COVID-19 Supply Chain Update

Gap Inc. deeply values the wellbeing of the people who work throughout our supply chain and the communities we touch, and we recognize that many people around the world, including garment workers, have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to continuing to work with our suppliers, peer companies, governments, worker organizations, and multi-lateral institutions to protect those who are most vulnerable and are actively engaged in assessing how best to offer our support during these challenging times.

Since the onset of COVID-19, we have taken a multitude of decisive steps to protect the people who work in our supply chain. Key actions include:

Encouraging safe working practices and enforcing workplace standards

  • We have distributed worker safety guidelines to our suppliers and factories, that outlined key public health and personal safety recommendations specifically tailored to the garment manufacturing context. This guidance referenced expert advice from the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, U.S. Center for Disease Control, as well as NGO publications such as the guidance document that was created by the Workers Rights Consortium. This includes guidance on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), social distancing, and other key methods of protecting workers from contracting or spreading COVID-19
  • We have augmented several of our programs focused on respecting labor standards and working conditions, including pivoting our social and labor assessments to be deployed virtually, in instances where our staff is prohibited from traveling to factories, and digitizing key content for our capability building programs, allowing us to continue to support bi-partite committees in the COVID-19 context as they themselves seek to protect the workers they represent. Further, wherever necessary, we have evolved how we implement the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program, which focuses on various aspects of worker wellbeing and personal health. Overall, these steps have allowed us to continue to identify, assess, and respond to key human rights risks, despite travel restrictions, government-mandated lockdowns, and other challenges presented by the virus
  • We are continuing to enforce our Code of Vendor Conduct in the COVID-19 context. This includes enforcing our existing standards on the provision of sick leave and other relevant benefits, the requirement to have functioning grievance mechanisms in place and requirements related to non-discriminatory employment practices, and in terms of any layoffs of furloughs that may have been implemented due to the virus.
  • We have doubled-down on our efforts to engage key stakeholders at both the global and national levels, to understand how COVID-19 is impacting garment workers in the countries from which we source. Wherever needed, we are working with NGOs, trade unions, and community-based organizations on remediating any identified and verified labor issues that have been exacerbated in the context of COVID-19.

Vendor Support

  • We are engaging the U.S. Government’s Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) through a memorandum of understanding, in which we are actively exploring ways that urgent relief can be provided to workers in our apparel supply chain.

Partnering to provide workers access to clean water

  • Gap Inc. is a steering committee member of the WASH4Work initiative, a multi-stakeholder platform that aims to mobilize business to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the workplace, in the communities where workers live, and across supply chains. COVID-19 has emphasized the importance and preventative power of WASH, particularly handwashing with clean water as a key means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Gap Inc. is partnering with USAID on the Women + Water Alliance (W+W Alliance), a five-year $32M program that aims to improve the health and well-being of women in cotton-growing and textile-manufacturing communities in India with improved access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).  COVID-19 emphasized the importance and preventative power of WASH, particularly handwashing with clean water as a key means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The W+W Alliance is uniquely placed to address these needs through its partners' community reach, coupled with:
    • Supporting the implementation of the India government’s priority to improve water access through capacity building of community institutions
    • Piloting a community water purification plant. 
    • Installing hand-washing stations
    • Developing and disseminating communication materials related to COVID-19

Gap Foundation – COVID-19 Resilience Fund

Separately, Gap Foundation is supporting the COVID-19 Resilience Fund, a funding collaborative driven by corporate foundations with intent to build resilience of women in communities touched by global supply chains. The COVID-19 Resilience Fund currently is leveraging philanthropic dollars to fund local community organizations and women’s funds to build communities recover from the ill effects COVID 19 pandemic by supporting women’s economic resilience, health and well-being.