) in the production process of conventional polyester;
- Reduction of GHG emissions and chemicals during production.
Our Code of Conduct, which applies to our own facilities and also our third party suppliers, shows our commitment in adhering to the highest standards with regards to human rights, labour relations and the environment. Gildan is committed to sourcing products and raw materials from suppliers that engage in responsible practices.
In 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) established new requirements under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The new requirements make it mandatory for publicly-traded companies to identify and disclose products that contain “conflict minerals” (the “Conflict Minerals Rule”). Conflict minerals include columbite-tantalite (coltan, i.e. tantalum), cassiterite (i.e. tin), wolframite (i.e. tungsten) and/or gold, as well as their derivatives, originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries. Gildan filed its first disclosure report on May 31, 2016.
Gildan is committed to avoiding the use of conflict minerals in the products we manufacture and source. We have implemented a compliance program in order to meet our obligations under the Conflict Minerals Rule. Tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold are used in the production of Gildan’s products. As such, our compliance program is designed to determine whether these minerals originate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or any adjoining country. The Company determined that it had no reason to believe that the suppliers’ representations generated in the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template were false or inaccurate, and based on such representations determined in good faith that it had no reason to believe that the metallic components used in our products may have originated from the covered countries.
Our compliance program includes the implementation of portions of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, as well as processes to identify whether any conflict minerals have the potential to be present in our products. We require our suppliers to certify in writing that all raw materials or products supplied to us are free of conflict minerals.
Furthermore, Gildan reserves the right at any time to request additional information from suppliers regarding the origin of any raw materials or products containing tantalum, tin, tungsten, or gold.
For more information on Gildan’s position regarding the use of conflict minerals, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.