Our preferred fibers strategy aims for resilient supply chains that have a lower impact on the environment and support social wellbeing. We support this work by developing impact measurement metrics that allow better decision-making by our brands and Product Development teams, collaborating with our supply chain partners and participating in industry initiatives.
To identify preferred fibers, we use industry tools such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) and the Textile Exchange’s Preferred Fiber and Material Matrix.
We also use life cycle assessment (LCA) data on indicators including global warming potential, water use and eutrophication, as well as holistic evaluations for biodiversity, potential for circularity, chemistry, land use and social conditions within production. We are also exploring ways to develop definitions and a validated approach to adopting regenerative agriculture and alternatives to fossil-fuel-derived raw materials.
Our brands are empowered to set their own raw materials goals and integrate preferred fiber solutions in product development, where more than 80% of impact decisions are made. Our ESG team provides comprehensive resources to aid more sustainable decisions; these include recorded training sessions, regularly updated fiber consumption reports, an internal Product Claims Toolkit, and a materials calculator that uses MSI data to provide measurements of our brand’s climate and water impacts.
A critical component of our work is collaboration with our suppliers to develop sustainable manufacturing processes. To connect with all levels of our supply chain, we are working to improve our transparency and visibility. As of 2021, we report via the Open Apparel Registry on all Tier 1 suppliers, and we have more than 65 percent visibility into Tier 2.
We take a portfolio approach to sourcing natural fibers (cotton, linen, hemp, and animal fibers) in order to scale multiple options and develop fiber security.
We have a particular focus on cotton, which represents the majority of Gap Inc.’s fiber consumption across all brands. Our cotton strategy works to build fiber security, evaluate sourcing risks, and develop more sustainable sources of cotton that are better for people and planet.
Partnerships: In 2020, we joined Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, and we were the first company to sign on to the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, which provides verified data on the sustainability practices used on U.S. cotton farms. We have also partnered with Textile Genesis, Better Cotton as well as other brands to advance traceability within the supply chain for greater assurance. Outside of the U.S., we are deepening our understanding of the social and environmental risks of sourcing from water-stressed regions in India, China and Pakistan.
We closely monitor and manage the human rights risks that arise in the often opaque and complex cotton supply chains. We conduct high-level risk assessments to identify countries that have fewer protections for labor rights or increased risk of forced labor and human trafficking. These assessments rely on tools such as Verité's Forced Labor Commodity Atlas and the U.S. Department of State's Findings on the Worst Forms of Forced and Child Labor and Trafficking in Persons Report, as well as consultations with expert stakeholders.
Read our Animal Welfare Policy here.