Gildan was founded on the basic principle that the best strategy was to own its manufacturing facilities, focus on its customers, embrace its entrepreneurial spirit and treat everyone with respect and dignity.
More than 30 years later, these same principles remain in place, continuing to guide Gildan’s business strategies and its vision of ‘Making Apparel Better‘.
Gildan‘s Genuine Responsibility programme, launched more than 15 years ago, incorporates comprehensive elements that govern everything Gildan does in the areas of corporate, social and environmental responsibility. Going well beyond doing the right thing, Genuine Responsibility drives the company to look for new and better ways to reduce its footprint and create positive impacts for its people, their families and the communities where it operates.
Over 90% of Gildan‘s total revenues are generated from products it manufactures in its own facilities. This direct control over the entire process, from raw materials to nished garments, allows Gildan to engineer and implement programmes that keep employees safe and healthy, reduce the company‘s environmental footprint and remain true to the vision of ‘Making Apparel Better‘.
Safe and ergonomic workplaces
Gildan’s focus is on creating safe and healthy workplaces for its 50,000 employees through investments in modern equipment and technology, rigorous health and safety programmes as well as carefully engineered worker ergonomics, material handling and process design.
Gildan‘s manufacturing employees have 24/7 access to free onsite medical clinics which provide primary care, free vaccinations and health awareness campaigns throughout the year. In further support of reducing worker strain and potential injury, employees have access to onsite Schools for Back and Shoulder Health for exercise and preventative awareness programmes.
Gildan believes that all employees should be fairly compensated with a wage that covers their basic needs and provides some discretionary income. The company’s commitment to its employees goes well beyond ensuring fair wages.
Gildan strives to provide benefits that include primary medical care and other wellness programmes, subsidised meals, financial assistance, free transportation and access to training and development programmes that empower employees both professionally and personally. Gildan understands that its comprehensive training and education programmes, high school education equivalency programmes as well as scholarships for employees’ continued professional development hold promise for a better future.
Everyday apparel, done right
Gildan‘s Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics are the key elements that support the company‘s commitment to respecting employees’ rights throughout our operations and global supply chain. The Social Compliance Programme ensures that all of Gildan’s company-owned facilities, as well as its contractors, comply with the Code of Conduct, local and international laws and best practice industry codes.
As one of the world’s largest vertically-integrated manufacturers of textiles and apparel, Gildan’s founding principles drive the company to minimise waste, optimise natural resources and pursue continuous improvements in every aspect of our operations.
Gildan‘s unparallelled investments in sustainable solutions and innovative technologies have helped reduce environmental impacts and drive long-term success. Owning facilities has allowed Gildan to invest in large-scale systems that have reduced water usage in the production of garments by 10% since 2015 and enabled Gildan to power 43% of its energy needs from renewable sources.
Gildan leads the industry with many of innovations such as its BioTop wastewater treatment system that uses bacteria, sunlight and gravity to treat water in a natural process. Additionally, its BioMass steam generation systems use agricultural and operational waste by-products to produce thermal energy. Gildan is also continuously working to increase water efficiency and piloting research projects to reduce its water extraction loads by reintegrating recovered water back into its processes.
Gildan recycles or repurposes 86% of its waste, thanks to its investments in equipment and technology and by engineering manufacturing processes to minimise waste. Gildan also recycles process waste from some products to become partial inputs in the production of other products.
Developing local economies
Gildan is proud of the positive economic impact it creates beyond the scope of its operations and direct employment. Over the last 15 years,Gildan has led the industry in developing local infrastructure in its communities and assisting in the development of local businesses, with the goal of creating stronger communities in these regions.
One of the company’s initial philosophies in expanding production into the regions where it operates was to ‘think globally, but manage locally‘ by favouring local management and supporting the development of local supply chains.
Gildan understands that its company is part of a bigger whole. Gildan believes that proactive stakeholder engagement is a big part of operating responsibly and achieving our goals. The common goals Gildan shares with its stakeholders are improving the lives of the people involved in manufacturing its products, ensuring an ethical and stimulating work environment, and respecting and enhancing the local communities in which it operates.
Gildan is proud to be associated with leading industry standards and NGOs and to participate in global sustainability initiatives such as:
- Fair Labor Association (FLA) • Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) • Oeko-Tex Standard 100 • ILO Better Work – Haiti • Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) • Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX)