Case Study

Gildan and Ulula Develop an Innovative Approach to Effective Grievance Mechanisms

Palm oil farmer holding palm oil plants



Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua



“Since implementing Ulula’s app, our employees have been more motivated to report their concerns, ask questions and provide suggestions. As a result, we can better understand and respond to our employees’ needs and strengthen the relationship between management and employees.” 

German Reyes

Director of Social Compliance, Gildan

Industry Overview

The apparel and footwear industry is worth around $2.5tn and employs millions worldwide. While the industry remains a great driver of economic growth, human rights risks in garment factories represent a challenge for businesses, particularly in the Latin American, Asian and Eastern European supply chains. Initiatives like the Fashion Transparency Index, of which Gildan is a member, are looking to turn the tide.

According to the World Benchmarking Alliance, most of the world’s largest apparel businesses don’t meet their obligations to ensure high social and human rights due diligence standards in the supply chain. While many companies assess the issue and understand there are risks, few take decisive action. 

Ensuring that employees throughout the supply chain have access to an effective grievance mechanism that respects the OECD’s Responsible Business Conduct guidelines and the UN Development Goals is an essential part of raising human rights due diligence standards. While many companies provide grievance mechanisms for employees to raise potential issues with management, many are hard to access or don’t take advantage of the benefits of modern communication systems and technology. 

The eyes of the world are on the apparel industry, and new regulations such as the EU’s Forced Labor Regulation effectively ban goods made with forced labor from the EU market. That’s why leading brands in the apparel industry are stepping up to take on the issue of implementing effective grievance mechanisms with innovative solutions that use new technology.

Palm oil farmers looking at device

Program launch in Bangladesh.


To create an effective, UNGP-ready digital internal grievance mechanism that works for workers in their Honduras, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, and Dominican Republic supply chains.

Leading Canadian apparel and print wear company Gildan aimed to provide a practical, accessible, modern grievance and complaints mechanism for their workers throughout the supply chain. That’s where Ulula, specialists in modern, digital grievance systems, come in. Working with Ulula, Gildan is breaking down barriers to fair working practices in almost 20 of their factories worldwide.

This grievance mechanism aimed at leveraging digital tools to overcome barriers such as;

  • Workers not having an e-mail address
  • Workers not having adequate data or minutes in their phone plan
  • Literacy barriers
  • Language barriers (particularly for migrant workers)
  • A lack of knowledge of how the grievance system works


Ulula provided Gildan with a two-channel solution;

  • A grievance mechanism through the OWL app
  • A free-access phone number

The solutions was created in three phases:


Ulula and Gildan co-designed the program, along with the case management protocol and KPIs.


Gildan and Ulula planned worker and management training and coordinated launch events for each site.


Gildan’s local teams manage grievances and feedback through the grievance mechanism, and keep workers informed via the OWL app.

Ulula’s two-channel solution gathers valuable worker feedback and reliable, measurable data to enhance Gildan employees’ grievance mechanisms. The OWL app allows workers to anonymously report incidents or provide feedback through open communication with the management team. Better yet, the OWL app is accessible offline and online during rest periods at and outside of work, and is available to workers in their preferred language. 

The app also categorizes and tracks open cases and queries, with case management features facilitating easy follow-up and secure information sharing. Confidentiality is also assured with every communication that goes through the app, providing Gildan employees with the peace of mind that there will be no retaliation or negative consequences for their participation in the feedback process. 

For Gildan’s Honduras and Nicaragua factories, they partnered with local celebrities and management to significantly promote the Ulula app’s up-take among workers. Ulula zones were also created, with free Wi-Fi for employees to use at their convenience.

Ulula Technology Used

This program is powered by the following Ulula technology:
Grievance Mechanism icon

Grievance Mechanism

Anonymous incident reporting tool to identify problems early and facilitate meaningful remediation through real-time case management.
Surveys icon

Broadcasts & Alerts

Ulula’s platform crafts message alerts in any language tailored to the local context and schedules send times to automatically send messages to any stakeholder, regardless of where they are located or what device they are using. Messages can vary from workplace policy updates to health and safety alerts to invitations for consultations and more.

Dashboard & Analytics icon


Get a macro view of risks by region, project and various demographic filters through dashboards that aggregate and visualize worker and community response data in real-time.
OWL App Icon


Centralized platform that supports continuous worker engagement through pulse surveys, information, training, feedback and grievance communication on iOS and Android smartphones.


Thanks to the Ulula app’s deployment, Gildan can now respond to grievance queries across its operations within 48 hours or less! 

In a short space of time, together, we’ve achieved:


Total Cases Opened


Ulula App Downloads


Of Cases Resolved (802 cases, including 76 whistleblower cases)

About Gildan

Gildan is a leading apparel manufacturing company, with a strong portfolio of brands, such as Gildan®, American Apparel®, Comfort Colors®, GOLDTOE®, and others. With over three decades of developing global manufacturing expertise, and a vertically integrated supply chain, Gildan is one of the world’s most efficient, ethical, and sustainable apparel manufacturers. Founded in Canada, Gildan operates out of approximately 25 facilities worldwide and sells its products in 60+ markets globally. With approximately 50,000 employees, Gildan operates with a solid commitment to industry-leading labor and environmental practices throughout its supply chain, in accordance with a comprehensive ESG program embedded in its long-term business strategy. 

Building Transparent and Resilient Supply Chains Together

Deploy effective grievance mechanisms in your supply chain with Ulula’s OWL app

Connect with our team by clicking below to learn how our worker voice and case management tools can support equitable, accessible and effective grievance mechanisms in your supply chain.

Leverage stakeholder engagement tools to increase visibility into working conditions on the ground

Connect with us to learn about how our suite of technology can be uniquely adapted to your organization’s use case.