Media statement archives

October 10, 2013

Gap Inc. cares about the health and safety of the workers in our supply chain. We are deeply saddened by the tragic fire and loss of life at Aswad Composite Mills in Bangladesh, and our thoughts are with the affected workers and families. At this time, we can confirm that Gap Inc. works with the parent company, Palmal Group, and while Gap Inc. produces no garments at this facility, on occasion in the past small quantities of Gap Inc. product have been made with fabric from the mill where the fire occurred. Gap Inc. continues to make significant long-term investments to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh with our own safety program and as a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

This recent fire serves to underscores why Gap Inc. feels more needs to be done to address building and fire safety issues in Bangladesh. In October 2012, Gap Inc. launched a robust Building and Fire Safety Plan, and to date, we have completed fire and building safety inspections at the approved factories in Bangladesh where we do business.  We also want and expect our impact to be broader than these factories. That is why Gap Inc. is a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. Founded in the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy, the Alliance brings together more than 20 retailers, brands and industry associations to play a substantial role in improving working conditions for the people in Bangladesh’s garment industry.

A primary goal of the Alliance is the engagement of and partnership with the Bangladeshi government, as well as with the factory owners, non-governmental organizations, labor and civil society to ensure that there is shared accountability among all parties. Along with other Alliancemembers and global retailers, we share a firm commitment to improving conditions for workers in Bangladeshi garment factories, but we also are not unrealistic about what it will take to make real and sustainable progress. That is why we fundamentally believe engagement between all stakeholders is key to achieving lasting change in Bangladesh’s garment industry.

This recent fire also highlights why coordination and cooperation between the Alliance and the European-based Accord will be paramount to the future of Bangladesh.

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August 20, 2013

“Gap Inc. has a long history of seeking to ensure that the people who work in our supply chain are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. We take any allegations of unsafe or illegal working conditions very seriously.

“Gap Inc. does not do business with Samie's Finishing House, the facility highlighted in Al Jazeera America’s ‘Fault Lines’ program.  A prompt investigation of Samie’s Finishing House found no Gap Inc. products and no evidence that any Gap Inc. brands had placed orders there.  If the facility at one time had products with an Old Navy label, those products were either counterfeit or improperly acquired by the facility. We are confident that none of the product featured in the Al Jazeera broadcast ever made their way into our stores.

“Although the allegations of Gap Inc.’s relationship with Samie’s Finishing House are false, Gap Inc. is taking action out of concern for the welfare of the children identified.  Underaged labor is absolutely unacceptable to Gap Inc. and all of our brands.

“We are working through official channels to alert local government officials and have notified international advocacy agencies so that steps can be taken to ensure children identified are cared for and are protected. 

“We will continue to closely monitor approved factories in the region and take necessary actions against factories found in violation of Gap Inc.'s policies.”  

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May 13, 2013

Gap Inc. has been and will continue to be one of the strongest leaders in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility and is dedicated to making a lasting difference around the world. 

We take our commitment to improving working conditions in Bangladesh very seriously.  In fact, we were among the first global brands to take tangible actions in the country.  Last October, after more than a year of negotiations that failed to result in an agreement, we announced our four-point plan that includes a meaningful commitment of financial support of up to $22 million so that improvements are made.

Moving without delay and making tangible progress on the ground in Bangladesh has been our complete focus.  We chose this as a first step because we knew this is where we could have immediate, direct impact.  Gap Inc. currently contracts with 78 factories, of the more than 6,500 garment factories registered in Bangladesh. 

For the past two years, we have sat at the table with key stakeholders with the intention of creating a sustainable, multi-retailer and multi-stakeholder agreement.  Our view continues to be that the right multi-sector partnership is the best way to lead to systemic, lasting change in the country. We’re pleased that an accord is within reach, and Gap Inc. is ready to sign on today with a modification to a single area – how disputes are resolved. This proposal is on the table right now with the parties involved.  With this single change, this global, historic agreement can move forward with a group of all retailers, not just those based in Europe.

Lasting change in Bangladesh will require the active participation of many stakeholders, including retailers, the Bangladeshi government, the UN’s ILO, and the U.S. government - and importantly, the inclusion of local stakeholders such as the Bangladeshi government, and local industry and worker representatives.

Gap Inc. has already invested more than one million dollars into fire safety inspections. As a result of our early investment and intensive, on-site inspections of the factories that we contract with that have already occurred - some vendors are beginning to make improvements to their facilities. 

For decades, we have been a leader in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility, and our programs like P.A.C.E. has been recognized by former President Bill Clinton.  We remain committed to seeing lasting change occur in this country, and are working to help ensure that apparel workers in Bangladesh are able to work in safe, fair conditions.

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May 10, 2013

All of us at Gap Inc. are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred in the Bangladesh apparel industry, and our hearts go out to those affected. We have been asked by friends, family and customers about the recent events in Bangladesh, and want to clarify that Gap Inc. did not have a business relationship with any of the factories in the building that recently collapsed, nor did we work with any of the factories where a fire has occurred in the last year.  

However, we do recognize the severity of worker safety issues in Bangladesh and have taken direct action through a fire and workplace safety program for Gap Inc.-approved suppliers in Bangladesh that we started in October 2012. 

Gap Inc.’s four-point fire and workplace safety program includes inspections conducted by an internationally recognized fire safety expert. The fire safety inspections are based on national laws, internationally recognized workplace safety standards, and a fire safety inspection team has been in country every month this year. 

The program provides Gap Inc. approved factories accelerated access of up to $20 million of capital to support recommended fire safety improvements, and provides up to $2 million to vendors who need assistance in paying workers for work days missed by factory employees who may be temporarily displaced from work because of fire safety remediation. 

We also continue to support a multi-stakeholder effort.  If tragedies such as Rana Plaza building collapse are to become a thing of the past, we will need a collaborative solution.  The lasting changes needed to safeguard apparel workers in Bangladesh will require the participation of global brands, the US and European governments, the International Labor Organization, and importantly, the inclusion of local stakeholders such as the Bangladeshi government, and local industry and worker representatives.

We are working to help ensure that apparel workers in Bangladesh are able to work in safe, fair conditions.  Our fire safety program is only one of many needed steps forward in that direction.

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November 25, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives and those injured in the terrible tragedy that occurred in Bangladesh this weekend. 

While Gap Inc. does not source, nor has it ever sourced, from the Tazreen Fashions factory or the Tuba Group in Ashulia, Bangladesh, the safety of the workers in Bangladesh and throughout the world is something that is very important to us.  Ensuring worker safety is a critical component to the social responsibility programs that we’ve had in place for more than 20 years.  Our efforts are focused on proactive programs that improve working conditions and have a positive impact in the communities where Gap Inc. does business. 

In Bangladesh, we are implementing our 4-part Fire Safety Action Plan to improve the safety at the factories that do business with our company.  This includes assembling a dedicated fire safety team based in Bangladesh, South Asia, and the United States.  This newly designated team will be responsible for the implementation of the fire and building safety program and includes the appointment of an independent Chief Fire Safety Inspector   We have designed the overall organizational structure of the program, as well as dedicated the appropriate financial resources and people necessary to effectively manage and implement the program.  

To achieve lasting improvements at all factories in Bangladesh, we encourage others involved in the manufacturing industry in Bangladesh to also support fire safety efforts so that real progress is achieved.  For those interested, to find out more about the proactive steps that Gap Inc. has taken to address fire safety in its factory vendors in Bangladesh, please click here.

Bobbi Silten,
SVP, Global Responsibility and President, Gap Foundation

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October 2, 2012

Gap Inc. announced a significant initiative to improve building and fire safety standards across the company’s approved third-party garment manufacturing factories in Bangladesh. Underscoring the tangible steps taken in the country over the last two years—including humanitarian aid, fire safety training and education, and fire safety audits—Gap Inc.’s program is a critical step forward.  

Read more:

The Gap Inc. October announcement on improved building and fire safety standards.

Gap Inc.'s 4-Part Fire and Building Safety Action Plan Overview.

Still want more information about the 4-Part plan? Click here for a more comprehensive look into Gap Inc.'s efforts to address workplace safety issues across Bangladesh's apparel industry.

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September 28, 2012

We continue to try to find a path to partnership with international labor organizations on implementation of sustainable fire and building safety solutions in the Bangladeshi apparel industry.  We agree that more can be done on fire and building safety in Bangladesh, and that’s why we have been working in earnest with key stakeholders to arrive at a joint solution that will make a positive difference to worker safety in Bangladesh.

During this period of negotiation, we have met with the government of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, other international brands that source from Bangladesh, and the United Nation’s International Labour Organization on this issue.  We have also taken several tangible steps including humanitarian aid, fire safety training and education, and third-party fire safety audits.

We believe that collaboration is required to create and sustain long-term, positive change.  While we are disappointed that we have not been able to reach agreement with key stakeholders, we will move forward with additional factory inspections and broaden an independent fire safety inspection program in Bangladesh.  This program would supplement our Code of Vendor Conduct which sets forth requirements all factories must comply with before we will work with them. As a part of this effort, Gap Inc. will ask our apparel industry vendors to invest in factory upgrades necessary to improve fire and building safety and we intend to help enable the financing of up to US$20M to support these efforts. 

Our ongoing efforts have been and will continue to focus on programs that improve working conditions and have a positive impact in the communities where Gap Inc. does business.

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Joint Brand Statement

January 7, 2011

A coalition of brands and retailers including Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap Inc., JCPenney, Target, and VF Corporation has joined efforts to understand the events that led to the tragic fire at the Hameem Group’s That’s It Sportswear factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We have made clear to the Hameem Group our immediate requirements for an independent investigation into the fire, and an external evaluation of the Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems currently in place at all of the factories owned by the Hameem Group.

We have recently received a set of recommended actions from international and local labor rights organizations on behalf of Bangladeshi apparel workers. We take these recommendations very seriously and want to evaluate them with the careful consideration they deserve. We recognize the need for factory management, government, local and international NGOs and labor rights advocates and trade associations, with the support of brands and retailers, to collaborate on specific actions to ensure necessary and sustainable fire safety standards and procedures are in place for the apparel workers of Bangladesh. While we know it will take time, we as brands and retailers are committed to supporting systematic and lasting progress.

Signed by:
Abercrombie & Fitch
Gap Inc.
JCPenney
Target
VF Corporation

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