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6 Ways Gap Inc. is Becoming More Sustainable

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At Gap Inc., we believe that environmental issues are human rights issues. The environment is shared by all of us, and it’s imperative that we each do our part to protect it. That’s why we’re working hard to integrate sustainability more deeply into every aspect of our business, from the materials we source, to the suppliers that we work with, and ultimately the clothes that we all wear.

Here are just some of the important efforts underway at Gap Inc. and our family of brands that are changing the way we do business to help safeguard our planet.

Addressing Global Water Stress: Gap Inc. will conserve a total of 10 billion liters of water by the end of 2020.

Apparel manufacturing uses massive amounts of water, which means we can make a huge impact by changing our processes to conserve water. We’re committed to work with the suppliers that make our products to save 10 billion liters of water by the end of 2020. Those water savings would be the equivalent volume of the daily drinking water needed for 5 billion people. Leveraging the power of product innovation and improved manufacturing practices, we’re bringing our customers products that they not only look great in, but that they can also feel good about. Progress towards our goal is already underway: since 2014, Gap Inc.-led projects have saved more than 2.4 billion liters of water.

Our new manufacturing goal is part of Gap Inc.’s comprehensive water stewardship strategy, which also includes a focus on lessening water impacts at the raw materials and product design level, and perhaps most importantly, helping communities touched by our business improve their access to clean water and sanitation.

Improving Cotton Production Practices: Gap brand will source 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2021.

Cotton is used to make a significant portion of products across Gap Inc. brands. In 2016, Gap Inc. joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which strives to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the industry’s future.

And Gap brand is putting in the work to source 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources (including BCI, organic, recycled and American-grown) by 2021. Gap has sourced more than 52 million pounds of Better Cotton since 2016, and collectively Gap Inc. brands have sourced more than 116 million pounds of better cotton since 2016.

Combatting Climate Change: We’re cutting the carbon footprint of all of Gap Inc.’s globally owned & operated facilities in half by 2020.   

We believe that business has a critical role to play in the fight against climate change. We’ve been working for nearly 15 years to do our part by reducing our carbon footprint in big and small ways. We're currently working toward our goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions of our owned and operated facilities globally 50% by the end of 2020. We’ve also joined the Science-Based Target initiative in 2017, and are developing a goal that will help us reduce the emissions impact of our supply chain.

Reducing Deforestation: Gap Inc. will eliminate all wood-based fibers sourced from ancient & endangered forests by 2020.

By 2020, we’ll eliminate the use of any wood-derived fabrics (like rayon, viscose, lyocell, and modal) made from the pulp from ancient and endangered forests. The policy was developed in partnership with the non-profit organization, Canopy, as part of their sustainable fashion and forestry initiative known as CanopyStyle. By taking these steps to protect these crucial forests, we’re also furthering our climate change efforts, as trees are vital natural resources that help to combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.

Converting Plastic Bottles into Performance Fabrics: 80% of Athleta’s fabrics will be made with recycled content by 2020.

Athleta has prioritized the conversion of conventional raw materials to sustainable alternatives. The brand has set a goal that 80% of their fabrications will be made with recycled material, sustainable or organic cotton, Lenzing Modal or TENCEL content by 2020. By upcycling plastics into recycled fabrics, Athleta has diverted over 25 million bottles from landfills since 2015.

Reducing Our Waste Footprint: Gap Inc. will divert 80% of the waste produced by our U.S. facilities by the end of 2020.

We’re currently working to divert 80 percent of the waste produced by our U.S. facilities by the end of 2020. As a company, the biggest waste streams coming from our owned-and-operated facilities are plastic hangers and polyethylene bags. Since many of our facilities are within larger mall complexes, we’re looking for scalable solutions that address the diverse needs of our stores and distribution centers. 

We know that there’s much more work to be done, but we’re proud of the ambitious goals we’ve set, and the work we’ve done to get there so far.

To learn more about the ways we’re giving back to people and our planet, head here.