Gildan Activewear – The Journey of Providing Sustainable Apparel

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It’s high time to use sustainable practices in every industry. Gildan Activewear is one such firm that uses eco-friendly methods to protect the environment.

Gildan Activewear Inc. is a Canadian clothing maker. Glenn and Greg Chamandy established it in 1984 with the purchase of a knitting mill in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They produce fabric for Harley Inc., the family's existing childrenswear company. Blank undecorated activewear such as t-shirts, sports shirts, and fleeces are among the items available. Screen printing companies then decorated them with designs and logos. It later expanded to sell 100% cotton t-shirts to wholesalers. They then resold them to screen printers in the United States and Canada for printing designs and logos. By 1994, Harley had been closed in order to concentrate on the growth of what had become Gildan Activewear. The company now employs around 44,000 people worldwide.

Gildan Activewear Journey to Sustainable Clothing

Climate change and global warming necessitate immediate and long-term solutions. Every person is responsible for contributing whatever he or she can. Large corporations, industries, and builders, in particular, must take note of this concerning situation. It is no longer acceptable to engage in unsustainable practices. Every industry must consider it. They must transition to more eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives. Gildan, a clothing producer, has taken this matter seriously. It is on its way to providing sustainable Gildan activewear for all. It has also made efforts in terms of resources and production. If you want to know what Gildan has done for the environment so far, keep reading.

Gildan's Environmental Concerns

It has been 20 years, and Gildan is still working to understand its impact on nature. It takes steps to reduce its negative impacts. The decisions are based upon 20 years of measuring, monitoring, and optimizing reports. It was certainly not easy, but Gildan's perseverance paid off. They have made several improvements to the production of Gildan activewear and other products. They have successfully established themselves as the world's most sustainable and efficient outfit producers.

Gildan's Concerns About Climate Change and Energy

Gildan is one of the first companies to acknowledge the reality of climate change. Climate change has no specific victims; it affects all of us. In this context, the company took steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). It is doing so by increasing energy programs whenever and wherever possible. It has attempted to transition to renewable energy resources and reduced its reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy is a more sustainable resource that reduces GHG emissions. According to Gildan's annual reports:

  • It has converted 39% of its energy sources to renewables.
  • It has received a B grade from the Carbon Disclosure Project for water security and climate change (CDP).
  • It has decreased the consumption of bunker oil by 35% as compared to 2018.

Gildan's Adoption of Renewable Energy

Gildan activewear has switched its production to renewable energy resources. It uses agricultural, factory, and process waste that includes cotton waste, cardboard, paper, and wood byproducts. It has outfitted the factory with high-efficiency boilers. Those boilers help to burn the biomass. The thermal energy and steam produced then aid in production processes. This renewable source accounts for around half of the total energy generated for production purposes.

This carbon-neutral process also aids in the prevention of organic compounds from entering landfills. When organic matter enters landfills, it begins to decompose and emits GHGs. In fact, the ashes produced by biomass combustion are also beneficial. They have low sulfur levels. Therefore, they work as an effective fertilizer for farming.

Condensate Return Program at Gildan

Steam energy is a critical component of the heat transfer process. Gildan obtains a condensate as a byproduct of this process. This condensate is a mix of warm water and chemical additives. The company does not waste this, instead repurposes it for steam production. In this way, the cost of steam production reduces to one-third, in comparison to the cost of producing steam from new resources.

Heat Recovery Program at Gildan

Every industry necessitates heat systems to generate thermal energy and heat water for dying processes. Instead of using a simple heat system, Gildan employs a special heat recovery system. As a result, the amount of steam required to achieve the desired temperature for the dying process decreases. This system saves water and energy.

Gildan’s Absorption Chillers

Gildan has built-in special absorption chillers. Their purpose is to absorb the thermal energy of steam and convert it into water. This cool water then powers the factory's air conditioning system. It is an excellent solution to reduce energy consumption. As a result, save energy.

Gildan's Water Management System

The relationship between water and climate is very sensitive. Weather changes are responsible for driving the water cycle, evaporation, and downpour. Therefore, rapid climate change has disrupted the water cycle for decades. Since accessible water resources account for only 3% of the total amount of water on the planet. Climate change has worsen the situation by destroying these resources. In turn, droughts, floods, glacier melting, sea-level rise, and storms have all increased with disastrous effects. Some parts of the world are experiencing above-average rainfall that results in floods. In contrast, many areas of the world face droughts. The melting of glaciers increased over the past two decades. This resulted in a 21% rise in the global sea level. Either extreme is harmful because both would cause water and food shortage.

Water is essential for the production of apparel. For this reason, the firm aims to use the most sustainable methods of water consumption and wastewater cleaning. Gildan's overall annual reports state:

  • Compared to the industry average, Gildan required 9 to 13 liters less water.
  • Water intensity was reduced by 18% between 2018 and 2021.
  • Gildan receives 175,968 cubic meters of water from its Biotope to irrigate its green areas.

Gildan’s Biotope (Waste Water Cleaning System)

Gildan launches its own Biotope system. The biotope is a cutting-edge organic wastewater treatment facility. It treats wastewater with sunlight, gravity, and bacteria. After a thorough cleaning, the company discharges water into the environment. Unlike other companies, it does not harm the environment. Instead, it is good for the ecosystem.

Gildan's Reduction in Water Intensity

Gildan has installed water conservation systems throughout the factory and has integrated various water conservation practices. To the greatest extent possible, it recycles and reuses water.

Last Words

The firm never compromised on the quality despite doing so much for the environment. Every product has its own distinct quality. You can rely on Gildan activewear whether you buy them in bulk or for personal use. It will never disappoint you, so you can have them with complete confidence.