Auditing key raw material suppliers was among the key achievements for Gildan Activewear in 2014, as part of the company's social compliance programme which aims to drive best practices in the apparel industry.

In its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report for 2014, Gildan says 244 internal and external audits were performed at its owned facilities and third-party contractor facilities last year, to support its commitment to having the highest standards of labour practices and working conditions.

The company, which is one of the largest suppliers of branded athletic, casual and dress socks, created more than 8,000 jobs to support its growth strategy, while offering close to 1m man-hours of training to its employees. Gildan's medical clinics provided more than 87,000 instances of medical attention free of charge to employees within its manufacturing facilities.

In terms of environmental responsibility, 53% of Gildan's energy was powered by renewable sources in 2014, and the company repurposed or recycled more than 90% of the waste from its operations.

Gildan has also surpassed some of the environmental targets for 2015 ahead of schedule, including a 45% reduction in GHG emissions intensity, exceeding its 20% target, using 2010 as a base year.

The group invested in the Educando programme in the Dominican Republic, which supports elementary school activities to recognise students' academic excellence, and injected money into renovations at two schools in Choloma, Honduras to provide improved environments for students.

Last year, Gildan unveiled plans to add an additional textile plant at its Rio Nance complex in Honduras to support strong demand for higher-valued products, and optimise manufacturing efficiencies at the group's other textile facilities.

The company also completed its lifecycle assessment and conducted product lifecycle assessments for 24 products. The assessments were completed taking into consideration three years of data, allowing for better comparison and benchmarking.

Over a three-year assessment period, the manufacturing phase decreased its footprint in the climate change and resources indicators, primarily due to the implementation of biomass steam generation at its Rio Nance complex facilities.

"Gildan's CSR programmes and initiatives are central to the company's overall business strategy," said president and CEO Glenn Chamandy.

"We remain committed to investing in our vertical integration and the implementation of best-in-class practices across the whole organisation. Our growth and continued success rely upon driving continuous improvements in our operations and empowering our employees."