Climate Change

Our Commitment

2017 Highlights

Energy consumption

Energy consumption is directly linked to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Our main sources of energy include biomass, bunker fuel and electricity.  In 2017, our energy intensity increased by 9% when compared to our 2015 baseline. While biomass-based production of steam helps from an emissions standpoint, it is seemingly more fuel intensive which poses a challenge to our energy goals. As a result, the increased energy footprint of biomass and electricity inputs from our yarn spinning operations has increased energy intensity. This number was also influenced by the integration of acquired manufacturing facilities but we believe that this is an outlier and expect to achieve our 2020 plans to achieve our overall target of a further 10% reduction by 2020. 

Condensate Return

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.

Our current condensate return rates at all of our textile and hosiery facilities in Central America and the Caribbean Basin are close to 90%, and close to 70% at our Bangladesh integrated facility, which translates into substantial conservation of both energy and water.

GHG Emissions

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.

Between 2010 and 2015, we have been able to reduce our GHG intensity per kg of product in owned facilities by 34%. Our next step is to further reduce our GHG emissions by 10% by 2020 from our 2015 baseline year. Since 2015, we have increased our GHG emissions intensity resulting from our owned operations per kg of product by 20%. This is attributable to changing market conditions and challenges related to the quality of the available biomass. In 2017 we were forced to rely more heavily on bunker fuels than in previous years. Although we saw an increase in our GHG footprint for 2017, we continue to be committed to meeting our 2020 goal.

Biomass System – Using Renewable Energy to Produce Steam
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 43% 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 Recovery

Thermal energy generated within our BioMass systems largely serves to heat water 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 capture 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 generate approximately 3,700,000 m3 of hot water energy within our waste water in 2017. This project contributed to the reduction of approximately 140,000 tons of steam no longer required to heat the volume of water previously listed which generated energy savings equivalent to taking 3,200 cars off the road for a year.

Absorption Chillers
Absorption Chillers

To optimize our energy use, we have instaled absorbtion chillers that capture the thermal energy from within our steam to create cool water that now drives many of our facilities’ air conditioning systems. This system generated the energy savings equivalent of avoiding the use of 1 million gallons of fossil fuels in 2017.