For a company that has been around as long as Hanes, it is disappointing to see how little information is provided about its products - especially the Hanes Essentials Women’s T-Shirt. It’s a classic! Is this intentional? The product details make a big deal about its quality, but doesn’t speak to what that means exactly. What is quality? While there are broader sustainability goals for both the company and its products at large, I think each product should have its own information highlighted for better transparency and impact.
The product details indicate that the t-shirt is made from 100% U.S. grown cotton. What does that mean as far as its cultivation? What methods were used to grow the cotton? You’ll have to dig around the many pages within the ‘Sustainability’ section to try to find an answer. In the ‘Product’ section, it is stated that “61% (or 181 million pounds) of all our cotton came from sustainable sources, much of it from U.S. growers – chosen because they follow leading practices on land and water use, employ fewer pesticides and operate under very strong and legally required labor regulations.” Is this t-shirt included in this 61 percent? It seems that in 2025 the company aims to use 100% sustainable cotton. It also seems the company values its historic partnership with the U.S. cotton industry. There is a whole page dedicated to it. Though, it is without mention of the role that slavery played in making all of this happen. Suspicious. The data is incomplete.
The product details mentions this t-shirt is imported. This would mean that, given the cotton is grown in the U.S., it is shipped overseas to be sewn then shipped back to be sold. This increases carbon emissions, which is something that is listed on the ‘Sustainability’ > ‘Planet’ section as a target to reduce. While this information is conflicting, it is listed so there is some value in knowing there is some awareness within the company of the environmental impact and it might be addressed in the near future. I also think it would be much more helpful to know the exact Country of Origin to have a better sense of how far it is traveling and why.
There are some bold statements in the ‘Sustainability’ > ‘People’ section. “Caring for people is who we are today and who we’ve been from the beginning.” I really question the authenticity when Hanes is over 100 years old and is a product of slavery. This is not acknowledged once on the website. “And we’re setting the goal to contribute to improving the lives of at least ten million people by 2030.” What is the current impact? The webpage does not seem to discuss who actually makes the product - specifically this t-shirt, but does share that about 70% of the factories are owned by the company and there are some located in Latin America. Since there is an education program in the region as well that helps garment workers receive their high school diploma at the expense of the brand, it can be assumed that the t-shirt is made by workers in Latin America. There is also a wellness center at their headquarters in North America. While these might seem like good things, there isn’t enough information to make an assessment. Are the programs accessible? What are the success rates? Hanes should make this information available and clear!