NON ORGANIC COTTON MANUFACTURER INFORMATION
We offer both Cotton and Organic Cotton options for our clothing. For Organic the title says 'Organic' within it
For our 100% Cotton tees we use Gildan, who have won multiple awards for their sustainability, and are committed to Responsible manufacturing plus giving back to the communities they operate in.
Energy Efficiency & Climate Change
Climate change is a reality that affects our lives and could present challenges to our business in the future. In our operations and business, the largest impact on climate stems from our energy consumption and as such, the Company has invested significantly in technologies and initiatives to improve our energy efficiency, increase energy generation from renewable sources and optimize the capture of thermal energy throughout our processes. We remain committed to pursuing continuous improvements in every step of the process and investing in new technologies to further reduce our overall footprint.
As a vertically-integrated manufacturer with oversight over the entire manufacturing process of making our products, we are able to uncover efficiencies most companies cannot even see.
Our Absolute Energy consumption is directly connected to our greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on climate change. Our main sources of energy include biomass, electricity and bunker fuel. In 2018, our energy intensity decreased by 5% when compared to 2017 but increased by 3% when compared with our 2015 baseline. This increase is largely attributable to overall volume increases, the integration of energy intensive yarn-spinning operations into our owned manufacturing network and the use of bunker fuel during the ramp-up process of our new Rio Nance 6 textile facility.
Condensate is the hot liquid by-product resulting from steam energy that has been used in a heat transfer process. Condensate is warm water containing chemical additives that can be reused to produce steam, at just one-third of the cost of generating steam from fresh water and new chemicals.
In 2018, our condensate return rates at our textile and hosiery facilities in Central America and the Caribbean Basin increased to 95%, and to 90% at our Bangladesh integrated facility, which translates into substantial conservation of both energy and water.
In our operations, GHG emissions are directly related to management of our energy usage and the sources of our energy. Our primary focus in this area has been to maximize the amount of renewable energy we consume, through the investments we have made in our Biomass steam generation systems and related initiatives. We have also initiated several projects to capture thermal energy created within our processes and redistribute it to other systems to lower our overall energy needs.
In 2018, we met our 10% reduction target for GHG emissions, largely due to a change in the methodology used to calculate our emissions.
Biomass System – Using Renewable Energy to Produce Steam
As the largest contributor of renewable energy, the Company’s Biomass systems in Honduras and the Dominican Republic generate steam and thermal energy from burning agricultural and production waste within highly efficient boilers. These systems in combination with others allowed the Company to generate 40% of its total energy needs through renewable sources.
The Biomass process is considered carbon neutral because it prevents organic materials from entering landfills where dangerous GHGs would be emitted during the decomposition phase. The ash created during the process remains organic and serves as an effective fertilizer, with low levels of sulphur, for local agricultural processes.
Thermal Energy Recovery
Thermal energy generated within our Biomass systems largely serves to create steam for our dyeing and finishing processes as well as to create heat for our fabric dryers and power ancillary systems through the textile processes of our operations. We have introduced innovative technologies to capture the thermal energy from these processes and repurpose it into a variety of applications to reduce our overall energy requirements.
One example of this is the integration of outbound effluent piping into the center of inbound water pipes. This allows us to transfer the thermal energy from our effluent and use it to start the process of heating the inbound water effectively for free. Hot water heat recovery systems such as this have been implemented at all of our textile facilities. This process allowed us to capture the thermal energy within our effluent and heat 5,100,000 m3 of water using only the energy within our waste water in 2018. This project contributed to the reduction of approximately 195,000 tons of steam no longer required to heat the volume of water previously listed which generated energy GHG emissions’ savings equivalent to taking 4,400 cars off the road for a year.
To optimize our energy use, we have installed absorption chillers that convert the thermal energy from within our steam to create cool water for many of our facilities’ air conditioning systems. This system generated the energy savings equivalent of avoiding the use of 2.9 million gallons of fossil fuels in 2018.
2nd biological reactor installed
at our Rio Nance complex to treat water
9-13 liters less water needed
in the making of a white cotton t-shirt when compared to the industry average
40 days needed
to treat wastewater through the Biotop system
Water is a big part of the apparel industry, starting from the cotton grown at the start of the process, through to the washing and drying in the consumer-use phase.
From 2010-2015, we invested in systems and technology that allowed us to reduce our water usage intensity by 17%, saving the equivalent of 1,500 Olympic swimming pools in the process. We have set a goal to reduce water intensity resulting from our owned operations, per kg of product, by 10% from 2015-2020.
We are focused on pursuing more ways to improve our water usage and will continue to pursue new technology and enhanced natural chemistry to achieve our goal.
The Biotop, located in our Honduran and Dominican Republic manufacturing hubs, is our innovative biological wastewater treatment system. The natural system treats wastewater through a series of interconnected lagoons that contain bacteria which virtually eliminates all dyes and chemicals and uses no incremental energy to process the water. Over a thirty to forty-day cycle, water flows through the system where a variety of bacteria, microorganisms, fish and wildlife coexist to naturally return clean water, ready to sustain life, to the environment. The water that re-enters the local ecosystem is continuously monitored for compliance with local requirements. Our BioTop system is home to 52 animal species in Honduras and to 42 species in the Dominican Republic, including crocodiles, fish and several species of native birds.
In the past two years, we introduced a filtering system within the BioTop process to capture the fibre lint within the effluent, which is then repurposed as a fuel stock within our Biomass steam generation systems.
For effluent that contains specific properties, such as antimicrobial treatments, we alternatively treat the wastewater using biological reactors which work in tandem with the BioTop system to guarantee a continuous and safe wastewater treatment system. This biological oxidation system eliminates all contaminants and returns clean water to the environment
Restricted Substances Code of Practice
Our Restricted Substances Code of Practice (RSCP), revised in 2017 and continuously updated and aligned with industry leading standards, has been integrated into all of our operations, including third-party manufacturing contractors and raw material suppliers, so that we can be sure that no hazardous substances are used in the manufacturing of our products at any point in the supply chain.
The Restricted Substance list is continuously aligned with external guidelines such as the CPSIA, REACH (SVHC list) Washington State and Proposition 65; industry practices such as Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 and customer’s Restricted Substances Lists; chemicals highlighted by NGOs and Textile Sector initiatives such as SIN List and ZDHC. The list also includes other known harmful chemicals (but not legally regulated) as well as substances with possible relevance of health concerns. Our Substances List (pdf) is included for easy reference.
The RSCP has the following benefits:
- It offers our customers products that are clean and safe for their use
- It ensures a safe working environment for our employees
- It minimizes our environmental impact
Gildan® and Anvil® branded product that we manufacture are certified by the internationally-recognized Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 which allows producers and consumers to objectively assess the presence of harmful substances in textiles and apparel products, based on approximately 100 human-ecological and performance-related test parameters.
Our Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certification is supported by robust operational quality assurance measures and is consistent with the Company’s own rigorous RSCP. This certification shows our commitment towards protecting the health of our consumers and employees as well as utilizing environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.
Cotton is the primary fibre used in our products, representing more than two-thirds of our total fibre inputs. Our Company has selected to primarily purchase U.S. cotton because of its high quality and strong environmental sustainability and social responsibility practices. Sustainably grown and ethically-harvested U.S. cotton remains the optimal choice for our products.
Regulated as a food crop under strict U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, cotton grown in the US represents the best combination of quality and value for our products. Under the guidance of the National Cotton Council, the USDA and various other organizations, US farmers have continuously reduced their environmental footprint by adopting a variety of conservation and targeted agricultural practices.
More than 75% of the cotton acreage where the Company’s cotton is grown is irrigated only using naturally occurring rainwater. Conservation agriculture practices and advanced soil monitoring systems have reduced soil erosion and residual impacts on the environment. GPS positioning and advanced delivery systems allow 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 Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations which are likely the most stringent in the global cotton industry.
Our Position on Uzbekistan Cotton
As a matter of principle, 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. In 2013, we established a cotton traceability assessment for our cotton yarn suppliers in order to ensure that yarns supplied did not contain cotton originating from Uzbekistan. As such, we feel confident in stating that there is a low risk of cotton originating from Uzbekistan in any our products.
Waste Management System
At the heart of the Company’s Waste Management System is the 4R-D concept: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, and Disposal. This all-encompassing system includes clearly defined policies and procedures that outline the overall waste classification process, acceptable measures for handling specific waste, site specific information for food, office and production waste, site determination for storing waste where required and clearly defined documentation and reporting processes.
Again this year, we have assessed the results to identify the impacts of our waste streams on our business and the communities where we operate as well as opportunities for improvements within our operations.
To ensure effective waste management is a company-wide priority we launched several waste reduction campaigns in 2018, aimed at raising awareness and integrating effective waste management practices into our daily operations.
We recycle 100% of our cutting room scraps in Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Mexico. These textile clips are used in manufacturing new products such as textiles, socks, industrial materials and mops.
Creating New Partnerships to Recycle Waste
In 2018, we continued to partner with Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie Textile and Design to reduce our sheer hosiery waste by giving it new life. This partnership with Sans Soucie, a zero waste textile and clothing design studio, allows our sheer hosiery offcuts and defects to be transformed into new garments and textiles