Stories: Down the Chain
Esquel - China
High-end products, high levels of sustainability
Founded in 1978, Esquel Group is a global textile and apparel company with the vision of “making a difference.” We operate production facilities in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, and a network of branches in the US, EU and Asia. With its vertically integrated supply chain, Esquel has been taking an active role in sustainable development, from cottonseed research to the production and retailing of PYE Shirts.
Esquel’s ethos of sustainability is shared by leading global fashion brands, including Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger and others for cotton and cotton-blend woven and knit shirts. Esquel’s vision of “making a difference” is reflected in how to manage production impact on environment, society and communities. In 2015, Esquel published its first sustainability report to mark the progress to date in best practices for the environment, society and corporate governance, and long-term commitment to sustainability.
Esquel’s sustainability strategy uses four focus areas of Planet, People, Product and Community as the key pillars:
We continue to look into our industry’s biggest environmental challenges, specifically in relation to energy consumption, water consumption, waste water discharge and effluent, air quality and chemicals. Some of our achievements include:
- 43% of energy consumption reduction per unit of output for 2005-2014 and target to achieve an additional 15% energy saving by 2016.
- 57% of water consumption reduction per unit of output for 2005-2014 and target to reduce an additional 20% water consumption by 2016.
- One of the biggest waste water treatment plants in China, capable of processing up to 38,000 tons per day.
- Using the GHG Protocol and ISO14064 to track and measure emission from all Esquel’s China operations.
Our focus is on fostering respect for each other, on providing safe and healthy working conditions, as well as on offering skills upgrading and career advancement for our employees.
- Providing a healthy and safe environment for Esquel employees and aligning with international standards on labor practices, health and safety.
- Providing skills training and other self-improvement and lifelong learning opportunities to our employees (e.g. our own Esquel University, which offers a structured curriculum for the training and development through traditional classroom settings, on-the-job training and online formats).
- Investment in garment automation and process reengineering to improve working efficiency and reduce repetitive manual labor.
It is our aim to create environmentally friendly products to meet or exceed customers’ expectations. Technology and innovation enable us to streamline production processes to produce shirts with less material or natural resources.
- Reliable supply of Extra-Long-Staple (ELS) cotton with annual capacity of 10,000 tons in self-owned ginning mills enables Esquel to produce comfortable and durable shirts with high quality.
- Develop natural and organic dyes that are made from plants and flowers.
- A bleach-no-dye product from our retail brand PYE, which skips the dyeing and after-treatment processes and consumes less water and chemicals than for conventional products.
Esquel creates strong local relationships between factory employees and their communities.
- The Esquel-Y.L. Yang Foundation, with a mission to “Encourage the Spirit of Learning,” provides subsidies to students in Xinjiang, Guangdong and Guilin. In addition, our staff often voluntarily provides financial contributions to these causes.
- Over 2,000 students have benefited from Esquel-funded eye-vision screening and prescription of lenses in Xinjiang and Guangdong.
- Some 1,500 households have benefited from the micro-financing program Esquel established in Xinjiang.
The Integral Conversation, an annual sustainability conference established by Esquel in 2014, aims to facilitate discussions on sustainable development and to explore new ways to pursue economic growth while respecting people, communities and the planet. For more information, please visit: http://www.integral-conversation.com