Our company co-founder, Don Fisher, inspired generations of Gap Inc. employees with a simple aspiration: “Let’s do more than just sell clothes.”
That legacy continues to guide how we work today, decades after our Social and Environmental Responsibility programs were established and since Don passed away in 2009.
I’m proud of this report and the progress we’ve made during the past two years.
With our 134,000 employees and 3,200 company-owned stores around the world, we recognize the responsibility we have to our customers and our shareholders to ensure that the one million workers producing our branded products in more than 1,200 factories across nearly 50 countries are treated fairly and that our products are made in a way that is consistent with our values. Our commitment to operate our global business in support of these values is unwavering, even as the industry continues to navigate challenges within the economy.
Like so much within our industry, Gap Inc. can’t solve these challenges alone. Multi-stakeholder collaborations with advocacy groups and industry partnerships are instrumental in addressing social and environmental challenges in a transparent and meaningful way. We remain committed to greater accountability across all industries through our on-going support for the United Nations Global Compact and its ten guiding principles.
Reducing the impact we have on the environment continues to be one of our top priorities. One hundred percent of our branded denim is made in compliance with our Water Quality Program so that we can be confident that the wastewater from denim laundries is properly treated before being discharged. We’re also committed to reducing the absolute greenhouse gas emissions from our operations in the United States by 20 percent by 2015, compared to 2008 levels.
Training for factory management and education of garment workers are two distinct ways our company can support positive, lasting benefits for workers and their communities. In this report, you’ll learn more about how our team works directly with factory management and other stakeholders to implement better workplace systems and resolve outstanding issues.
More than 5,000 female factory workers from six countries have participated in the proprietary program that we created in 2006 called P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement Program). Participants are given life and work skills education – in areas such as communications, decision making, time and stress management, and health and nutrition – that benefit them both at home and at work.
Our vendor partners have found this innovative program to be so beneficial that many are working with us to expand the program. One of our largest vendors in India has pledged to provide P.A.C.E. training to all 60,000 workers in its 34 factories by the end of 2020. Later this year, we will roll out the program to a seventh country, Bangladesh.
In 2010, we expanded our retail operations around the world, opening our first stores in China and Italy, and increasing to nearly 200 franchise stores in regions from Australia to Moscow. In addition, we expanded the online availability of our products from 1 to 90 countries since our last report to you.
We’re excited about this global expansion and opportunity to share American style around the world, and we remain steadfast in ensuring the programs, commitments and values that are part of the foundation of this company continue to flourish. And we’ll continue to engage in a collaborative, transparent dialogue about the issues that need to be addressed throughout the industry.
I look forward to updating you further in future reports.