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Montreal - Gildan Activewear has released its 16th Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.

The report illustrates Gildan’s approach and commitment to ESG, including highlights of the company’s 2019 results, key priorities, and future commitments towards achieving its vision of 'Making Apparel Better'.

In 2019, the company says it continued to focus on making progress towards fulfilling its 2020 goals centered around three Genuine Responsibility pillars: Caring for People, Conserving the Environment, and Creating Stronger Communities.

“I am pleased to present our newest ESG report,” said Claudia Sandoval, vice president, Corporate Citizenship at Gildan. “Our strategy of owning and operating our facilities has given us the ability to provide rewarding jobs, safe and healthy work environments, and the capability to implement innovative environmental solutions in our operations while continuously improving the lives of our neighbouring communities."

In July 2019, Gildan’s Social Compliance Program was re-accredited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) for the second time after becoming the first basic activewear apparel manufacturer to receive this accreditation in 2007. The re-accreditation comes after an extensive two-year review of the Company’s practices and policies that are in place to ensure fair labour practices across its global supply chain.

Elsewhere, Gildan says it also remains committed to maintaining industry-leading working conditions and labour practices at each of its worldwide locations through creating safe and ergonomic workplaces, respecting human and labour rights and employees’ freedom of association, empowering women, and offering competitive benefits.

In 2019, 96 per cent of Gildan workers were represented by formal Health and Safety committees. The Company provided almost 2.5 million hours of training to its employees and invested $13.9 million in supplemental benefits, which included free onsite medical health care, vaccination and medicine programs, parental leave, financial assistance, subsidized meals, and free transportation at Gildan facilities in Latin America and Asia.

As part of the company’s overall commitment to diversity and inclusion, Gildan also continued to strengthen its focus on women empowerment by continuing to roll-out various training opportunities to uplift women in the workplace at all levels of the organization and by strengthening its relationship with partners such as Catalyst. Through these initiatives, Gildan aims to help elevate and empower women in the workplace while breaking down any barriers they may face.

On the environmental front, Gildan says it undertook and made further progress across a range of initiatives this past year, and it achieved two of its 2020 targets early related to water intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which represented an 11.2% and 13.0% reduction from their 2015 baseline, respectively.

Some of its 2019 progress also included continuing to integrate more energy efficient technologies at company-owned facilities, completing the installation of its Biotop filtering system at all textile and hosiery facilities in Honduras, and continuing to replace bunker fuel with biomass for steam production. Gildan also launched its updated Global Environment & Energy Policy, which will help strengthen environmental performance as one of the company’s key priorities. In 2019, 44% of total energy use at Gildan was powered by renewable resources, an area which will continue to remain a large focus for Gildan in the coming years.

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