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Anvil Cuts Waste 25%, But GHGs Rise 32%

Anvil Knitwear reduced its waste to landfill by 25 percent in 2010, but GHG emissions rose 32 percent, according to its 2011 CSR Progress Report.

The waste reduction far surpasses last year’s target of a five percent cut, and the company has set a new goal of a zero waste to landfill stream by fiscal year 2020. Anvil didn’t offer many details on how it achieved the dramatic reduction, but it did say that last year its Honduran operations began collecting electronic waste such as fluorescent lights and computer equipment, and sending them to a local company for reuse, donation and safe disposal.

The progress report is a follow-up to Anvil Knitwear’s 2010 CSR Report, which was recognized as Best First Time Report by Ceres and the Association for Charted Certified Accountants.

This year’s report, which is self-declared GRI Application Level A, says that the company missed a goal of a 10 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2010, using a formula calculated from 2008 and 2009 baselines.

The company’s GHG emissions rose from 42,523 metric tons CO2e in 2009 to 59,357 metric tons in 2010, which it attributed to a 36 percent increase in production and a change in product mix in to a higher percentage of dyed t-shirts (which use about twice the energy and three times the water of bleached shirts) and an 80 percent increase in reported outgoing deliveries as the result of expanded scope two reporting. These increases were partially offset by a nine percent decrease in emissions from premises’ energy consumption, Anvil said. It also cut emissions from on-site vehicle usage by 31 percent.

The company notes that it believes 2010 represents a more normalized year than 2009, when it cut production in response to the recession. “To more accurately determine our emissions goals we should have based them on years that saw more normalized production levels, like 2010,” the report said. The company said it is now resetting its energy goals.

In the update, Anvil reported that it reduced its water, steam and electricity usage per pound of finished t-shirt fabric. It cut production water usage by 10 percent, compared to what it would have achieved without improvements, through changes in dye and bleach recipes, and reuse of cooling water. This saved about 60 million gallons, the company said.

Anvil says it is still working to find new ways to use and reuse water throughout the production process and has set the goal of reducing water per unit produced by 20 percent by 2020.

The report features Anvil’s first product water footprint, which shows that most water consumed during the production of Anvil t-shirts happens during the agricultural stage. It also found that most water used at Anvil’s production facilities is not actually consumed, but returned to the same watershed from which it was sourced. The company also says that water consumption during its textile processing has a minimal impact on water deprivation because Anvil manufactures in water-abundant areas.

Executive vice president and head of sustainability Caterina Conti said that using the footprint results, the company is working on a fiber diversification and sustainability scorecard that takes account of agricultural impacts.

Anvil said that 2010 was characterized by rising demand for organic cotton and not enough supply, causing it to shift focus from introducing new sustainable fiber products, to improving the overall profile of all products. It says it is examining every aspect of their production, from raw materials to dyes to manufacturing practices, to determine where additional sustainability measures can be applied.

In 2010, most of Anvil’s private label customers made public commitments to use more sustainable fibers by a certain date and, in some cases, commitments covering 100 percent of their apparel lines, the report said. The company is therefore continually updating its fiber strategy, raw materials certification and supply chain management systems to meet customer demands.

Last year it shifted its strategy from outsourcing to manufacturing products in its own factories whenever possible, although Anvil says it has had to make some exceptions to meet increased production demand.

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