CEO Letter

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that crisis has the potential to create opportunities to unlock necessary change. We’re facing the worst crisis in our history – one that has been destabilizing for not only our industry, but for our employees, customers, partners and communities around the world. This global health crisis has magnified the severity and complexity of other social and cultural imperatives, including addressing ongoing impacts of climate change and systemic racism. Yet, the enormous challenges brought on by COVID-19 have also accelerated the pace of much-needed transformation – both within our company and in society on a global scale.

Headshot of Sonia

Our foundational values are more important than ever and they fuel our commitment to being a force for good — to help people, planet and communities.

While we can’t ignore that this global pandemic will have lasting consequences on all of us, it’s also true that this has been a time of greater collaboration, clarity and unity. I have witnessed untold kindness and intrepidness, and experienced bold innovation and creativity. I am seeing that show up in countless ways as we design for the future — one we can all be proud of. 

In reflecting on Gap Inc.’s role in creating positive change, the very premise of our company is what we look to. Our founders, Doris and Don Fisher, built this company in 1969 on a single need: fit. When Don could not find a pair of jeans that fit him, they opened a store as an equal partnership that became a company of purpose-led brands that shape people’s way of life, guided by the belief that we can not only bridge the gaps between us, but future generations. They believed Gap Inc. would achieve success by being open to all, and creating opportunities for the people and communities connected to our business. Over the years, their vision has guided our company to imagine how we can do more to support sustainable societies and a resilient planet. Our foundational values are more important than ever and they fuel our commitment to being a force for good — to help people, planet and communities.

Earlier this year, Gap Inc. took necessary actions to survive and emerge from this period even stronger, including temporarily closing stores to protect the health of employees and customers. We didn’t make decisions lightly because so many depend on our business. Guided by our values, we worked quickly to re-open stores safely, bring our teams back, and mitigated impacts to our supplier partners and garment workers.

Another critical lesson of 2020 has been the need to create space to learn and to help break down the centuries-old systems that have held back our Black and Brown communities. In June, we outlined a new set of commitments to drive systemic change both in and outside our walls, and enable a culture of belonging for our teams, customers and communities. We look forward to sharing our progress on this journey.

Not only do we have an enormous opportunity to build on our legacy of doing more than selling clothes, our brands are leading the way by amplifying our values and connecting with consumers in creative, compelling and relevant ways. Through designing sustainability into our products, reducing water use in manufacturing, and developing climate strategies for our business, our sustainability work matters – to us and to our stakeholders.

Enclosed in this report is a detailed account of our progress. As a company co-founded by a woman and led by women at every level of the company, I am especially proud of the ways in which our company continues to support the women who create the world’s clothes. We have greatly expanded our P.A.C.E. program, which has reached over half a million women and girls, and I’m excited the program will potentially reach even more, including through a new initiative whose members collectively engage 4.5 million women in the global supply chain. From achieving our goal to save 10 billion liters of water through sustainable manufacturing processes ahead of schedule, to developing major renewable energy projects, to hiring young people who will become our future leaders for their first job from our This Way Ahead program, to establishing Gap Inc.’s first science-based targets, we accomplished a great deal in 2019.

We have achieved progress thanks to the dedication of our employees, partners and industry-wide collaboration. We cannot do this work alone, and we are grateful for those who guide us, stand behind us and beside us, including our ongoing engagement with other signatories of the UN Global Compact, who’ve defined the path for the industry to contribute to sustainable change.

The experiences of 2020 have been generation-defining and, in the face of still so much uncertainty, I know what we’re made of: resilient teams and a company of powerful, purpose-led lifestyle brands. Now, more than ever, we have the opportunity to leverage our size and scale to win and position us for growth in the future. I believe in our ability to be a force for good.

Sonia Syngal signature

Sonia Syngal  

CEO, Gap Inc.


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