I help lead Gap Inc.’s environmental sustainability program. I know – “sustainability” is one of those overused corporate words.
What it really means is that, as a company, we care about the social and environmental impacts of our business. That’s not a new concept for Gap Inc. Nor is it a fad.
In fact, it’s a growing practice within the $1.4 trillion global apparel market. People want to know how their buying decisions affect the planet and its people.
We get it. Which is why a group of companies and other interested organizations – including ours – have launched the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
We all promise to work together to transform the ways in which clothes and footwear are designed and manufactured to reduce environmental impact on the people and places where we do business around the world.
That “impact” is largely in the supply chain – the interconnected links that lead a raw boll of cotton to be spun into yarn, to be woven into fabric that’s dyed and washed, then cut and sewn into a pair of jeans. We all have opportunities to make things better – from the water used to irrigate the cotton crops, to the chemicals and dyes in the fabric mill process. As just one example, we’re working with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to implement best practices – such as reusing steam from the fabric dyeing process – to conserve energy and water in fabric mills.
Because to truly make a difference, we think it’s most powerful when we partner with other experts and apparel companies who share our concerns.