Shining Light Compnay – Gildan Activewear, Inc.

Thriving in an extremely competitive global marketplace while operating by The Golden Rule is not easy.  However, that is exactly what this month’s Shining Light Company is doing, and doing quite well.  There is a good chance that most of us have been consumers of their products at some point without even knowing it. Gildan Activewear, Inc.  (Ticker: GIL)  is a leading supplier of quality branded basic family apparel. The company’s products include the Gildan®, Gold Toe® and Anvil® brands, as well as the recently acquired Secret®, Silks® and Therapy Plus™ brands. The Company also holds the licenses for the Under Armour®, Mossy Oak®, and New Balance® brands and those distribution markets in the U.S. and Canada, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

Gildan is a firm believer in their responsibility to their employees (43,000 worldwide), the environment, the communities in which they operate and their products.  They use this commitment to genuine stewardship as the guiding light for their overall business strategy. View their Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct policies HERE. Gildan is ranked highest in their industry in the categories of corporate governance, risk and crisis management, occupational health and safety, and social dimensions.

Gildan strives to provide an ethical work environment and positive experience for all employees. It is common practice for managerial positions to be filled with local talent (79% for director level and higher in 2014), and compensation and benefits are competitive. As a socially responsible employer, the implementation of the Social Compliance Program shows their commitment to fair labor practices.  When external suppliers are used, they must adhere to these strict codes as well.  Audits are completed each year to ensure the company is delivering on their promise to employees, customers, and shareholders.  Learn more about the Social Compliance Program by clicking here.

In 2014, 53% of Gildan’s total energy was powered by renewable sources and they recycled more than 90% of their waste.  They have already surpassed targets set in 2015 and have been recognized by inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for three consecutive years.  The Environmental Code of Practice (ECP) created in 2003 lists allowable materials that can be used in the manufacturing processes. These materials do not contain substances that are harmful to humans or the environment. Raw material suppliers and third party manufacturing contractors must adhere to the standards set forth by the ECP. 

The company’s community outreach efforts primarily focus on youth educational programs and philanthropic aid. For example, the company contributed to the EDUCANDO program in the Dominican Republic, which supported elementary school activities to recognize students’ academic excellence. They also made a significant investment for renovations at two schools in Choloma, Honduras to provide improved learning environments for students. Gildan’s preference is also to look first for local suppliers.  They benefit from their proximity and share in the economic benefits.  Some of the communities where Gildan operates are very prone to natural disasters, so they often contribute funds and logistic support for relief efforts.

The “Employee in the Community” program in Canada and the US and the “Part of Your Life” program in Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic help Gildan’s employees find volunteering opportunities and let them provide ideas of community projects and organizations for corporate donations.  Gildan also supports employee giving and volunteering efforts through the Gildan Employee Matching Grant Program for select campaigns and charitable organizations.

Responsibility to their product line is demonstrated by their policy of seeking to integrate more sustainable raw materials made using ethical practices into the manufacturing processes.  Gildan uses primarily US Cotton for most of its products.  They require all business partners to confirm that they do not use or procure any cotton fiber originating from Uzbekistan where child labor and forced labor in cotton production is common practice. More information about the company and its corporate citizenship practices and initiatives can be found at and  

Integrity, accountability, and transparency are important factors in Gildan’s overall business success. This strength in corporate governance begins at the top with the Board of Directors, of which eight out of nine members are independent from management. Gildan’s business model proves that a dedication to treating people with dignity and operating in a socially and environmentally responsible manner goes a long way, both in reputation and success.  For that we are proud to name them a Shining Light Company!


DISCLOSURE: Shining Light Companies are exemplary companies who live out the Golden Rule in their business practices, demonstrate strong servant leadership and create compelling value through the products and services they offer. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.