Behind the label of any product is a deeper story about its social and environmental implications. Were the workers who made the product treated fairly? Were environmental considerations weighed during its design, manufacture and transport? What is a brand’s commitment to creating positive change?
Finding the information to help answer these questions can be difficult. Clothes travel a long way from cotton farm to point of retail, requiring the work of diverse people at every step. For decades, we’ve been paying increasing attention to the processes that make up our supply chain, and even to the lifecycle of a given garment.
Gap Inc. owns five brands – Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime, and Athleta. All Gap Inc. branded product is held to the same strict social and environmental standards outlined in our Code of Vendor Conduct. This report covers the work we’re doing across the brands and as a company: supply chain, environment, employees and community investment. These efforts range from protecting workers’ rights to freely associate in factories thousands of miles from our San Francisco headquarters, to our diversity policies for employees and our efforts to increase opportunities for people in communities around the world. We invite you to explore what we’re doing, with an introduction from our CEO here and highlights of our global work here.
Below, we offer examples of brand-level initiatives that further our work to create positive change and complement the company-wide policies and initiatives detailed elsewhere in this report.
In partnership with Cotton Inc., Gap brand encouraged customers across North America to turn in their old jeans in exchange for 30 percent off a new pair of our 1969 Premium jeans. In 2010, Gap’s “Recycle Your Blues” campaign collected more than 360,000 units of denim, which was used to create fiber insulation for nearly 700 homes. The donated denim was given “new life” by being converted into UltraTouch™ housing insulation, in partnership with Cotton Inc.’s COTTON.FROM BLUE TO GREEN.® program. The cotton fiber insulation was donated to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in communities that had been affected by natural disasters, such as the rebuilding effort after Hurricane Katrina. More than 1,000 Gap stores (including GapKids and babyGap) in North America participated.
Old Navy has forged a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of America and Canada to create Camp Old Navy. This program brings teens into stores for a half-day job shadow experience that helps them develop job readiness skills and explore career opportunities. Teens learn about careers in apparel retail through a behind-the-scenes look at how Old Navy operates, and experience hands-on training in retail management, sales and merchandising. In 2010, over 700 Old Navy stores participated in Camp Old Navy, and more than 7,000 youth have experienced the world of work through the program.
At Banana Republic, the team has made a concerted effort to look at packaging supplies, including boxes and shopping bags, which are made with a percentage of recycled material. Efforts are being made to increase these percentages wherever possible. Some examples include Banana Republic shopping bags, which contain 15 percent recycled material and are recyclable; shoe boxes, which contain 90% recycled material and are recyclable; and gift cards that contain 88% recycled content (half a million of which have been recycled since May 2009).
In keeping with the ethos of the brand, Athleta is active in a range of healthy lifestyle initiatives and projects. For example, employees support “Girls on the Run” – a nonprofit focused on helping preteen girls develop self-respect and healthy living lifestyles through running – by acting as running coaches and mentors to young girls in the program. Athleta also sponsors the annual Petaluma Footrace, which donates proceeds to The Enrich and Educate (E²) Fund to improve the quality of the educational environment for all students in the Old Adobe Union School District in Sonoma County, California. Athleta employees volunteer their time to organize the event and manage the race on race day.
Piperlime has worked with Soles4Souls (S4S), an organization that facilitates donations of shoes, for the past three years. The donations are used to aid people who are affected by natural disasters worldwide. Piperlime and S4S have partnered together on many successful initiatives. Every fall, for example, Piperlime hosts a back-to-school shoe drive making it easy for parents to donate their families’ gently worn shoes to S4S as they buy new ones, which has led to the collection of over 5,000 pairs of shoes to S4S. And in January 2010, Piperlime supported S4S in their efforts to provide relief to the many people devastated by the earthquake in Haiti, including the donation of 3,500 pairs of new shoes.
You may know these names as brands and stores; we know them as a source of talent and dedication that will drive our success as a company and our work to create positive change. We look forward to providing updates on brand-level initiatives, which continue to complement our company-wide policies and initiatives.