Our World Under Threat

Scientists have predicted that as early as 2050, climate change could collapse human society—and the impacts are already being felt. At three times the frequency compared to half a century ago, natural disasters of increasing magnitude are destroying lives and exacerbating resource scarcity. Across Esquel’s global operations, typhoons and floods have disrupted production, damaged capital, and made our workers vulnerable.

The Time for Change is Now

Recognizing the role that we, and the larger manufacturing industry play, Esquel is committed to achieving climate resilience and harmony with the planet. As a starting point, we practice efficient resource management and mobilize our 35,000 employees towards this shared goal. We further invest and innovate to mitigate environmental impact from production, with a foremost focus on reducing consumption, and cooperate with organizations at various levels to develop better industry standards. From Seed to Shirt, we actively respond to our industry’s biggest environmental challenges, specifically targeting the areas of water, energy & emissions, chemicals, and waste.

from words to action

Click onto each icon to learn more about our priorities and actions in each area.
Water Water

Water insecurity threatens access to clean drinking water for 1.9 billion people worldwide, burdening our food supply, ecosystems and economies. Knowing that the textiles and apparel industry is unfortunately responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution globally, Esquel is dedicated to responsible water stewardship. Our investments in infrastructure and innovative processes as well as our application of water reuse and recycling ultimately reduces freshwater usage and ensures proper wastewater disposal.

To cut down on water usage at its source, we utilize Eco Wash and Natural Dye processes. Esquel’s Wet Processing Center reuses water up to five times; we currently discharge 25,000 tons of purified water and re-circulate 3000 tons of wastewater daily back into the production that surpasses government purification standard. Our Gaoming wastewater treatment plant has been named within the top 30 “Exemplary Companies in Water Efficiency” in China. We are committed to reducing our water footprint across our entire supply chain.  

Energy and Emissions Energy and Emissions

In recent decades, extreme weather events have become more frequent and devastating than ever. The Paris Agreement recognizes that tackling climate change is no longer an option but an urgent survival need, setting the shared goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels within this century.  
For Esquel, climate change has meant floods halting our operations and harming our communities. Beyond the base need to comply with international and domestic regulations, we see it as vital that we gain greater control over our energy use and emissions through technology and innovative solutions; we have significantly reduced over 25% of GHG emissions in Gaoming, our flagship site since 2011.
Esquel joins other leading businesses in pledging net zero by 2050. Our roadmap was revealed in 2021 but our actions date back for years with our conversion to renewable energy, more efficient use of energy and materials, forging of purposeful partnerships, and expanding our support internationally. Looking forward, we look to achieve net zero with our stakeholders and peers together. 

Chemicals Chemicals

The textile industry is traditionally reliant on chemicals, but improper treatment and disposal can pose severe risks to our ecosystems and communities.  
Esquel’s production processes, including dyeing and finishing, use approximately 100,000 metric tons of chemicals annually that can result in unwanted chemical waste in the environment. That’s why we reduce, substitute and eliminate as many chemical additives from our manufacturing processes as possible.  
Our Chemical Safety Management (CSM) Protocol covers every production stage and prioritizes safety throughout the entire chemical lifecycle, from sourcing to handling, transportation, storage and disposal. Our definition of ‘hazardous chemicals’ is stricter than government and ZDHC standards to ensure we never source anything unsafe. We also check that our processes have zero discharge of any harmful chemical residual. 
Beyond our commitment to complying with the ZDHC standard by 2022, we are innovating novel dyeing and finishing methodologies that eliminate chemical waste from the equation. We aim to improve our chemical management for a greener future. 

Waste Waste

We are entering a waste crisis in this day and age, as global waste is projected to increase by up to 70% by 2050. Cities are fighting to catch up with their waste management systems. While reusing and recycling are fundamental post-disposal measures that can address the problem, the root of the issue lies in necessarily cutting waste at the source. The manufacturing industry is especially guilty of encouraging a culture of obsolescence and quick turnovers. Esquel is determined to change that. 
Taking advantage of our vertically integrated supply chain, we incorporate and practice 5R (reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, and rot) across all the different production stages, and adopt lean manufacturing principles. On top of making shirts out of reclaimed and recycled fiber, we invest in maximizing our material utilization and reduce the number of scraps that result from our processes. Gradually digitalizing our product development and materials library has also reduced unnecessary material consumption and logistical burden across the entire workflow. 

Know more about our latest progress with the story cards below.

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Our work in numbers

reduction in water consumption per unit of production since 2010
for average COD of our wastewater discharge in 2022 (50% below the government-accepted threshold)
reduction in energy consumption per unit of production since 2010