Gildan Activewear

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"Gildan" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Gildan, Iran.
Gildan Activewear Inc.
Traded as TSXGIL
S&P/TSX 60 component
Industry Textile, Clothing
Founded 1984
Founder Glenn Chamandy, Greg Chamandy
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Glenn J. Chamandy (CEO), Laurence G. Sellyn (CFO)
Revenue IncreaseUS$ 1.95 billion (FY 2012)[1]
DecreaseUS$ 155.1 million (FY 2012)[1]
DecreaseUS$ 148.5 million (FY 2012)[1]
Total assets IncreaseUS$ 1.9 billion (FY 2012)[1]
Total equity IncreaseUS$ 1.43 billion (FY 2012)[1]
Number of employees
33,000 (2013)[1]
Subsidiaries Anvil Knitwear

Gildan Activewear Inc. is a manufacturer and marketer of branded clothing, including undecorated blank activewear such as t-shirts, sport shirts and fleeces, which are subsequently decorated by screen printing companies with designs and logos. The company also supplies branded and private label athletic, casual and dress socks to retail companies in the U.S.[2] including Gold Toe Brands, PowerSox, SilverToe, Auro, All Pro, and the Gildan brand.[3] The company also manufactures and distributes Under Armour and New Balance brand socks.[4] The company has approximately 33,000 employees worldwide,[1] and owns and operates manufacturing facilities in Central America and the Caribbean.


Glenn and Greg Chamandy founded Gildan in 1984 with the acquisition of a knitting mill in Montreal, Canada.[5]

Gildan Textiles Inc. was founded to make fabric to supply the family childrenswear business, Harley Inc. It later expanded to sell t-shirts made of 100% cotton to wholesalers, which resold them to U.S. and Canadian screen-printers, to be decorated with designs and logos. By 1994, Harley was closed in order to focus on the expansion of what had become Gildan Activewear.[6]

The combination of low wages and advanced technology has allowed Gildan to lower its price per shirt to below that of Chinese manufacturers.[7]

Gildan opened its first off-shore sewing facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in 1997. The plant was vertically integrated and employed 1,200 workers. Over the next year, the company worked towards an IPO and was listed publicly on both the Toronto and American Stock Exchanges (TSX, AMEX). Gildan transferred its US listing from AMEX to the New York Stock Exchange in September 1999.[7]

By 2001, Gildan was the leading distributor of 100% cotton T-shirts in the US as determined by the ACNielsen S.T.A.R.S. Report.[citation needed] The next year, the company opened a knitting, bleaching, dyeing, finishing and cutting facility in Rio Nance, Honduras.[7]

Over the next few years, Gildan continued its expansion by opening sewing facilities in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and a distribution center in Charleston, South Carolina.[8][not in citation given]

In 2010 the company invested $15m in Shahriyar Fabric Industries Limited in Bangladesh to support planned growth in Asia and Europe.[9]

Gildan bought Gold Toe Moretz, a North Carolina-based sock manufacturer, in early 2011. Previously, Gildan had primarily focused on its activewear market share, and had started entering the retail channel with the acquisitions of two sock manufacturers. The Gold Toe acquisition doubled the company’s sock revenue.[10][not in citation given]

In May 2012, Gildan again expanded with its purchase of 130-year old apparel maker Anvil Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Anvil Knitwear and producer of environmentally-friendly lines of sustainable, recycled and organic apparel.

Gildan bought a 30-second spot to air an advertisement during the third quarter of the 2013 Super Bowl. The ad was part of an overall $25 million marketing push created by DeVito/Verdi, which included broadcast, print, digital, event marketing, and public relations. Gildan started speaking to the media about its Super Bowl ad in early December 2012.[11]

The company also sponsored the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, which was played December 15, 2012 in Albuquerque.[12]

Environment and sustainability[edit]

In the past decade, Gildan implemented sustainability initiatives to reduce or eliminate potentially negative effects its facilities might have on the environment. Facilities in Honduras and the Dominican Republic employ Biotop, a biological wastewater management system that uses gravity, microorganisms and sunlight to remove chemicals and dyes from wastewater.[13][not in citation given] When treated by Biotop, the water is beneficial to nearby ecosystems and suitable for use in local agriculture. [14]

Allegations of labor rights violations[edit]

Genesis, S.A. is a Haitian factory manufacturing T-shirts whose main customer is Gildan Activewear. It has been accused as the most serious offender in a campaign of retaliatory dismissals, targeted at the leaders of a new labor rights and union organizing effort in Port-au-Prince.[15]

Harshest working conditions in the global apparel industry[16][edit]

Genesis, S.A. is a Haitian factory manufacturing T-shirts and its only customer is Gildan Activewear.[17] Genesis, S.A. has been the most serious offender in a multi-factory campaign of retaliatory dismissals, targeted at the leaders of a new labor rights and union organizing effort in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Haitian apparel workers receive the lowest wages in the hemisphere and face some of the harshest working conditions anywhere in the global apparel industry.[7]

WRC Report: Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry[edit]

A report titled "Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry," highlights the fact that the "average wages are even lower at the new Caracol Industrial Park despite the fact that the project was heavily subsidized by the United States government with earthquake recovery aid as a means of providing Haitian workers with a path out of poverty."[18]

Corporate citizenship[edit]

In 1994 Gildan became the first wholesale activewear manufacturer to obtain the Oeko-tex standard 100 Certification.[19] Oeko-Tex is a set of uniform safety standards within the textile industry; certification ensures that processes and final products have been tested for harmful substances and found to contain amounts lower than Oeko-Tex’s set limits.

Gildan has its own Social Compliance Program designed to enforce humane standards for working conditions and labor practices.[20] Facilities, including those of external suppliers, are audited for compliance with Gildan’s internal Code of Conduct and adherence to standards of the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).

Gildan was also the first basic activewear manufacturer to be accredited by the FLA. Audits are also performed to ensure compliance with standards of the Fair Labor Association (FLA).[21]

Gildan established medical clinics in its manufacturing facilities that offer free care to employees – for work related accidents as well as non-work related preventative care, including basic prenatal doctor’s visits.[21] Maclean's Magazine cites this as a factor in naming Gildan to its list of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens.[22][not in citation given]

In 2010–2011, Gildan purchased 85% of non-yarn supplies locally in Central America and 76.5% in the Caribbean Basin.[23]


The company launched “I Support...Charity” in 2010 in an effort to promote community involvement and employee participation in choosing the charities that received donations. According to a company press release, Gildan donated $200,000 to various charities as a part of the program in 2011.[14][not in citation given]

Homeboy Industries, which provides employment and services for at-risk and formerly gang-affiliated youth, received a donation of $100,000 as a result of Gildan’s first “I Support... Charity” campaign.[24]

In 2011, the second year of the “I Support” program, Gildan added a new feature called Gildan Good Cards. The cards can be redeemed for a $50 donation to any 501(c)(3) charity and are given to employees who nominate a charity. The Good Cards have the effect of dispersing the company’s philanthropic efforts; while only five nominated charities receive large donations, more than 90 charitable organizations benefitted from Good Card redemptions. The cards resulted in an extra $100,000 distributed among the 90+ additional philanthropies.[25]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL)". Yahoo! Finance. 
  2. ^ "How to coax profit from the market's 'Great Rotation'". Market Watch. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  3. ^ The Free Library
  4. ^ 2011 Annual Report
  5. ^ Wall Street Journal
  6. ^ "HSBC Global Connections — Helping businesses grow internationally". Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  7. ^ a b c Story of Gildan Challenging China
  8. ^ Regional Business Journal
  9. ^ "CANADA: Gildan invests $15m in Bangladesh factory". 2010-03-31. 
  10. ^ Business Week
  11. ^ NY Times
  12. ^,ESPN
  13. ^ New York Times
  14. ^ a b Genuine Gildan
  15. ^ WRC Factory Investigation Genesis, S.A.
  16. ^ At present, Haitian apparel workers receive the lowest wages in the hemisphere and face some of the harshest working conditions anywhere in the global apparel industry., "Preliminary Report on Unlawful Dismissals at Genesis, S.A. (Haiti)", October 11, 2011. Page 1.
  17. ^ "Two collegiate licensees, Ad Resources and Cotton Gallery, disclose Genesis as a collegiate factory. Both brands buy their products through Gildan, which purchases virtually all of the factory’s output.", "Preliminary Report on Unlawful Dismissals at Genesis, S.A. (Haiti)", October 11, 2011. Page 2.
  18. ^ Worker Rights Consortium "The WRC’s research found that factories in Port-au-Prince fail to pay workers a third of their legally mandated wages. Average wages are even lower at the new Caracol factory complex despite the fact that the project was heavily subsidized with earthquake recovery funds from the United States government as a means of providing Haitians with a path out of poverty." WRC, Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry, October 2013, page 10.
  19. ^ Gildan Activewear Obtains Prestigious International Environmental Certification
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "Top 50 socially responsible corporations". Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  22. ^ 50 Best Corporate Citizens Maclean’s
  23. ^ GenuineGildan
  24. ^ Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire
  25. ^ Yahoo Finance

External links[edit]