The San Francisco-based group has released its 2020 Global Sustainability Report, summarising actions and progress toward its sustainability commitments.

Gap Inc’s sustainability report reflects the efforts that the company and each of its brands have made in 2020 toward sustainability and creating a more inclusive and fairer workplace and world for everyone touched by the business. The company has aligned its Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) strategy to the following pillars, with each brand embracing work that connects to at least one pillar of the strategy:

Empowering women and human rights 

Gap Inc’s business is driven by women—they are the majority of customers, leaders, employees and apparel supply chain workers — and the company is making investments to help ensure they are empowered to reach their full potential.

Through the company’s Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (PACE) programme, Gap provides women with foundational life skills, technical training, and support to advance at work and in their lives. In 2020, PACE reached more than 804,000 women and girls, and is on track to meeting its goal of reaching one million women and girls by 2022.

Enabling opportunity 

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Creating sustainable economies and a culture of equality and belonging means Gap Inc uses its assets and scale to enable access to opportunity. Through Old Navy’s outreach programme, This Way ONward, the company helps fuel the next generation of leaders with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workplace. Since 2007, Gap says the programme has created a pipeline of diverse talent. Tasked with providing 20,000 job opportunities to underserved youth by 2025, Old Navy is already halfway to its commitment with nearly 10,000 graduates.

Enriching communities 

Gap Inc has committed to becoming carbon neutral and water positive by 2050, eliminating single-use plastics from its value chain, and supporting a circular economy to protect natural resources and ensure healthy communities for generations to come. Additionally, the company says it is on track to meet its goal of sourcing 100% renewable energy by 2030 for globally owned and operated facilities.

Recognising 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 two million people, of which one million are women, by 2023 in India’s textile manufacturing communities. As of the end of fiscal year 2020, Gap Inc has empowered 650,000 people to improve their access to water and sanitation.

Gap also highlighted progress toward its commitment to source 100% more sustainable cotton by 2025. In 2020, the company joined Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge and became the first company to sign up to the new US Cotton Trust Protocol. The group’s Old Navy brand is also on track toward its goal of having 100% of its cotton sustainably sourced by 2022 and is committed to increasing its use of recycled cotton in the denim assortment.

Other highlights during the year include:

  • In April, Old Navy announced additional sustainability goals, including a goal to reduce plastic waste across the supply chain and eliminate plastic shopping bags by 2023 in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Additionally, the brand is committed to converting 60% of its traditional polyester into recycled polyester by 2025.
  • Gap  continues its Gap For Good commitments, including saving water through the Washwell programme. 91% of Gap denim in 2020 was part of the water-saving initiative that has enabled Gap to save over 402 million litres 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, made of organic and recycled fabrics.
  • At Banana Republic, over 60% of the materials used in its 2020 spring collection are from sustainable sources, including  denim styles that are designed and constructed with recyclability in mind.
  • As a certified B Corp, Athleta enabled its climate ambitions when its solar farm in North Carolina came online earlier this year, which is intended to offset 100% of its operational footprint each year.
  • 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. Furthering its pledge to enrich communities, Gap Inc has committed to eliminating single-use plastics by 2030. Through initiatives like Gap Inc’s new garment folding standards that reduce the size of the polybags used and its new 50% recycled content mailer, the company plans to significantly reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in operations. New folding standards for Gap, Old Navy and Athleta are said to have saved US$13m in freight costs and avoided more than 8m pounds of plastic packaging.

To view the full sustainability report, click here.