HanesBrands Practices Good Water Management

Water is a precious resource, as anyone who has lived through a drought can tell you. HanesBrands is a company that grasps the importance of water management.

HanesBrands earned an above average score for water management for the CDP 2016 Climate Change Report. The company’s score was higher than both the apparel industry and S&P averages in context, governance and strategy, direct risks and response and indirect risks and response. Since 2007, the company has reduced its water use by 31 percent, and has a goal of reducing water use by 50 percent by 2020.

Both water conservation and wastewater treatment are key parts of HanesBrands water management strategy. HanesBrands built wastewater treatment plants that treat 100 percent of the wastewater from its manufacturing facilities. Each plant includes an anoxic pre-treatment process that removes color used in the textile dyeing process and has a laboratory on-site to see that all key components of regulatory-performance are either met or surpassed.

The company uses tools that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) developed to assess its potential water risk. It performed water risk analyses using the WWF Water Risk Filter on internal manufacturing facilities, which produce about 80 percent of the products the company sells globally. Potential risks were put into several categories, including physical, regulatory, and brand equity. The WBCSD Global Water Tool combined all of the facilities modeled for the WWF tool and profiled the water resources available for nine of the 13 facilities as having watersheds with plenty of water. The other four were identified as having an adequate supply of water. The data from both the WWF and the WBSCSD tools reveal that HanesBrands do not have significant water supply risks.

HanesBrands has lofty environmental goals in addition to its water use reduction goal. Those goals include reducing energy consumption by 40 percent, securing at least 40 percent of its total energy from renewable sources and achieving zero waste to landfill. It is well on its way to achieving those goals as it has reduced energy use by 22 percent per pound of apparel produced, carbon emissions by 23 percent per pound of apparel produced, and gets 32 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

The company has been recognized for its environmental sustainability achievements, including winning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Partner of the Year/Sustained Excellence award for the seventh consecutive year. Newsweek Magazine ranked the company number 172 on its list of top U.S. green companies and received a Responsible Business Award from Ethical Corporation for best employee engagement in its Green For Good philanthropic program.

In a time when the U.S. federal government is calling for budget cuts to the EPA and denies climate change, a company like HanesBrands proves that where government fails business can prevail.

Photo: HanesBrands