In an age when human activities have gone far beyond what the planet can support, Esquel strives to achieve climate resilience and harmony with the planet. From seed to shirt, we respond actively to our industry’s biggest environmental challenges, specifically in relation to energy, water, air quality, chemicals, and waste. We believe that through good management of our supply chain and resources, as well as mobilizing each of our 40,000 employees for climate action, we can realize our aspiration to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of our present and future generations.


Our planet is our common home. Every citizen has a responsibility to care for it in their own capacity. We believe no action is too small to make a difference, and that collectively, we will move the needle towards a healthier planet. From frontline workers to senior management, we encourage Esquelers to be change agents, leading grassroots initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment.



The impacts of climate change are now undeniably felt by all – Esquelers have experienced firsthand the consequences of typhoons, floods, and droughts in increasing frequency and magnitude.

On 8 June 2018, Typhoon Ewiniar brought torrential downpours into China’s Guangdong Province. At midnight, rainwater flooded into the production floors, electricity room, and cutting and packaging areas of our operating facility in Yangmei township. With water, power, and all public transportation cut off throughout the wider district, we arranged a shuttle bus to evacuate our night shift employees. In the immediate aftermath, stores in the area were shut down, leaving our workers and their families without food. We delivered food from a neighboring township and opened our canteen to the community, supporting those in need of food and shelter.



At Esquel, we respond actively to our environmental footprint in every step of the supply chain. For future generations, it is our responsibility to protect and improve the environment. Based on the Strategic Sustainable Investing system, we invest and adopt economically sensible technologies that enable us to consume less raw material, and reduce, reuse, recycle and recreate from waste to ensure the best allocation of resources. Our vertically-integrated supply chain enables us to take a holistic approach to identify, prioritize, and manage cross-supply-chain impact. This allows the efficient allocation of resources and provides efficient process flows and productive work practices.

We are a strong believer in sustainable development and environmental conservation. Our commitment is reflected in our involvement with government to steer international and domestic agenda on sustainability.

  • Conference Board Global Sustainability Center
  • Natural Resource Defense Council China High Level Advisory Council (NRDC)
  • Shan Shui Conservation Center

We also actively participate in industry initiatives to set benchmarks for our performances. For example, we use the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) Higg Index to communicate our performance across our global operations. When it comes to protecting our common home, no idea is too big, and no action is too small. Here are the results from 2018 that exemplifies our efforts to make a difference in the areas of water, energy, air, chemicals, and waste.


Water is no doubt one of the most pressing problems for our industry. As population and economies grow, global freshwater demand has been increasing rapidly. Water shortage already exists in many regions. Around 1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to clean water. In addition, water pollution diminishes water quality and creates health hazards.

Our Gaoming site houses one of the largest self-owned wastewater treatment plants in China’s textile industry. It serves our manufacturing operations including spinning, fabric, and garment productions. It meets both the Guangdong province standard DB 44/26-2001, and the national GB 4287-2012 standard. According to the department of ecology and environment of Guangdong province, which conducts audits to wastewater treatment plants across the province annually, our facilities received the highest standard accreditation in the most recent published result in 2017.


Since 2010, we have reduced water consumption per unit of production by

47 mg/L


Seeking harmony with nature, Esquel treats our wastewater before releasing it back into surrounding water bodies.


Note: this data is from our Gaoming operations, COD is treated to levels below the government allowable limit.

COD discharge


In 2011, we developed and installed a reverse-osmosis recycling system capable of processing 5,000 tons of wastewater per day into potable quality that we put back into production. For some processes, water can also be reused without treatment. Here is the total amount of reused and recycled water.


Note: this data is from our Gaoming operations.


Tons of water reused and recycled


Progressive applications of energy-efficient technologies and the upgrading of machinery and equipment have significantly reduced our global per unit energy consumption since 2010. The forthcoming challenges are about gaining additional energy efficiency after most major refurbishments, retrofitting and improvements are now in place. We are also aware that our bid for higher productivity with automated equipment could further drive up energy consumption.

Esquel is currently focusing on a broad range of initiatives to introduce additional production process improvements, renewable energies, and innovative technologies across our vertically-integrated supply chain to achieve further reduction of energy use in the course of production.


Since 2010, we have reduced energy consumption per unit of production by 20%.



The energy management systems are the main control mechanisms for carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 are used to track and measure emissions from all our China operations and keep us abreast of global standards.

At our Gaoming site, we have invested in our own thermal power plant, which is carefully monitored and managed to minimize emissions. We use low-sulfur coal, desulfurize waste lye onsite, and electrostatic precipitation to reduce air pollutants. For ongoing energy needs, we are exploring ways to increase use of alternative energy technologies. A set of rooftop solar panel were installed in Gaoming in 2015.


We continuously work to lower our GHG emissions in all areas of our operations.


We continuously work to lower our non-GHG emissions in all areas of our operations.


Our principle is to reduce, substitute, and eliminate chemical additives from the outset— not just to eliminate pollutants and toxins at the end of the production process. Our challenge is to keep pace with and mitigate the potential impact of new chemicals, and new formulas available.

We prioritize safety in chemical handling, putting in place strict protocols in labeling, use, transport and storage. Esquelers who handle chemicals are required to go through specialist training, wear protective clothing, and have annual health checkups.

We work with suppliers on possible optimization of chemical use, and reduction in chemicals, energy, and water is always our goal in the production process. Working with different partners, we have received various certifications, and we also use the Bluesign Bluefinder database.


Esquel complies with ZDHC MRSL. Sharing ZDHC’s goal to eliminate priority hazardous chemicals, we have a robust chemical management system, and have been following ZDHC MRSL and Wastewater Guidelines. We stipulate our own MRSL for chemical suppliers to follow, and only compliant chemicals are allowed to be introduced into our facilities. We also monitor our wastewater parameters according to ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines.


Natural Resources Defense Council

Rate 91.13/100 in the assessment


Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and Hang Seng Bank

Hang Seng Pan Pearl River Delta Environmental Awards – Gold Award

Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and Hang Seng Bank

Hang Seng Pan Pearl River Delta Environmental Awards – Silver Award


  • Global Organic Textile Standard 5.0
  • ISO9001
  • ISO14001
  • ISO50001
  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100
  • Oeko-Tex Sustainable Textile and Leather Production