Our Next Steps to Protect the Climate: The G7 Fashion Pact and Reducing Carbon Emissions
by Mark Daniel Snyder, Communications Manager
Climate change is having a very real impact on our business, but our business is also having a very real impact on the climate. Gap Inc. just celebrated its 50th year: Now in 2020, we are looking ahead to the next 50 with a sense of urgency to address how our industry has been harming the environment. For us, this means taking the next step in our ongoing efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and accelerating scalable solutions within our own operations as well as with the industry. The United Nations has found great reason for optimism. But as their report The Heat is On, illustrates, we must do more and do it quickly. We know sustainability is the right thing for the planet, it’s good for business and, increasingly, it’s more solvable than ever before.
Gap Inc. recently took two new steps to advance our sustainability journey to reduce carbon emissions: signing the G7 Fashion Pact and landing our new Science Based Target to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
© Jean-François Robert / modds
Ahead of the G7 Summit held in France last summer, Gap Inc. joined with 32 leading apparel and textile companies to sign the Fashion Pact, a set of aggressive and concrete commitments that directly address three priority areas with significant environmental impacts: across Oceans, Climate and Biodiversity. This coalition will work together to scale new solutions and redirect investment toward the reduction of carbon, increase in biodiversity and resilient development by 2050. For us, this builds on prior commitments we have made, including as a signatory of the United Nations Fashion Charter on Climate Change, which recognizes the role our industry must play in protecting the environment and includes multiple pledges of action.
While the work to meet the aggressive goals of the Fashion Pact will take place over several years, we’ve begun to make progress across the three essential areas:
Stop global warming: by creating and deploying an action plan for achieving the objective of zero GHG by 2050, in order to keep global warming below a 1.5°C pathway between now and 2100. At Gap Inc., we’re on our way to reducing our global owned & operated GHG emissions 50% in 2020 and we're committed to using 100% clean energy by 2030.
Restore biodiversity: by achieving objectives that use Science-Based Targets to restore natural ecosystems and protect species. This year Gap Inc. Signed the Nike and Ocean Conservancy's Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge, with a commitment not to send ships through the environmentally sensitive Arctic.
Protect the oceans: by reducing the fashion industry’s negative impact on the world’s oceans through practical initiatives, such as gradually removing the usage of single-use plastics. Gap Inc. is working to eliminate single use plastic. We’ve started by creating new guidelines for our vendors to reduce excessive plastic packaging which, we estimate, could save nearly 5 million pounds of plastic a year. And, in 2020, we are committed to diverting 80% of the waste in our owned and operated facilities from landfill – waste that includes boxes, hangers and plastic wrapping used to transport and protect our clothes as they move from factories to distribution centers to stores.
Gap Inc. is also excited to announce that the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has approved our carbon emissions goal, commending it as “currently the most ambitious designation available through the SBTi process.” The initiative is a partnership between CDP, the World Resources Initiative (WRI), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the UN Global Compact – all organizations helping to make real and tangible efforts to improve our climate for people globally.
At Gap Inc. we're committed to protecting the environment and are working to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2025, use 100% renewable energy by 2030, and we’re innovating new ways to save water with our manufacturing partners. All of these initiatives directly impact the livelihoods of families who work and live in the communities where our products are sourced and made.
We cannot do this work alone: It requires partnership and collaboration within our industry – from our competitors to the suppliers who make our products to the farmers who grow raw materials like cotton. Check out our 2018 Global Sustainability Report to learn even more about our commitment to people and the planet.