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Gap Inc. releases 2020 Global Sustainability Report

By Rachel Douglass

30 Sep 2021


Image: Gap Inc.

In a summary of its actions and progress towards its sustainability commitments, Gap Inc. has released its 2020 Global Sustainability Report detailing the international efforts of the company and each of its brands, including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta.

The report includes a company analysis on its development of an inclusive workplace, community involvement and equality programmes, alongside the outlining of a range of sustainable initiatives carried out by both brands and at a company level. Developed on a three-pillar strategy - environmental, social and governance - the company has stated that each label has embraced initiatives connected to at least one pillar.

The report covers Gap Inc. global operations for fiscal 2020.

“At Gap Inc., we are committed to growing our business by enabling safe, fair working conditions for the people who make our products, enabling access and opportunity across our business and addressing environmental impact across our value chain,” said Sally Gilligan, chief growth transformation officer at Gap Inc., in a statement.

Material production

On a company level, Gap Inc. announced its goal of 100 percent more sustainable cotton by 2025, already heading towards the target through a partnership with the US Cotton Trust Protocol. It stated that each of its member brands has implemented more sustainable products and practices into their supply chains, including Old Navy who looks to utilise 100 percent sustainably sourced cotton by 2022.

Additionally, Banana Republic used over 60 percent sustainable sources for its 2020 Spring Collection, including denim pieces, while Gap launched its Generation Good collection, using organic and recycled fabrics.

Water usage, plastic elimination and solar farming

Gap Inc. also outlined a commitment to eliminating single-use plastics by 2030, a target it is well on the way to achieving with a number of partnerships in the industry, including as a signatory member of the Fashion Pact that aims to establish alternatives to single-use plastics. The report additionally highlighted the company’s new garment folding standards, which they claim have reduced the size of polybags, alongside the implementation of a new 50 percent recycled content mailer.

In terms of its member brands, a few have introduced a number of substantial sustainable initiatives over the past year. Gap’s Gap for Good commitment has seen the retailer utilise a water-saving WashwellTM programme, with 91 percent of Gap denim produced in 2020 part of the production. It stated that the programme has helped save the retailer 402 million litres of water since 2016.

B Corp, Athleta also proved its commitment to the company sustainability goals, developing a solar farm located in North Carolina, that became active earlier this year. The implementation is part of the athletic brand’s goal of offsetting 100 percent of its operational footprint each year.

Empowering culture development

In recognition of its women-led business, Gap Inc. included its progress of reaching one million women and girls by 2022 through its Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement Programme. Already working with 804,000 individuals, the programme aims to provide women with life skills, technical training and support to advance their careers.

Additionally, Old Navy’s This Way ONward outreach programme has also achieved more than half of its goal. Now with 10,000 participating graduates, the programme aims to provide a total of 20,000 job opportunities to underserved youth by 2015.

Community enrichment

Through its USAID Gap Inc. Women plus Water Alliance, the company pledged to advance access to drinking water and sanitation for two million people by 2023, implementing the change within India’s textile manufacturing communities. As of 2020, Gap Inc. stated it had enabled 650,000 people to gain better access to water and sanitation.