Its purpose-led, lifestyle brands are making progress to help enrich and protect natural resources and ensure healthy communities for future generations
Gap Inc. is celebrating Earth Day! Its purpose-led lifestyle brands: Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta, are working hard on progress towards their bold sustainability commitments. Last week, Old Navy announced its goal to eliminate plastic shopping bags by 2023 in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and to have all North America stores participating in its hanger recycling program by the end of 2021.
“Reducing waste is an important part of our commitment to protecting natural resources and ensuring healthy communities for generations to come,” said Sally Gilligan, Head of Strategy at Gap Inc. “We’re proud to continue advancing progress towards our sustainability goals through leading innovation and industry partnerships.”
Empowering Women, Enabling Opportunity, and Enriching Communities
Gap Inc.’s purpose, Inclusive, by Design, is expressed through efforts focused on empowering women, enabling opportunity, and enriching communities. Recognizing that women are disproportionately affected by climate change and water scarcity, the USAID Gap Inc. Women + Water Alliance pledges to improve access to drinking water and sanitation for 2 million people, of which 1 million are women, by 2023 in India’s textile manufacturing communities. To date, Gap Inc. has already empowered 650,000 people to improve their access to water and sanitation, reached over 120,000 women with water education, and developed over 1,000 local water security plans. Energy and water are precious resources, which is why Gap Inc. is pushing its brands to use less water and to implement renewable energy throughout the production process.
Each of Gap Inc.’s purpose-led lifestyle brands has expanded more sustainable product and practices. Earlier this year, Athleta enabled its climate ambitions when their solar farm in North Carolina came online, helping offset 100 percent of their operational footprint. Eighty-seven percent of Old Navy’s denim assortment incorporates water-saving techniques. Gap continues its Gap For Good commitments, including saving water through the Washwell program. Ninety-one percent of Gap denim is part of the water-saving Washwell program that has enabled Gap to save over 402 million liters of water since 2016 – enough to fill 804 million water bottles compared to conventional wash methods. In addition, Gap recently launched its most sustainable collection of apparel yet – Generation Good, icons made of organic and recycled fabrics that check all the boxes on Gap's Good List: less waste, less water, lower emissions, better materials, and support for workers. At Banana Republic, over 60 percent of the materials used in its 2021 Spring Collection are from more sustainable sources, including denim styles that are designed and constructed with recyclability in mind.
Building a Circular Economy
In parallel, Gap Inc. has already made significant progress in moving towards a circular economy by partnering across the industry to activate and scale an ecosystem of solutions. Gap Inc. is a founding partner of Make Fashion Circular, an Ellen MacArthur Foundation program (EMF), advancing the industry dialogue on circularity. Gap and Banana Republic participated in EMF’s Jeans Redesign, a challenge to redesign denim in line with the circular economy's principles. Gap recently launched a partnership with Give Back Box, where customers can reuse their mailer pouch, pack up gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories, then print a free shipping label; all donations are sent to a charity in need. Additionally, Banana Republic, aligned with their heritage of upcycling, partnered with Thrilling to curate vintage pieces from the past few decades. Gap Inc. has funded leading-edge research with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) to tackle the challenge of separating cotton and polyester during recycling so that more fabrics can be turned into new textiles. Gap Inc. is also a member of the steering committee for Accelerating Circularity, an industry collaboration between apparel brands and supply chain partners focused on developing guidance and supporting the fashion industry’s move from linear to circular business models.
Eliminating Single-Use Plastics
Furthering its pledge to enrich communities, Gap Inc. has committed to eliminating single-use plastics by 2030. One of the first steps towards achieving this goal is to reduce the volume of virgin plastic currently used in e-commerce mailers. Through initiatives like Gap Inc.’s new garment folding standards that reduce the size of the polybags used and its new 50 percent recycled content mailer, the company will significantly reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in operations. Customers can visit gapinc.com/inthebag for information about the mailers and how to reuse and recycle them. In order to accelerate progress towards its single-use plastic elimination goal, Gap Inc. is currently partnering with other leaders in the industry as a signatory member of the Fashion Pact, to identify and pilot viable innovative alternatives to single-use plastic.
Gap Inc. continues to use its platform to be a force for good. Ahead of Earth Day, Sonia Syngal, CEO, Gap Inc., will join World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) President and CEO, Carter Roberts, for a dialogue with leaders of some of the world’s largest companies to discuss how they are making corporate climate leadership a reality through science-based targets and investing in nature-based solutions. Registration is available online for the virtual event, which occurs Wednesday, April 21 at 12 pm PT.
Gap Inc.’s full sustainability report will be released later this year. For more in-depth information about the company’s efforts to be a force for good for people and the planet please visit gapincsustainability.com.
About Gap Inc.:
Gap Inc., a collection of purpose-led lifestyle brands, is the largest American specialty apparel company offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Intermix brands. The company uses omni-channel capabilities to bridge the digital world and physical stores to further enhance its shopping experience. Gap Inc. is guided by its purpose, Inclusive, by Design, and takes pride in creating products and experiences its customers love while doing right by its employees, communities, and planet. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. Fiscal year 2020 net sales were $13.8 billion. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.
Ana Serafin Smith